Social Media Marketing Guide For Beginners Guide
If you had to guess how much time the average person spends on social media, how long do you think it would be?Go ahead, guess! Did you guess an hour and forty minutes? Because if you did, you are correct. Social media usage makes up about 28% of the time we spend the internet, which is significant since more and more of our lives are happening online. After all, we run our businesses, answer our emails, order food, watch movies and even manage our bills and bank accounts online. Social media marketing is one of the biggest juggernauts that internet marketing has.
It can be endlessly profitable and almost all businesses understand the importance of investing into social media marketing. Many, however, struggle to know where to start. In our social media marketing 101 guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about how to set up a social media strategy, where to get started, and more.
What Can Social Media Marketing Help Me Accomplish?
Some people make social media marketing seem shallow and superficial, but in reality it should be the exact opposite. With authenticity and transparency (or at least the illusion of it), social media can help you accomplish the following goals:
- Community building and relationship building, fueled by generating discussion
- Brand awareness & discovery (particularly if you’re using social ads)
- Announce new products and business developments to your enthusiastic audience
- Promote events and increase both registration and attendance
- Increasing site traffic as a result of referral clicks
- Driving leads and sales (though the latter should never be the immediate priority on social media)
- Providing value to your audience and establishing your expertise in your field
Social media, unlike other marketing platforms, relies on the transparency we mentioned above in order to accomplish any of these goals. People don’t just want to see some ad copy—they want to see what makes the wizard tick behind the green curtain, so to speak. They want to feel like they’re getting to know you and your business, because social media is just that: social. If you’re able to put the connection building first, you’ll be off to a great start.
Social Media Platforms To Consider
There are a large number of different social media sites that you can join to promote your business. There’s so many, in fact, that this list doesn’t even cover all the obscure ones. Regardless, these are the platforms with the largest and most engaged audiences and they’ve all been around long enough that it’s a safe bet to invest time into them now. Here are the platforms that most businesses should consider joining for marketing purposes:
Would it even be possible to have any site but Facebook at the top of this list? After Myspace’s brief stint in the early 2000s, Facebook dethroned them and has held the crown ever since. More than ten years later, Pages for brands on Facebook are extraordinary. Customer can see your business hours and store location on a map, write reviews, and view all your latest content. They’ll even see incredible CTAs designed to help your business accomplish all your social media marketing goals. Many businesses use Facebook as the “center” of their social media marketing. It’s the platform they focus the most energy on and the one they’re most dedicated to maintaining. This is a good strategy, though it’s worth noting that declining reach from the latest algorithm is only going to continue. In order to combat this, share lots of native content (including videos), try to generate discussion on platform, and avoid sharing a lot of outbound links in the meantime. If you want to reach a new audience quickly or give your posts some help in the newsfeed, you can use Facebook’s incredible ad system to do all this and more.
Twitter seems to have it’s moments, dipping up and down in popularity as a marketing tool. Despite that, it’s managed to stand its ground and many businesses are still happily using it with great success. Twitter will only be effective as a marketing tool, however, if it’s used to generate discussion. Too many businesses use it to dump links to their blog into the empty void that is a Twitter newsfeed without actually trying to create engagement. If you aren’t having a conversation with other users, your marketing just won’t be effective on this platform. You can create thought-provoking content, polls, and question-based posts that are designed to get more retweets and responses. Twitter chats, like the one pictured from SEMrush above, are also a great way to nurture a community and jumpstart conversation that centers your business.
Instagram is owned by Facebook, but it’s definitely still very much its own platform. It’s a predominantly visual platform, with aesthetically stunning and interesting videos and pictures reigning supreme. In addition to having a large number of diverse followers and being a rapidly growing platform, Instagram also has some of the highest engagement rates out of all social platforms. And while they do have an interest-based algorithm instead of a chronological one, it still doesn’t interfere with business profiles nearly as much as Facebook’s new algorithm does. For best success on Instagram, use all of the features that are available to you. Create Stories and newsfeed posts, and make a heavy use of hashtags to generate discussion, encourage user-generated content and help attract new followers.
LinkedIn should be one of the first profiles you create if you’re in a B2B industry, and you should create profiles for both your personal page and your company. Whether you want to recruit new employees or promote your business (or both), LinkedIn is a valuable resource. It’s where professionals go to share industry news, and you may see a slightly higher caliber of discussion on LinkedIn posts than you may see elsewhere (cough…Twitter…cough). To get the most out of LinkedIn, you should be posting content that both peers and potential customers would find valuable, actionable, and thought provoking. This is the content that’s shared most often, and what generates the most discussion, and discussion is always a good thing.
Pinterest is a little different from all the other social media platforms, where the focus from users is on saving content instead of distributing it outright. Think of Pinterest as something halfway between a personal wish list and an inspiring vision board. Here you can find everything from recipes for how to make gourmet cupcakes for dogs to instructions on how to paint your bathtub grey, should you be so inclined. Jokes aside, Pinterest won’t be the right choice for every business, but for those in certain industries it’s a must-have. By placing the right keywords in your profile’s description, and the titles and descriptions of both your boards and pins, you can draw in traffic and share your content, products and ideas with an exceptionally engaged audience. Just how engaged are they? Let’s take a look:
Pinterest is huge for people looking to research buying decision, with many users actively searching for new products through the site’s native search engine. This makes it an enormous force to be reckoned with.
YouTube is as old as Facebook and it’s the largest video sharing platform around. While YouTube is full of cute panda videos and teenagers doing dumb things, it’s also an excellent platform for marketing if you know how to execute it correctly. Like Pinterest, keywords are an exceptionally important part of YouTube marketing. Place them in your video’s title, description, and tags. You can create video that provides value to your audience through tutorials, how-to demonstrations, Q&As and informational content that your audience is actively looking for. Advance Auto Parts, for example, shows how to do basic car repairs on their channel and they link to their products in the descriptions. YouTube can be approached as a mixture of a content marketing and social media marketing platform. Remember to always send traffic back to your main site when possible, as that’s a crucial part of finding success on this platform.
I’m not an enormous Snapchat fan and thanks to Instagram and Facebook aggressively poaching their only-there-for-24-hours-before-it-disappears feature, the platform’s usage has declined significantly. That being said, it’s still an exceptionally popular platform with users under the age of 25, so if your market is young Millennials (and younger), this could be a great platform for you. Snapchat works for brand that can be a little quirky and have a sense of humor. Like Instagram, it’s a visual platform, but unlike Instagram, the images don’t need to be particularly high quality. This makes it a little easier to create mass amounts of content quickly. While Snapchat can be valuable if your audience is on the platform, don’t put all your eggs in one basket with this one.
How Should I Get Started?
When you’re ready to get started with your social media marketing, there’s a few steps that I recommend taking. In order, they are:
- Choose what goals you’re optimizing for. Do you want to find new employees and establish thought leadership? Generate discussion to build relationships and nurture leads? The goals you pick will lead you straight into step 2.
- Identify which platforms would benefit your business most. Remember, you want to start small so that you can maintain the communities fully on each site. With this in mind, pick one or two platforms that would benefit you most. Most businesses should choose Facebook first, but the second platform you choose will depend on your business. Are you in the B2B industry and looking to build thought leadership? Go LinkedIn. Do you have a product that would do well with visual marketing? Hop on Instagram.
- Create a Content Schedule. I actually use publishing software like Agorapulse for all of my social media clients. A content calendar helps you map out what types of posts you want to share, and having it all done in advance means you’ll never miss any opportunities.
- Find Streams of Curated Content. The sheer amount of content that you need is almost unfathomable, and curated content is the way to go. I’d recommend finding different non-competing influencers and businesses that share content your target audience would love and following them. Plan on regularly sharing their content on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
- Monitor everything constantly. Watch your on-platform analytics to see what types of content users are engaging with, and your social trends over time. And, even more importantly, watch your pages for opportunities of engagement. Answer questions users have as soon as possible. Thank users for their reviews, and engage with comments and responses as often as possible. This is essential for community and relationship building, which is what social media marketing is all about.
Social media marketing is the process of building awareness about you, your products, or services through the various social media channels. The ultimate goal of any social media marketing campaign is to drive traffic to a website, increase the visibility of a product, gain more social media followers, or find more customers. The most popular social media networks today are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, and Linkedin.
Social Media Marketing is important because:
- It’s the fastest way to spread the word about a new product, service, or news item – A tweet can go rival in minutes and spread a message around the Word faster than TV or other traditional media
- It’s a trend – Millions of people spend a good amount of their time on social media networks so if you ‘need them’ you know where to find them
- It’s the new marketing – Back in the old days, marketers found out that many people spend time in their cars driving so they thought of the billboards on the roads. Today, people are spending time on social media so as a marketer you have to start thinking this way too.
- It’s the new influencer – Recent studies show that social media is becoming a great sales channel and more and more companies are stating that they get customers from Facebook or Twitter.
Social Media Marketing tips for beginners
How can you take advantage of social media? How can beginners build a proper social media presence fast?
As a beginner to social media, you have to choose one or two social media platforms and concentrate on those rather than trying to work on all platforms at the same time. This is a mistake that many beginners do and in the end, they quit without having any benefit. A nice way to find out which platform is best suited to your niche is to find the influencers and analyze where they have success. For example, find out the leaders in your niche and check out the number of Facebook fans, Twitter followers, Pinterest followers, etc. If they have 100,000 Facebook fans but only 1000 Twitter followers then this is a good indication that FB is more suitable for your niche than Twitter. It is also a sign that you are more likely to have success with FB than Twitter, so you can use your time more efficiently and engage more on FB rather than any other platform.
Once you decide which social media tools you will use (at least for the beginning), the next step is to optimize your profiles on those sites. By optimizing your profiles you increase your chances of getting more followers and it is also a good way to boost your SEO efforts. Some general rules that apply to all sites are:
- Use a real photo, showing your face – avoid using animals, places, or anything that is not real. Social media is about connecting people and if you want to have a trusted profile you need to get out of your cage and put your face on the web!
- Write a good description about yourself or your company – What is your background or expertise? What are you proud of? Mention this is your profile.
- Give an indication to users what type of info you will share – Although this is not necessary, I like to read in profiles what kind of info to expect from the particular person. For example in my Twitter profile, I wrote: “..tweeting SEO, social media, internet marketing tips and advice”.
- Include a link to your website (where applicable) – On Facebook include a link in the ‘About section’, on Twitter and Pinterest in the ‘Web site Section’. In other words, do use your social media profiles for SEO purposes as well.
After you have your social media profiles ready the next step is to connect your website with your social media pages. There is a certain procedure to follow for each platform and it is very important that you do it correctly. A correct binding between the two means that search engines and social media websites know which website corresponds to which social media page.
Besides connecting your website with the respective business pages on social media, you also need to add social media buttons on your website so that readers can easily share your content. Depending on the platform there are many ways and plugins to do that, I suggest you search Google using “how to add social media buttons to xxxxxx” – replace xxxxx with the platform your website is based. For example, if you are using WordPress search google for “how to add social media buttons to WordPress”. As a general rule of thumb, keep the buttons above the fold to increase exposure and have in mind that larger buttons get more clicks than smaller buttons.
Find and follow the influencers in your niche
So far we have selected the most appropriate social media tools for our niche, optimized our social media profiles, connected our website with the social media pages, and added the buttons on our pages for more interaction. The next obvious step is to find people to follow but most importantly to gradually build our tribe of followers. I would say that there are 5 basic steps to follow to get more followers and these are described in points 6-10 below. Before getting into that, you should first find and follow the influencers in your niche. It is almost certain that they will not follow you back because you have a new account with no followers but doing so is important for 3 reasons:
- Social media platforms will use this information to make suggestions on who to follow so by following popular people in your niche is like telling them that you are also in that niche.
- When you follow popular people who are likely to get followed by others as well. A trick many people use is to follow the followers of a popular person because they know that some will follow them back as well.
- They will most probably share important and useful information about the niche so you have a chance to learn something new and re-share that with your followers.
Keep a balance between following and followers
Once you start following people you should always have in mind that it’s better to keep a balance between the number of people you follow and the number of people they follow you back. This is important especially in Twitter and Pinterest and the reasons are a lot:
- Software applications are using this ratio (followers/following) to make suggestions on ‘who to follow’ so if you have a very high ratio you minimize your chances of getting new quality followers.
- It is a matter of trust – Who do you think has a trusted profile: someone with 1000 followers but following 2500 or someone with 550 followers that follows 510?
- A balanced profile is better for SEO – SEO’s have been talking the last couple of months about the importance of social media for SEO and how things are changing and although it is not yet confirmed, it is more likely that people with strong social media profiles are in a better position than those with weak profiles.
A strong profile, in this case, is someone that has more followers than following and someone that is followed by people who are considered influencers in the niche.
This is the foundation for having a successful social media marketing campaign. When we talk about publishing content we always say that ‘content is king’ and this true in social media as well. If you share interesting and useful content you can get more re-shares, more visitors to your website, and under some conditions more customers as well. What is interesting content? From my experience (and certain studies) this is a combination of:
- Articles/Stories/Pages related to your niche but not only from your own website.
- Interesting statistics about your niche
- Motivational Quotes related to your niche or otherwise
- Research studies
- Images and Videos (If you’re making videos for YouTube I recommend a YouTube editing software to make your life easier)
- Funny stuff- whatever your niche, you can share once in a while a joke, a funny image or video to make your followers smile.
- Don’t forget about hashtags – hashtags (#) can make your content more searchable so don’t forget to use hashtags in the networks that support it (Twitter, Pinterest).
Post many times per day but don’t overdo it
A common question by people who are just beginning on social media is “how many times should I post per day?” The answer depends on the network. There are many studies analyzing the effect of posting frequency and some best practices are:
- Facebook personal page – As many times as you want
- Facebook business page – No more than 1-2 times per day and no more than 7 times per week.
- Twitter – The more you tweet the more exposure you get.
- Pinterest – a few times per day is enough
Don’t forget to follow back
Most people concentrate on how to get new followers but they forget to follow back those who have already followed them. Every day you should create the habit of viewing the people who are already following you and decide who to follow back. If you don’t do this on a regular basis then most likely some will un-follow you and this is why you may sometimes notice a decrease in the number of followers.
Follow the rules and be patient
Social media networks have rules to keep spammers away. For example, there is a limit on Twitter on the number of people you can follow per day; Facebook has its own rules, etc. This means that it may take some time to build thousands of followers so you need to be patient and not try to rush into results either by breaking the rules (your account will be suspended) or by spending your money on ‘buying followers or tweets’ or anything similar. Try to spend your time creating a great social media profile that will stand over time and why not become one of the authoritative profiles in your niche.
I still remember the days of traditional media, when a lot of money is spent to gain popularity through billboards and TV advertising. At the time, you have to pay through your nose. But it’s a different story today. Social media has changed everything, and small businesses have been placed on the same pedestal as the big companies. As a small business owner, you don’t have to run helter skelter looking for thousands of dollars – before you can reach the target audience with your offers. There’s no need for that again. The need to build a strong brand has drifted from traditional to social media. It’s high time you capitalize on this new trend.
Why Social Media?
Well, your ideal customers live there presently. They don’t just live there, they’re active social media users, and making purchases as they interact on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and more. You’ve got to reach your ideal customers wherever they are. As you create more awareness through social media, you build interest, which in turn generates sales. The social media purchase funnel explains it better: Social media has become the main driver of internet activities and every online business revolves around it. Therefore, it’s important to learn how you can grow your brand through it. If millions people are active on Facebook alone, then there’s no doubt that social media has become the fulcrum of digital marketing.
What is Social Media Marketing?
According to Mashable, social media marketing refers to the process of gaining website traffic or attention through social media sites. In a nutshell, it’s the process of using social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more to promote your brand and increase revenue. Shout it: “I need social media because your audience is there.” When you start generating traffic from social media sites, you can redirect the leads into your funnel and build relationship with them. Apart from generating leads, you can use social media for several other objectives. For example, Cadbury’s leveraged its Facebook page to gain 40,000 new fans and 350,000 motivated people who participated in its campaign. L’Oreal uses social media for recruitment purposes, and got 153 applicants. As you know, if your customers don’t come in contact with your products and services, they will never have interest in it.
Or do you expect your customers to fall for a brand they no nothing about? Did you know that out of 2.4 billion people accessing the internet, 74% of them use social media networking sites? You can build online community by capitalizing on social media networks. With this community, more people can become aware of your products. So many brands have benefitted from social media marketing. For example, Tchibo company invested in social media and had 1.3 times ROI. Do you really need social media to grow your small business? Absolutely. The ideal customers you’re looking for are already interacting with their friends, colleagues, and family members on social media sites. According to Cloudswave, almost 50% Facebook users are friends with their parents. When it comes to social media marketing, remember that your audience wants to be entertained and engaged. Social media gives you direct access and communication with these potential customers to grow your brand with little cost. Social Media is the fastest way to create awareness. It’s only through social media that a post can go viral within minutes, with no restrictions.
You have to leverage on the benefits of social media to grow your brand. If you neglect it, I guess you’re still comfortable where you are, and you will still remain there much longer until you change. Taking the first step is always a big problem for beginners. This in-depth article will guide you. To help ensure that your small business stays in the black, take the time to familiarize yourself with these social media tips:
Know Your Numbers: Collect User Data
“Small business owners need to know a lot of numbers.” – Barry Moltz, QuickBooks Wouldn’t it be nice if you could predict your small business’ social media success? Do you know your numbers? As it is with financial matters, so it is with social media marketing and building an online business in general. Through marketing automation, you can collect user data and use them to make smart decisions. Truly, automation is almost everything these days. Funny enough, 54% of big brands surveyed by KiteWheel in 2014 said they would like to detect and reply automatically to consumers on social media, while 34% are currently working to automate their social media. As a marketer who wants to generate quality leads, you need to measure and understand your key performance indicators (KPIs). As you collect intelligent user data, you’re well-positioned to improve and effectively manage your social media campaigns online. Striving to collect and analyze data manually is almost impossible these days. I said “almost” because it can be done. But you don’t want to waste your precious time cutting an iron with a wooden saw. The good news is, there are specific tools for measuring social media performance. In particular, Twitter has a lot of analytics tools. Twitter Archivist is an analytics tool that helps track a hashtag campaign, monitor your brand on Twitter, capture a tweet during conferences, concerts or sports events, and more.
What does Twitterachivist.com do? On the dashboard, you’ll see the statistics of Twitter followers per week, and those who unfollowed your brand. You also get to see tags that people are reacting to and why. Isn’t that wonderful? Twitter Archivist allows beginners understand what’s really engaging followers, particularly on Twitter. Learning how social users behave is critical to your success. If you’re going to reap the rewards of social media for your small business, then you must not ignore these user behavioral data. For one, the data you collect and use when people like your page on Facebook is something to shout about.
For example, users submit their full names, locations, likes and dislikes, academic status, and more. These are vital information; which in turn becomes an an asset for marketers to use in reaching and engaging potential customers. The more engagement you create, the more customers you’ll send to your business. In case you’re not aware… You can actually acquire paying customers from social media. Several case studies have proven this to be true. Social media networks aren’t for meeting people and leaving them the way you met them. Far from it. According to HubSpot, 67% of B2C companies have acquiring a customer through Facebook. What differentiates traditional media from social media is the ability that businesses have to use customer’s data to reach and communicate with them in a language they understand, rather than using billboards, TV commercials, Radio jingles, and more to advertise. Social media marketing pulls people in, traditional media interrupts and has the tendency of annoying viewers. With powerful tools like Twitter Archivist, you get insights into users’ behaviors, their level of passion on your brand, mode of interaction, and the potentials that these users will become influencers in the nearest future. There’s no alternative to knowing your audience. Science and Technology can’t replace it. Ideally, define your audience by gender, age, interest, profession, and so forth. Conduct exclusive research to know your audience’s pain points. And device means to solve their problems in an interesting manner. Remember, it’s still “social” media. One important point…
If you want to drive targeted traffic and acquire customers through social media marketing, you need to eliminate uncertainty. Once you’ve identified a group of ideal customers on social media networks, you’re ready to take the plunge and adopt them. To successfully seal the deal, you’ve got to ensure that you eliminate every trace of uncertainty from your buyer’s mind. How? Isn’t it obvious? Anyways, the simple way to do it is by answering their questions. There are Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that you should answer about your brand, culture, products, team, and everything in between.
In a recent post that appeared on The New York Times, the author Mark Cohen shared an inspiring case study of how Marcus Sheridan, founder of River Pools and Spas spent $250,000 a year on radio, Television, and pay per click advertising – but got no tangible results to show for it. But it didn’t end there. Because when Sheridan started answering prospect’s questions via his blog, social media channels, and other platforms, his company’s revenue went through the roof. Note that you can answer questions, not only on Twitter or Facebook, but also on your own website. Most ecommerce websites have a FAQs section on their websites. It usually appears at the top-level navigation, where site users and customers can easily find it. You don’t have to call it “FAQs.” You can get creative and choose a better description. For example, Shopify refers to this dedicated page where all the frequently asked questions are answered “Help Center.” All the questions that you’ll ever ask when planning to use Shopify shopping cart software has been answered. When you click on any of the topics, you’ll find an answer to the question of how to use shopify (e.g., for Reports and analytics, Payment settings). The last time I checked, my question was clearly answered, and I browsed the knowledge base hoping to find a bunch of other questions I didn’t even know I had. One of the major reasons why knowing your audience is an all-important social media strategy is because it helps you during segmentation. And of course, it’s a lot easier to segment email subscribers than Twitter followers.
That means you should endeavor to send your social media fans to your landing page. Once you’ve them on your email list, you can start building relationship with them. So why do you need to segment your audience? It’s because sending the same content to every email subscriber is a mistake of the century. But sending custom content based on subscriber history, persona, stage of the buying cycle, and purchase history will get you more conversions.
Prove Your Expertise so People Can Follow You
Why would people follow you on Twitter or like your Facebook page? Do you’ve the expert power to prove your expertise, help others, and more importantly, stay humble? Are you sure you’re an expert in your field? If you claim you’re, then you need to show it – and not necessarily talk about it. According to Lisa Sasevich, “credibility is kind of like credit, you’ve got to have it in order to get it.” You can to prove your expertise, especially if you’re new to your niche. Doing this will give ideal customers a firm grip of your brand and they’ll go the extra mile with you. Following you on Twitter is just a small part of what credibility can give to you. In case you’re not aware, your audience likes to associate with unique and famous brands.
There are several ways to prove that you’re an expert. Lisa shares 3 simple but powerful strategies: Additionally, post free and helpful content that answers people’s questions. This would inspire more people to follow you. Who doesn’t want to associate with a marketer or brand that can solve their problems? Absolutely no one. Coin a content that will be celebrated and shared. Why the celebration? Your content should be engaging and entertaining. Do not bore your followers with generic content. Create variety of content to lure Twitter users. Give away valuable freebies like, ebooks, software, apps…, with these, you are motivating users to follow you, stick to your brand and refer others. And talking about getting more Twitter followers, here are 3 powerful tips that you can implement today:
i). Create compelling Twitter description: How do you recognise a good description? It’s got to have the target keyword and power words in it. When people visit your Twitter page, they should know what you’re all about. Since the goal is to attract the right followers, mention the keyword that you’re after and if possible the group of people that will benefit from it. Also, keep your description simple and clear.
ii). Use hashtags approach: You simply have to subscribe to a few relevant hashtags. This enables you to find the right people to follow, and those who will follow you. You’ll notice that some influencers – Twitter users who get retweeted a lot and cover similar topics will likely follow you and amplify your reach.
iii). Retweet useful posts: Social media marketing, especially on Twitter is all about reciprocating kind gestures. For example, if people follow you, you should follow them as well. Retweeting useful and interesting posts can equally bring new followers to you. How do you feel when someone retweets your content? You’re excited right? Well, it’s time to spread the news. Deliberately find useful content and share it.
Social media was created for this after all. The users you want to attract will notice you quickly and follow you. Most brands are scared of retweeting their competitors, but you shouldn’t be. In fact, you should do it more often. When sharing posts, be sure to @ mention the source of the content if it’s not your own, it’s the right thing to do and a good social strategy, too. Once you’ve generated the followers, don’t stop there. You’ve got to sustain them. To sustain customers, you must be good at what you do. A lot of small businesses have benefitted from social media marketing. For example, Brafton used content and social media to build brand awareness for 200% more organic visits. Remember that bombarding your followers with content every now and them is not the solution. Ask yourself this question, “how has your content helped your audience and brand so far?” When the audience clicks “like” to follow you, they are expecting a lot of value from your brand. If you fail to deliver, they will opt out. One statistics shows that 51% of social users sometimes get bored on social media after accessing their account. To really excite your Twitter followers and build relationship with them. Learn to curate and share useful content. I’m talking about content you didn’t create yourself. When you visit industry blogs and discussion boards and find a helpful content, share it with your fans. They’ll love it and deliberately choose to be with your brand.
The truth is, you don’t want to communicate or share off-topic content. That would drive your social media fans away. Yes, we’re advised to niche down and focus on a particular group of market, and it’s good. But don’t make the mistake of communicating with people when you have not listened to them. Have you heard of the term “social listening” before? Social listening, also referred to as media monitoring is the process of searching the web and social platforms to know what people are saying and how to get into the conversation. You need to have an open mind if you truly want to know what’s happening in the social space. Yes, every feedback (whether positive or negative is important). Sadly, most marketers were excited and happy to generate followers, but occasionally they get negative tweets from these followers – and this made them unhappy. They forget that over 80% of customers related tweets are negative. And 93% of customers expect a response within an hour. Imagine the type of response they expect after leaving a negative tweet. But as a small business owner, it’s your responsibility to respond in a thoughtful manner nonetheless. You should care about users and what they think of your brand. Do you have a feedback channel or tool for monitoring what’s going on with your brand; what people dislike about your product? Or you just don’t care? Spend time listening to your followers. If you’re too bored and irritated about complaint, you’ll find it hard to make much progress via social media.
They are your tool for work, these information are your assets. If properly utilized, you will grow your small business faster. Here are simple ways to listen to your audience and share useful posts with them:
i). Search for keywords your audience is using: Use Google Keywords Planner to know exactly what your target audience is entering into Google search, what they’re interested in, and what they’re complaining about. When you don’t research your keyword before writing, you will be like a medical doctor treating infertility on a patient with a bone fracture. Listening is priceless. Compete tracked success story of marketers that listened, researched and were on track to get keywords that represents the customer’s pain points. Through content marketing, Compete recorded dramatic customer engagement – all because the social media team listened to the audience.
ii). Through conversation, get to know your customers pain: When you chat with your customers, enquire about their lives, businesses, and lifestyle. Interestingly, their responses will serve as clues of what you’ll write next.
iii). Identify your key influencers and advocates: Encourage your key influencers by sharing their posts, retweeting their links, leaving a useful comment on their blogs and supporting them. Reward your brand advocates with gifts, you’ll build strong engagement at the end of day.
iv). Know where your social community is located: Whether they’re on Twitter or Facebook you should know the particular social media channel that gets your ideal customers excited and interested. v). Improve on your customer service: Be timely and polite in your response. Train your staff to be polite, too. Deliver on your promises. Don’t be too hard to reach.
Because there are so much to do with little time, you need to develop the right plan for effective social media marketing. Do your small business this favor, so you don’t get overwhelmed with the daily tasks ahead. Tweeting alone is demanding. For example, Tristan Barnum went from 0 to 100 Twitter followers in just 7 days by tweeting no less than 11 times per day, not including stuff he’s retweeting. Don’t just share posts on social media platforms anytime you like. You’ll never be effective that way. Interestingly, you could use a social media strategy template. It’s simple. When you’re armed with a social media strategy, you’re ready to bridge the gap between where you currently are with your social media goals and where you want to be. With this strategy, you’ll succeed. You can use a template to develop a social media strategy. Of course, this will help you in social sharing and other activities.
Ideally, you need to respond to important questions in each step to establish what your core goals are, how you will achieve them, and how you will measure success. Don’t forget a particular task that you need to execute. Hence the need for planning. For instance, you can tweet and retweet 3x per day, schedule the times for each tweet, to which category of your audience. To a large extent, the more tweets you send, the more engagement you’ll create. Schedule a single post for your different social media accounts, share links and “like” other people’s links. Remember, it’s a social network, you have to create time to socialise. Create an action. Initiate conversation, ask trending questions, be controversial sometimes (but have a back up), engage your followers, comment on postings and lots more. In social media, no room for idleness, everybody need to be busy. Learn to appreciate users who share your posts and retweeted. They’re the future of your digital marketing. Call them if possible, make them feel homely, so that they will do more. Remember that traffic never happens except you work for it deliberately. You’ve to be on top of your game to grow your small business online presence.
Leverage Social Media Advertising to Drive Results
If you want to drive visitors to your small business website, you can’t continue with the free social media marketing strategy. Sure it works, but it can take years to produce enviable results. You need paid social advertising. Why? Because this ROI is encouraging. In fact, 96% of CMOs are beginning to look beyond sales goals and web metrics to identify the value of social marketing efforts. At some point, you have to set some money aside for social media paid advertising.
If your brand hasn’t gained much traction online, it doesn’t matter how useful your product or service might be, the right people may not be interested. You can set up a Facebook ads campaign and drive tens of thousands of visitors to your websites and make more money. For example, Lange Financial Group spent $181.93 targeted content to local audience on Facebook and generated 594 people to their page. Facebook advertising works if done correctly. Navid Moazzez spent $4,159 on ads and generated $36,449 in revenue from his Virtual Summit Mastery course. Are you taking advantage of social media PPC advertising? Take for instance, Linkedin offers opportunities for small businesses to reach a specific audience and increase your brand visibility. Don’t ignore social media advertising. Use it now before the competition gets off the hook.
Develop A Good Social Media Strategy
This should be on your to-do list as a small business owner. We mentioned developing a social media strategy earlier. It’s worth mentioning again because of its importance. Social media plan is the step-by-step approach you take when developing a strategy. It shows you what comes first, and the sequence. If you start integrating social media to grow your online presence, it might seem like a trial and error at first.
Because you don’t know what you stand to gain from it. I mean, it’s hard to predict what the future holds. However, with a good strategy, though you may not predict accurately (and you’re not required to) how much revenue you’ll generate, but you surely will know that you can’t fail. It’ll only get better. Sharpie, a permanent marketer company based in the US developed a social media strategy that puts spotlight on the customers. This helped the company increase customer loyalty and retention. How does Sharpie achieve this? By sharing samples of customer’s artworks and featuring case studies. You can use social media in virtually every aspect of your business. You can use it in marketing, sales, customer support, customer engagement and retention, and more. A recent article that appeared on Forbes revealed that 78% of salespeople using social media sell more than others that aren’t using it. Of course, you don’t expect to get overnight results with social media marketing. Smart marketers stick to it, and learn along the way. At the surface, it may look easy. But there’s a difference between being “simple” and “easy.” The first time I dived into a swimming pool, I tried to imitate the professional swimmers there. I had never been to the swimming pool before, because I couldn’t swim.
Funny enough, it appeared very easy until I made my way into the water, then I realized how difficult it’s to float on the water without sinking. That was when I came to understand what differentiates a newbie, from an already practicing fellow. That’s just how it is with developing a good social media strategy. Though you might have a clue on how to get there, but it would be perfect if you have a plan. Because according to a Survey result by TMS, it was clear that corporate strategy (in this sense, plans that are no longer favorable to the company) contributed 45.41% to company failures. If that’s the case, then you can imagine how critical it would be to start social media marketing without a proper plan or no plan at all. That would be disaster. Therefore, before you begin posting on Facebook, Twitter and so on, you need to have a plan of action. If you don’t know where to start, here are few steps to guide you in developing a good social media plan:
i). Decide your social platform: Despite the relevance of social media to your business, you need to use your time well. All social sites are not created equal. In like manner, your results will differ. To get better at social media marketing and eventually get results, save your time and pick a handful social platforms that are relevant brand and products. In my own experience, Instagram and Pinterest are best for fashion, lifestyle, and niches where marketing is effectively delivered through visual content.
ii). Complete your social data: By completing your social profile and filling in all the required data, it gives the impression that you’re fully out for business, more especially your bio/info and brand culture. Share a glimpse of what people stand to gain by following your brand on social media.
iii). Develop your brand voice: You need to relate with people personally. Sometimes, it’s not the authenticity of the message or content that counts, but how you say it. That’s your brand voice. Your brand voice has to be unique and useful, and your audience won’t get tired of revisiting your social pages.
iv). Choose post type and when to post: The type of content you publish determines how engaged your audience will be – and whether or not they’ll abandon your brand. That being said, consistent posting will keep your audience engaged, but you need to know how frequently to publish on each of your social platforms. Brands that tweet multiple times per day see great results. For example, this case study shows that posting once every six hours during work hours, will gain more visibility for your post.
v). Analyse your posting strategy: You’ll never know what works best for you, until you try it out. Because what works for me might not work for your business. With consistency, you’ll definitely know what’s working, when not to post and the type of content that your social fans prefer. Judging on which content, frequency, and timing that works most for you will further improve your social media strategy.
7. Organize Your Social Channels
No matter the size of your small business, organization will bring you before Kings. We can’t deny the power that social media has to connect and and grow businesses of all sizes, and how strong the medium is with influencing purchase decisions. Did you know that social media marketing has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate, and 84% of B2B brands use social media to grow their brand? In fact, 17% of sales leads come from social media, according to a study by Aberdeen Group in 2011. Having several social media accounts can pose a big problem. This can complicate the entire process. Therefore, organizing your social channels is critical. You can’t afford to log in to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more, separately. There are social media management tools that can handle this organization seamlessly. Buffer is my favorite. But you can use Hootsuite, Sproutsocial, and more. A great social media CRM tool makes it easier for you to maintain a consistent audience engagement across multiple social accounts. You can post to multiple social accounts from a single interface. Take a closer look at the screenshot below. It shows a post made on different platforms. Sure they all appeared differently in relation to the platforms. But despite the difference in structure, they’re all aimed at one goal/keyword ‘pee’. Apart from being on different social platforms, you need to have your own personal account too. If that’s the case, then all you have to do is to separate your business accounts from your personal accounts. Having done that, pull together all your business social accounts in one list, and your personal social accounts in another. Add social sharing button on your single blog posts. Then encourage your visitors and readers to share your posts. In addition to that, you can add live social media feed to your WordPress blog, so that your audience can see your recent posts, and share it with others at the click on a button.
Social Media Marketing Tips For Beginners
“Every expert was once a beginner.”
I’ve been a social media consultant for the past ten years and I am still as excited by the possibilities of communicating online today as I was when I sent my first tweet a decade ago.
That’s not to say that I have forgotten what it was like to be starting out on this journey. There can be a steep learning curve at the beginning and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with so many tools and platforms to choose from.
If you’re new to social media marketing, or if you aren’t quite sure you are using it right, then this article is for you. I want to share with you ten of my best tips to set you up for success.
Set SMART Social Media Goals
I t’s no secret that goal setting increases your likelihood of social media success, yet it never ceases to amaze me how many businesses have given scant thought to creating their social media goals. Without goals, it’s hard to know exactly how well your social media marketing is performing. Clear goals will not only propel your strategy forward, but they will also serve as defined metrics when it comes to measuring your progress.
Describe the specific goals and outcomes you’re seeking to accomplish with your social media activity. These should be aligned with your business goals.
For a goal to become a reality, it needs to be specific, measurable, attainable, and realistic, as well as time-specific — these are often called SMART goals. SMART goals are one of the longest-lasting, most popular goal-setting frameworks for business.
Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin
It’s important, especially if your resources are limited, that you’re focusing your social media efforts in places that will generate the most return for your efforts. There’s no point spending your time on a particular social network if your audience isn’t there. Nor should you spread yourself too thin by trying to be everywhere at once. Every additional platform your business is active on means additional time and effort required to engage and create tailored content for that platform.
Before becoming active on a social network, try answering the following questions to help you choose the platform that is right for you.
(i) Will this platform help me achieve my marketing goals?
(ii) Is my target audience active on this platform?
(iii) Will this platform match the content I create?
Get To Know Your Audience
Develop a deeper understanding of your target audience. Where do they like to hang out online? What content is most relevant to them? What kind of information are they looking for? How do they like to consume that information? Once you deeply know your audience, you can then start to build relationships with them and create content that is relevant to them.
Insider Tip: Creating audience personas is a crucial part of designing your social media strategy and truly understanding who you’re trying to reach.
Analyze What’s Working For Your Competitors and Industry Peers
Your competitors and industry peers are valuable sources of insight. Look at the type of content your competitors are creating. Identify which content is performing well for them in terms of social shares, comments, likes, etc. Brainstorm around how you can take a piece of content they have created and put your own unique twist on it.
Create a Social Media Style Guide
A social media style guide will help you present a consistent style of communication across all social media platforms. Whether you are a team of one or have multiple staff posting to your social media accounts, you should create a style guide that outlines exactly how posts look and read.
Take Action: Your style guide should define the following:
- the tone and voice of your brand’s social media presence;
- the writing style of your posts — consistent format, spellings, etc;
- the colors, logos, and fonts you will use;
- how you will use hashtags and emojis.
Add Images To All Your Posts
You’ve surely heard this before, but it’s worth reiterating: images matter — a lot. Visual content is 40x more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content according to research by Buffer.
Add an image to all your online posts — even those that are text-based. To aid brand recognition and create a strong visual identity, maintain consistency across all your images by sticking to the same colours, fonts, and layouts.
Don’t Just Add To The Online Chatter
Don’t just add to the online chatter. Before you post something, stop and ask yourself would this pass the re-share test? Why would I want to click on this information? Why would I want to share it with my friends/family? Jonah Berger, the author of “Contagious: Why Things Catch On,” says “before people share a piece of content, they evaluate its social currency.” Commit to creating content that your audience will want to share because they believe it will be of value or interest to others.
Develop a Regular Posting Schedule
Social media marketing is an ongoing commitment. You need to post consistently to stay in front of your audience’s eyes and keep growing. And the more your audience hears from you, the more trust you’ll be able to build. Set aside one day each month to map out upcoming events, holidays, and so on, which you would like to write or post about. Then use a simple excel spreadsheet to create your content calendar. Do the same thing with another spreadsheet for social media postings.
Post When Your Audience Is Online
If you search for optimum posting times, you will find many guides online. You can follow these recommendations as a starting point, but I do recommend you do your own testing to see which days and times work best for your own particular audience within your industry.
Don’t Just “Do Social”; “Be Social”
Finally, we all know those folks who only tweet you when they want you to read, comment or re-tweet their content. Don’t be one of those. Don’t get a reputation for being interested only when you want something. Focus on building online relationships. You can’t expect people to care about your community if you don’t care about theirs.
Insider Tip! Follow the 80/20 rule — post 80% non-promotional content to 20% posts with calls to action for your own content.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a small business or a large corporation, every marketer has a desire to connect with their target audience on a personal level. If you listen to what your target audience is asking for, you can use social media marketing to point them in the right direction, usually to your website or blog. Once the visitor is on your website or blog, you have the opportunity to engage them and convert them into subscribers, leads, or even customers! But first, ask yourself this question: What social media outlet(s) is best for reaching my target audience?
Do they use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, or a combination of those? Here are some generalizations to consider, but the usage of social platforms really depends on your audience. Twitter is great for short messages and for getting messages out for general reach and impressions. Facebook allows for longer posts, reaching a crowd between the ages of 20-65. Pinterest is most beneficial for imagery, so if you’re in the art industry, that’s the way to go. LinkedIn is heavily used for B2B business professionals so that is the place to be if you’re selling B2B products or services.
Once you’ve determined which outlets to choose, here are 5 additional tips to keep in mind with your social media marketing posts:
1. Be Aware of How Much Time You Can Spend on Social
Social media marketing can be a time-consuming effort. Use a social media tool like HootSuite or HubSpot to tie all of your accounts together and schedule posts during your downtime so you don’t have to constantly post throughout your workday. Also, don’t forget to consider the time changes. If you post something at 9pm EST, it’s likely that most of your audience in the UK will be in bed, missing out on your marketing message. Determine the best time that your audience likes to engage based on how they are interacting with your previous posts to find the best time slot for each day.
2. Be Unique in Your Content What sets you apart from your competitors? Show off your uniqueness by posting links to blog posts and articles that highlight accomplishments, news, and other advantages. Leveraging these items is a cornerstone of a successful social media marketing strategy. Come up with your own hashtags for use in Twitter and Facebook. Share pictures and host caption contests. Ask questions that only people with expertise in your field can answer. Think outside the box with your content to provide your followers with unique content to engage with and share. Check out this great article from our friends at MobileMonkey on 5 new types of Instagram automated messages to scale your Instagram marketing.
3. Be Genuine with Your Connections Don’t always be pushing for sales on social media. Use it as an opportunity to get to know people in your industry. Create and nurture mutually beneficial relationships with both your potential customers as well as thought-leaders. It’s these influencers who can make a significant impact on your social media marketing success. A single retweet or like for a key influencer can put your content in front of hundreds, maybe even thousands of eyes!
4. Be Engaging with Your Posts Have you ever went to a party, only to find out that you don’t know anyone there, and the few people you do know, won’t introduce you to anyone else? This is how social media marketing can feel at first when you may be posting to almost no one in the beginning. No one likes that feeling, but it’s where we all start. That’s why you have to follow people and engage them. Help your followers find what they’re looking for online. Answer their questions and engage with them online. Take a few minutes every day to comment on key influencer accounts and offer your honest opinion and expertise. If you do this genuinely and intelligently, you’ll start capturing people’s attention and building your network quickly.
5. Be Real with Your Followers People want to interact with other people, not bots. They also don’t want to be constantly spammed. Make people feel good for interacting with you. Thank them for following, posting, and sharing your content. Try your best to return the favor when you can and you’ll start to see how social media momentum can continue to build. As you grow your business, eventually you can hire someone to take over your social media marketing efforts, but until then, start by thinking about how you can use these tips to help you start to master your social media strategy. You’ll get into a rhythm and create your own unique social media marketing voice and style. Need help getting started? We invite you to schedule a complimentary inbound marketing consultation where we can discuss your current social media campaign initiatives, strategy and the process you have outlined to make sure it’s a success.
I’ve shared a lot of really good advice here on what works and what doesn’t in terms of using social media to grow your small business. These strategies are great if you want to see consistent growth of your Twitter followers, Facebook fans, and acquire loyal customers to your brand. If you look in-between the lines, you’ll notice that I didn’t share a single powerful hack for getting your small business off the ground via social media. I’m afraid there’s no switch to flip as you leverage social media for small business. It takes time. In my own personal experience, the above tactics have been proven – but you MUST be patient, determined, and consistent. Overall, starting a small business is easy – growing the same business is hard! In social media marketing, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. You have to take one step and master it before proceeding with another. Did I tell you that you’ll get better results if you take baby steps? Yes you will.
Social media marketing has an enormous and diverse audience, and it’s free and accessible. It’s an excellent opportunity to nurture relationships and build an online community, solidifying your place in your customers’ lives. Just remember that for social media to benefit your business, it must be carefully maintained and monitored. Start slow and small, and scale from there. What do you think? Do you use social media marketing for your business? What strategies benefit you most? Share your thoughts, knowledge, and questions in the comments below!
When it comes to social media there are 2 important pillars. The first one has to do with the setup of your social media profiles and the second one is about usage i.e. how you use your social media account. For the first pillar, it is important to engage in the networks more suited to your niche and to have a proper connection between your social media pages and website. For the second pillar, it is important to follow the right people, be followed by the right people, and share relevant and interesting content always by adhering to the rules of the different social media networks.