If you’re using social media for business, then you probably already know that social media marketing requires a bit more thought than maintaining your personal accounts. Choosing which platforms to use is no longer based on where your friends are. Your company profiles are stuffed with more details than your own Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts combined. Statuses and tweets aren’t left to whenever the mood strikes you; now they’re released at specific times during the day when your audience is most likely to engage. And a “break” from social media? Don’t even think about it.
One common mistake bloggers and small business owners sometimes make is treating their business accounts like a live stream of promotional ads, and this is not what customers or clients want to see. Your company’s social media posts need to be diversified. Even your “shares” and “retweets” are doing something to make your business look good.
Here are five different types of social media posts and what they’re actually doing for your business.
Posts That Share Your Content
If you’re not already sharing your own blog articles, photos, and videos on social media, why not? Sure, your clients and customers might like visiting your website from time to time, but you can bet they’re scrolling through their newsfeeds a heck of lot more. As of 2015, the average person spends about an hour and 40 minutes on social media each day! So if you want people to see your content, it’s got to be posted to social media.
Regardless of what industry you’re in, taking the time to produce and share your own content gives the impression that you’re an expert. You become a voice in your sector. A business that provides content for its consumers tends to be viewed as more reputable and experienced than one that does not.
Sharing your content on social media can also bring in new customers. By including a link to your website, you can help bring in viewers who may not have found your website otherwise.
Posts That Share Another Company’s Content
You don’t have to stick to only sharing your content. In fact, you probably shouldn’t. Should you share your top competitor’s blog articles? No, probably not. But sharing other articles from businesses in your industry can have a lot of benefits.
When you share content that’s been produced by someone else, consumers trust you more. Instead of feeling like they’re being marketed to, they feel like they’re being cared about. You’re offering them something, not because it’s necessarily going to lead viewers to your website or grant you a sale, but because you genuinely think this content will be valuable to your readers. This trust in your business alone can be enough to score you loyalty points from consumers.
Sharing another company’s posts often, perhaps a company that offers something you don’t, could potentially start to build a strong, positive relationship between you and that company. This could lead to collaborations and partnerships further down the line.
Lastly, as a sole proprietor or small business owner, you probably can’t keep your production high enough to meet the frequency recommended for social media updates. There may come a day where, for whatever reason, you just don’t have fresh content to post. Being able to share someone else’s content can provide your audience with useful information without you having to do all the work yourself.
Posts That Start A Conversation
Is your company’s social media feeling a bit one-sided? You post articles, videos, images and links and at the end of the day, with only two “likes,” you wonder if you’re talking to an empty room? It’s time to vamp up your user engagement!
One of the most successful ways to get people talking is very simple: ask them a question. As silly as it sounds, even the social media users that are following your brand may not feel like they have “permission” to post a comment on your page. If you don’t have a lot of user engagement to begin with, this reluctance increases. By asking users to vote, share their experiences, or voice their opinions, you’re inviting them to join the conversation. Sometimes this is all it takes.
By interjecting these kinds of posts between your promotions and your content, you can help keep your social media audience alive.
Posts That Promote Your Business
Updates that are designed purely for self-promotion tend to be every small business’ favorite kind of social media post. Unfortunately, it’s the type of post small business owners should be producing the least often. These are the “we’re having a sale” and “check out this hot product” and “we lowered our prices” and “read my blog” types of posts.
Yes, it can be helpful for your fans and followers to learn about new products and services. But while everyone loves a sale, nobody wants to hear about it all the time! Wouldn’t you be annoyed if you subscribed to a TV channel and found it was almost completely commercials? You would never watch that channel. Therefore, small businesses that turn their “social” media into “ad” media get unsubscribed and unfollowed.
If you’re going to use promotional posts, and you absolutely still should, use them sparingly. Make 80% of your posts content- and conversation-based, and 20% promotion-based.
Posts That Share the News
Up until now, all of the social media posts for business that have been discussed have existed within a bubble. Content, whether produced by you or another company, has been focused on your sector. The conversations you facilitate and the promotional materials you upload are strongly tied to your business and to the products and services you offer. While most of your social media should stick to the subject, occasionally branching out into other areas and under certain circumstances can have its benefits. Sharing something in the news, industry-related or not, you pop the bubble and define how you fit within the greater context.
If there’s something big happening in your industry that may someday impact your customers and clients, you need to weigh in on it. If there’s an event going on in your community and you have local consumers, you should spread the word. If there’s a national holiday, or on the opposite scale of things, a natural disaster or some other unfortunate event, your customers and clients are going to want to hear your voice.
Defining your business outside the business parameters gives your company human qualities, and it’s the most human companies that have the most success with social media marketing.