If you want to be competitive in today’s online world, then you’re going to need an active social media presence.
That’s the mantra most marketing professionals will preach, and whilst some of the other claims they might be rather more outlandish, on this one they are in fact spot on. A social media presence will undoubtedly bring your business to the attention of a much wider and more diverse audience and open up markets that you could previously only have dreamed about.
How important is a social media presence?
Well, Hubspot believes that if your business is looking to broaden its reach and increase web traffic, then social media is the place to be. Hubspot estimates that social media doubles the marketing leads that you might produce by attending trade shows, telemarketing, sending out direct mail, or implementing PPC campaigns. What’s more it also argues that for every 1,000 Facebook likes a business can generate, 1,400 users will visit its site daily. Impressive figures aren’t they, and almost enough to tempt even the most cynical of us to join the bandwagon.
However, there is still a problem. Many businesses that have already taken the plunge and joined the social media revolution in the hope of jumping on this bandwagon have been left disappointed. The problem they have found is that the Promised Land that was dangled in front of their eyes has failed to materialise: potential clients haven’t been knocking down their doors in spite of their best efforts. So they naturally blame the social media. The problem is that it’s not the social media per se that is to blame: it’s the way that businesses approach and use the social media.
So should these businesses throw in the towel and write off the whole social media experiment? Well, that really isn’t necessary. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ still have a lot to offer business. However, to get the most out of them businesses need to do more to make better use of their undoubted potential. If your business wants to increase its reach and engage with a wider and more-representative audience, then here are 5 simple tips that will help to improve your social media presence.
Make sure you post regularly.
There are no hard and fast rules about when you should post content to social media sites, nor are there any about how often you should post. Various studies have been carried out and have come up with all sort of different permutations and combinations. In spite of these the only thing that can be said with any degree of certainty is that the more you post, the better. That statement, of course, needs to be qualified immediately. Post as much as you can, but not too much. There’s nothing more irritating than being bombarded by Facebook status updates, or receiving incessant Tweets telling you about the same thing over and over again. People just switch off in these circumstances.
Less can be more in social media terms, but less can also be counterproductive if taken to extremes. The regularity and frequency of social media posting is a tricky subject, and the best advice for businesses is to do research and find out when the majority of their followers are online. In that way they will improve their chances of creating quality leads and gaining more followers.
Engage your audience and avoid self-promotion.
Social media platforms are about sharing and engaging. Facebook and Twitter rely on sharing information and ideas: that’s why they’re called social networks. What social media platforms are not about is you and your brand. You might not necessarily appreciate it, but your followers and community are your greatest asset. You should, therefore, be interacting with their clients, offering feedback and asking for their opinions. Any business that simply posts advertisements, or tweets without retweeting or engaging in conversation, is obviously not interested in engaging with its audience and the community does not respond well to such practices.
Find your social media voice.
It’s important to establish your voice on any social media platform, and by that we do actually mean voice, not ‘tone. Your social media voice is what makes you unique: it’s what marks you out as different from your competitors. How do you find this elusive voice? Well, see what your competitors are doing and learn from their experiences. Not everything they do and say will fit your audience, but it will certainly point you in the right direction. Once you’ve established what will work best with your audience you can then turn your attention to tone of voice and getting your message across in the most-appropriate way.
Focus on what you do best, not your competitors.
Unless you work in a niche market, you’ll always face competition. It’s a simple fact of life. Well, the same applies on social networks: you’ll face competitors who will be trying to target the same customers you are. Should you criticise them and try to undermine what they do? Definitely not: focus on what you do best. If you resort to underhand tactics, your competitors will respond, and the chances are both of you may well loose some of the audience you’ve been fighting over. It’s much better to play nicely.
Analyse the effectiveness of your social media performance.
Do you know how effective your social media marketing campaigns are, how many of your SMM updates result in clicks to your website, and how many of those result in converted sales? Do you know how are your SMM updates being discussed and shared? No? Well you should do really. These are the type of questions you should be asking. If you analyse the metrics you’ll know what works and what doesn’t. If it’s working then do it more often: if it’s not, then change it.