So you’ve launched a blog or small business website and now you’d like to use social media to get your name out there and reel those customers in. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram are great advertising options for new site owners– not only are they free, but chances are, you already know how to maneuver at least one of these platforms. While in some ways, managing a social media site for your business is the same as managing one for your personal use, in other ways, they couldn’t be more different. Here are a few tips to help you get confident in your social media marketing strategy.
Choose A Platform: While you’ll find that big-name brands have accounts on every social media site imaginable, this generally isn’t realistic for the blogger or small business owner. Developing and maintaining a powerful presence on all of these sites would require an incredible amount of time (as in your new fulltime job) or a lot of money (to make it someone else’s new fulltime job). Until you can assemble a team to handle all those statuses, likes, shares, favorites, and retweets for you, direct all of your efforts into just one or two sites.
But how do you choose which social media platforms to pursue? This will depend on a couple of different factors. First, you want to pick a site that already feels like home for your target audience. Not all groups of people enjoy the same sites. For example, Pinterest caters mostly to women in their 20s and 30s, while Instagram is predominantly used by teens. You’ll have to do a bit of reflecting on the type of customer you’d like to attract, as well as some research on which platform best caters to those individuals. When perusing statistics, make sure that they’re current; internet trends can change practically overnight so the more recent the information, the better.
In addition to selecting a social media site that calls to your customers, you may also want to consider your own preferences. You’re not likely to keep tabs on your social media if you’re using platforms you don’t understand or enjoy.
Pump Up Your Profile: You can certainly get away with leaving out your employment information or relationship status on your personal Facebook account (and in some situations, that may be the best thing for you) but skipping sections of your profile on your business account is a big no-no. Your social media profiles will come up in search results. In fact, your customers may come across your social media sites before they see your actual website, so taking the time to fill out everything, despite how long or how tedious it may seem, definitely has its benefits.
When choosing profile pictures, cover photos, themes, colors and slogans, make sure that you’re keeping them the same across the board. Inconsistences between your website and your social media pages, or between one social media page and another, can lead to confusion. You’re building a brand here. It needs to be strong!
Connect with Others: Once your social media profiles are complete, and you’ve got the corresponding buttons and feeds posted prominently on your website, don’t wait around for fans to come find you – they won’t. At least not yet. You have to get the process going by putting on your best extrovert face and reaching out to others.
You can (and should) start by finding the people you already know, but don’t stop there. Try to connect with other bloggers or businesses in your industry as well as those who may be interested in the products and services you have to offer. You may also want to connect with some of your competitors; you might learn something from them and it never hurts to know what they’re doing.
While you may be anxious to boost those likes, or crack one thousand followers, resist the urge to pay for popularity. It’s better to have a handful of really loyal customers than a big crowd of people who aren’t actually interested in your products and services (if they’re real people at all). The best way to grow your social media sites is to grow them organically by building strong relationships and producing exceptional content. Which leads us to our next beginner social media marketing tip.
Share Sharable Content: You already know the difference between good content and bad content based on your personal social media experiences. Good content is the stuff you like to read, comment on or share. Bad content is the stuff that forces you to scratch your head, roll your eyes, or block a user. In many ways, the same etiquette rules apply for sharing business content as they do with personal content: good news spreads further than bad news, posting too often is really annoying, intentionally vague updates are even worse, and spell and grammar checks are always appreciated. But there are a few other guidelines you may want to be aware of now that you’re representing a blog or business instead of just yourself.
For example, unlike your personal social media pages, you may not want to make the content on your business pages all about you. Instead, you should be focused on serving your customers, and that’s not going to be through advertising your sweet deals all the time. By sharing useful, interesting and entertaining information, you can begin to build relationships with your friends and followers, who only then, will be more receptive to your promotions.
In addition to sharing valuable content, you also want to share regularly so your audience knows that you and your blog or business still exist. Aim to post at least once each day, but a few times each week may suffice. If you have the time to post more, look up the recommended number of updates for your social media platforms. This number is different for each one.
Interact with Fans: With profile pages completed, a fan base accumulated, and rich content delivered on a frequent basis, your job still isn’t over – and it never will be. Social media is a two-way street, so in addition to encouraging your customers to interact with you, you want to be interacting with them as well. Thank them for their like or follow, respond quickly to their praises or concerns, share their content if it’s related to your industry, and comment on their material as well.
When interacting with your friends and followers, it’s extremely important that you remember that you’re representing your blog or your business – your actions will be seen as a reflection of these entities as opposed to just your personal thoughts and opinions. Always remain professional in your online conversations, regardless of what others may be saying to you, and be mindful of what you comment on, favorite, like or retweet. Activity that’s appropriate for you as an adult holding a personal social media account, may not be activity that’s appropriate for your blog or business account. Know which account you’re using at all times.