In 2016, social media is more vital than ever for all businesses in any industry. Businesses can capitalize on reaching a large target market of new and existing customers, by using social media. But with so many social media networks out there, which ones make the most sense for your business?
Let’s explore the most popular and effective social media sites for businesses:
This is the largest social media network with over 1 billion active users.A Facebook Business Page is simple to create because it is connected to your personal account. You can invite your Facebook friends to like your business page. Once a person likes your page, they will receive company statuses in their timeline.
Below are a few housekeeping tips for creating your page:
• Fill out all of the information about your company in the description boxes
• Upload a cover photo and profile picture that represent your brand, use these same photos for all of our accounts so your account is easy to find and recognizable
• Connect all other Apps to your Page (Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.)
• Insert a Call-To-Action Button from your settings that links to your online store or website, for example “Shop Now”
• Assign other employees as Admins if they are helping you manage your page
Businesses that have a thriving Facebook page, create consistent content that is interesting and engaging for their target market. Facebook is a great platform to have a conversation with your customers. You can post about your company blog, invite customers to sign up for your newsletter, ask questions, and encourage product reviews. On Facebook users can like, share, comment or react (with a happy, sad, laughing or angry face emoji) to a post. When posting, include hashtags and your location, if applicable.
Businesses should promote events on Facebook by creating an event page. The benefit to having this page is that you can invite Facebook friends to the event, post specific details, and the people that plan on attending can comment and share the event on their page as well.
This generates more publicity for you!Recently, Facebook Live was launched. This new feature enables you to record videos live. It’s a great tool to use before, during, and after events!
Another way to interact with your followers is to hold contests. For example, C2G, a technology company launched a contest called #c2gselfie. They asked all of their followers/customers to take a selfie using that hashtag for a month. At the end of the month they choose 10 winners, who each got a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses as a prize.
The second largest social media site is Twitter. Similar to Facebook, a Twitter Account allows you to connect with people of similar interests. A tweet, is simply a shorter Facebook post. Your Tweets should be promotional, informative, and fun!
Here are some tips to get you started on Twitter:
• Upload a Cover Photo and Profile Picture that represents your brand
• A Twitter Company Account is not connected to a personal account, therefore follow people, such as Customers, Business Partners, Suppliers, Trade Organizations, Businesses in your neighborhoods and even competitors
• A tweet is no more than 140 characters, this means you must be concise and creative
• #Hashtags are important and should be used when applicable
• #Hashtags should be used for Twitter Contests
• Include links (to websites) in the middle of the tweet
• Best time to tweet is noon or early morning
• Any DM’s (Direct Messages) or Mentions should be attended to ASAP; therefore download the Twitter App to receive notifications on your phone
Twitter has become a source for news because it’s one of the fastest ways to receive it. A tactic to grow your Twitter following, is to stay up-to-date on you what’s happening in your industry. You can comment and share your opinion on industry news and topics. Twitter allows you to Retweet (share) information from other users. This can be effective if the Tweet has a lot of engagement. You can also benefit from creating a Twitter list, which enables you to organize people into topics. A Twitter list is perfect for research or to increase awareness.
Lastly, everyday, check the Twitter trending topics on the left or right side of your page. The trending topics change throughout the day and are based on news, holidays, and special topics created by Twitter. Some examples of trending topics are #NationalElection, #SuperbowlSunday, #NationalHotDay, #MotivationalMonday, to name a few. Companies use the trending topics to promote their own product, by creating a tweet with that hashtag.
YouTube is all about videos! A recent statistic states that videos are 12 times more effective than just text and links, therefore creating a YouTube channel should not be overlooked. Companies that make a personal connection with their customers experience success on YouTube. Many brands produce video blogs in addition to regular text blogs. There are many ideas for YouTube content, include a web series, product demonstrations, documentaries, case study videos, customer testimonials, opinion videos, event recaps, podcasts, interviews, commercials, Question and Answer videos, or even Vlog your day at the office.
It’s important to be use SEO-friendly wording in your video title and description. This helps your video be easy to find when someone is searching that topic on YouTube or through a Google. A way to promote your YouTube channel, is by posting your videos on other social media accounts (especially Google+).
Remember, viewers want to be entertained when watching YouTube.
Pinterest is perfect for bloggers or DIY businesses. The site is very visual, so make sure your images or videos tell a story about your brand. A Pinterest Board, is a collection or colleague of photos, videos, and articles. Pinterest users search for recipes, fashion, home designs, and event ideas to name a few. Users can pin a board to their account, and share it on other social media sites as well. Pinterest has an 80% women demographic.
Therefore, if your target market includes women than get active on Pinterest! As a company account, use group boards to collaborate with popular pinners to expose your brand and content to more people. Pinterest enables a company to promote their product in a fun way. When creating a board, develop stand-out images that inspire others or solve a problem.
LinkedIn is a professional social media network. A company page is connected to a personal account, similar to Facebook, you can make other LinkedIn users admins. A LinkedIn company page is used to attract and connect with potential employees, current employees, investors, partners, and customers. LinkedIn is a resource to brand yourself as an expert in your field. To do this, regularly create company updates, join/create LinkedIn groups, and start publishing articles to LinkedIn Pulse.
A company update is similar to a post or tweet. Hashtags and contests are not appropriate for LinkedIn. The content for updates should be product offering and innovations, industry news, company awards, press releases, and job openings. Be active on LinkedIn by commenting, liking, and sharing posts; as well as recruiting talent.
LinkedIn groups enables you to converse with industry professionals on a variety of topics (including your product offering)! Another strategy to share ideas is by publishing an article. Your LinkedIn Pulse is a page of your published articles. Richard’s Branson’s LinkedIn Pulse, is an excellent benchmark to get you started. LinkedIn Pulse articles are similar to company blog posts. This is your opportunity to brand yourself as a thought-leader on LinkedIn, so your articles should add value to your readers!
Once your LinkedIn Pulse has high engagement, LinkedIn will badge you as an Influencer for your industry.
Google is world’s largest search engine. In 2011, the company created Google+, an interest based social media network. A Google+ Business page, has great functionality because you can connect several resources to your page, including a Google Business Account, Google Reviews, Google Analytics, Google Maps, and your company YouTube channel. The higher engagement on your Google+ page will positively affect your Google search rank!
There are important Google+ features to remember:
Google+ users can be placed into different circles, therefore you control which circle receives certain content. For example, here are some circle ideas: Customers, Partners, Suppliers, and Media. Users don’t know which circle you have added them to. A Google+ Collection is a colleague of posts organized by a particular topic (similar to Pinterest).
A Google+ post can be shared publicly, to a specific circle, or a community. You can share videos, photos, articles, create event, or polls. The polls can be used to survey customers and obtain market research.
Google+ Communities are groups of users who discuss their interests. Communities can be as big as 380,000. On your page it will display all of the communities you are have joined. A strategy to become active on Google+ is to join a community or start your own. As a member of a community you can participate in discussions about your industry and prove your expertise.
Lastly, Google+ Hangouts are the most popular feature on the site. A hangout is a video conference up with up to 10 people. These sessions can be recorded. A hangout can be compared to Skype, as itenables companies to interact virtually.
Instagram is the first social media site designed for mobile-only application. The purpose of an Instagram page is to capture on-the-go experiences. Companies post unique and interesting photos and videos that embody their brand. When creating an Instagram account, the username, bio, and profile picture are equally important. Remember to make your profile public so anyone can follow you without requesting permission. Instagram is most used by millennials, so finding an Influencer to endorse your product would be beneficial. Next, follow people that your target audience follows, this will require some research on your end. For example, where do your customers hang out? What magazines do they read? What events are they attending?
Also, make sure you cross-post. Instagram enables you to post not only on that platform, but also to your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts. This will save your time! On Instagram, hashtags and captions are important. Captions on Instagram enable you to explain an image or video you have uploaded. A strategy to build awareness of your brand is to encourage followers to share photos using specific hashtags, this can be incorporated into contests.
Snapchat is one of the newest social media sites, with an estimated 26 million U.S. users, and 77% are college students. If your target market is anyone under the age of 25, than you should definitely have a Snapchat!
Snapchat, is a mobile-only application that captures videos and photos. A snapchat post, also called a story, is viewable foronly 24 hours, after that it will be deleted. You can send a snapchat story to a specific user or make it public to all your followers. Simply swipe in any direction on the app until you see a section labeled “Stories”. Your friends’ stories will appear under “Recent Updates”. To view a story, simply tap on the account. You can post a snapchat story live from your record screen.
When finished recording, select the rectangle icon with a plus sign located at the bottom of the screen. Remember, once you post a story there is no way to delete it. Snapchat is a narrative story of what you’ve done in the last 24 hours. Company accounts, tease new products to fans and give them an exclusive look at products and company culture. Snapchat followers want action! During your snapchat stories, be creative, show personality, and have fun! Similar to Instagram, find Influencers who can endorse your product to spread awareness and customer reach.
As mentioned throughout this post, blogs and company email newsletters should be included in your online marketing strategy. Constant Contact, is a software company that helps you manage email marketing. They will pull contacts from a Facebook or website sign-up form and send them emails you create. They also provide templates and recommendations for creating the best company email newsletters. After the emails are sent, Constant Contact will provide analytics on the performance of your emails.
I’ve discussed how to reach your customers organically through social media. But paid advertising should be considered to make your social media presence effective. You will spend time and resources developing the best content and strategy to reach your customers, therefore advertising needs to be involved. Paid Advertising or promoted content can be target groups of people by many factors. Please research your options relative to your budget.
Have you wondered how you are going to manage all of these accounts? Well, there is software in place just for that. Hootsuite will help you schedule positing and track the analytics in one dashboard. Hootsuite is free for the first three accounts you manage. Hubspot requires a fee and offers more advanced services, including email marketing and a built-in CRM system. Even with using these software tools, you will still need to check each social media account on a regular basis to engage with followers and stay up-to date on new trends.
To encourage customers to follow your company add social media buttons on your website, that link to each of your accounts. Before posting, you should research your target market. The content you produce should cater to them. As a social media guru, you must find a balance between content that is promotional but also interesting and relevant to your audience. Next, create clear concise goals for each account, such as Increase the number of followers, Drive higher engagement, or Increase website traffic. These tactics will make managing each account easier.
Social Media is constantly changing and has become an essential marketing tool for your business. To be successful and get the most out of it, start small, stay consistent, and focus on your company goals! If you want help getting your social media up and running, click below to find out how I can help!