You may have heard a similar mantra for 2013: Hop on the social media train or else you’re going to be left in the dust.
It is very true — social media can strengthen your brand and connect your clients directly to your product or service. But what if you are already using social media for your business? You have the Facebook, Twitter, Youtube accounts and updating them regularly or as often as you think you can. But you are noticing a decline in views, participation and enthusiasm from your followers. Perhaps your social media accounts need a little bit of sprucing up for the new year before your competition gets to your audience before you do.
Here are 4 tips on how to improve your social media marketing strategy:
1. Get signed up on every relevant platform for your business. Do not abandon your profiles.
Each social media website represents a fraction of your market. Facebook is obviously the main hub for most social media users and used by over 66% of adults who are online in the United States.
Make sure you have a Facebook fan page set up over a Friends page. If your business has a Friends profile, it’s time to change over. Make the new page and you can invite those on your Friends list to follow thefan page. You will be needing the analytics the fan page provides to enhance your social marketing media strategy.
As far as the other platforms go, you don’t want to overwhelm yourself so choose two or three platforms and concentrate on building and engaging your audience.
If you are a restaurant or food service business and you have not joined Google Places,do it before Google fills out your information for you. If you’re having trouble verifying your account, you’re not the only one. Check out this link from Search Engine Land for troubleshooting.
Is your product/service useful or relevant to teenagers? According to Entrepreneur Magazine, you need to be on the blogging website Tumblr and creating content regularly — starting now.
If you are in the fashion business and you are not on Pinterest, you are losing out on a significant market.
Make sure on each platform that all of your information is updated and upload any logos, companyphotos or staff photos to personalize your profile. Do not abandon your profiles. You need to maintain them so clients/customers see you are engaged with the social world. It enhances their trust in your brand and increases the likelihood that they will buy from you and/or do business with you.
Social media connections will soon be determining your SEO spot on Google so the more you have filled out on your networks, the better chance you have of creeping up above your competition in the search results.
You can decrease time spent on social media websites by joining Hoot Suite, a service that can update multiple social platforms at once.
2. Produce content relevant to your audience — it is more than just about sharing relevant links/articles.
You’ve probably heard it already: “Content is king.” But what works for your brand? It’s all about good research and having a finger on the pulse of your audience. If you are immersed enough in your social networks, this will become apparent if you take notice of trending topics or current events. Take a block of time everyday to dedicate yourself to seeing what is the hot topic of the day in your industry. For the most part, how-to blogs or videos are the best way to get others to view your content.
When it comes to creating content, first and foremost you need good writers. There is nothing worse than a blog or website riddled with spelling/grammar errors or bland content. Get visual with your content with infographics and make sure they do not have any major spelling errors. You also need to have a good camera that can take high quality photo and video (more on that with #3!)
When are the best times to post? It is still up for debate. You can try doing your research on Google or just post at different times to see when are the optimal engagement times for your audience.
3. Equipment — Go for high-quality to show your audience is worthy of viewable content
Digital camera vs. DSLR: Think quality for your content.
Are you using an iPhone or digital point-and-shoot camera to take photos for your social media updates? While phone photos occasionally are good for “Live posting” such as from an event or sharing a “behind-the-scenes” post, there is something to be said for high quality photographs and videos so that you can improve the image of your brand. Save money on your equipment by buying a product that fulfills both photo and video needs.
The Canon Rebel t3i goes for $599 on Amazon and takes amazing photos/video while being very user-friendly for beginners. While it seems pricey, imagine spending $400-500 on a HD camcorder and another $200-300 on a DSLR with lower quality photos with little to no video capacity. It is a worthy investment and will show your company has the resources to put out high-quality content for your audience.
4. Make sure you’re connected to everyone you do business with and get personal — put your connections out there and cross-promote!
Don’t just get connected with customers — make sure your vendors, business connections and professional contacts are connected so you can strengthen your brand by association.
Show off your accomplishments and the wonderful people who have helped you get to the point where you are by thinking about social media even when you’re not on it. Whether it means taking photos at a company meeting and posting them to congratulate them on an awesome quarter, or taking a photo with a business contact that has helped your business recently and posting in on Twitter; every personal touch to your posts will help you get noticed and increase your audience’s trust in your brand. Promote collaborations with other businesses by tagging their Facebook pages on a status update or doing a @shoutout on Twitter. It helps to show a human face to your brand and at the same time, promote your product/service as well.
Most importantly, remember that it’s about building relationships with your audience, not just spamming them with advertisements. What is great about social media marketing is that it is about creating and maintaining trust with the public rather than using in-your-face tactics to increase revenue. You must not forget: your audience is voluntarily subscribing to your marketing material on a daily basis and you need to make the most out of it.
It’s easy to get burned out, but never give up and always seek out better and more efficient ways to handle your social media accounts. Even if it means spending that extra dollar or taking an extra minute to curate articles and write blog posts — it’s worth it to show you have a handle on your social media, which shows the world you have also have handle on your business.