If you want to build your business and market your goods and services, where’s the best place to do that? The answer, of course, is social media. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have massive worldwide audiences, with billions of active users looking for deals and bargains. Millions of businesses have already seen the future and have jumped on the bandwagon, setting up a social media presence in the hope of getting a slice of the action.
But, having a social media presence is simply not sufficient to tap into the true potential of this lucrative market: if businesses really want to fully exploit its full potential, they need to have an effective social media presence, and to do that they need a clear and coherent strategy.
Here is our 4-step guide for building a more effective social media presence:
Know your objectives and set clear goals
If you don’t know where you’re going, how can you ever hope to arrive at your destination? The answer is, you can’t. To have a truly effective social media presence you need to know what your objectives are and you have to know where you’re heading. That means setting goals. Once you’ve set yourself clear targets, then you can devise a strategy that will help you achieve those goals.
The importance of content can’t be emphasised enough. It’s the life blood of social media. People want information, and only relevant and engaging content can deliver that. It’s obviously tempting to use a hard-sell approach to marketing on social media, after all why wouldn’t you when you’ve effectively got a captive audience listening to you? The problem is the hard-sell approach just doesn’t cut it with target audiences. They prefer meaningful dialogue and informative and engaging content.
There’s obviously room for manoeuvre when it comes to direct marketing, but there has to be balance. If you direct most of your resources at delivering useful content, say 75 to 80 per cent, then it is acceptable to devote the other 20 per cent of your time to promotion. If you get the balance wrong, you will never truly have an effective presence on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Show your true personality
The foundations of social media are built on relationships. Yet you can’t really relate with someone unless you’re willing to open yourself up and show your true personality. There’s simply no room for formality in social media. How do businesses relate to audiences on a personal level? Well, they can start by conversing in personal tones. Tell followers about your brand story, let them know about your life and how you got to be where you are. Tell them about your beliefs and values. Listen to what your followers are saying, understand their needs and respond accordingly. If you can build a bond of trust, they’ll be loyal to your brand.
There once may have been a time when words alone were enough to ensure loyalty, but those days are now history. What the social media audience now demands is visual media. Sharing great content with an audience is fine, but presenting that information is a visual format is so much more effective and engaging. If you find that hard to believe, look no further than the rise of visual media platforms like YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram. Why do these platforms now have more active followers than Twitter? The simple answer is because they show, rather than tell, proving that visual content is a far more effective medium than words alone.