Welcome to the opportunity land of mass media marketing outreach. Thanks to Mr. Zuckerberg and the creators of all social media platforms alike, the world of online marketing has evolved and transformed significantly over the past decade.
Shares, likes, tweets and pins have become much more than casual interactions between millennials. In the online advertising space, we have moved far beyond cliché sales pitches or scripted commercials and moved into the era of social media marketing.
Social media has enabled an open and transparent conversation between business and consumer.
Why Businesses Need Social Media Marketing?
Today, social media has become one of the most important channels of outreach for businesses to harvest branding, marketing, and customer relationship building. With the right planning, strategies, and tools, social media can help businesses acquire and retain customers in a cost-effective way.
To fully reap the benefits of social media marketing, a feasible strategy in alignment with your overall marketing plan needs to be in place. The core of good social media practice is to regularly share insightful and useful information.
Capture and engage new and returning traffic to your business by keeping the interactions going between brands and audience. Utilize social platforms for more than just a channel to output the latest promotions. There are valuable opportunities to receive feedbacks from end users and improve business strategies in the long run.
What Businesses Can Achieve with Social Media Marketing?
Businesses can develop a stronger brand presence amongst its consumers and generate public interest in social media. Companies are not only being recognized for their products and services but more so for their brand images, missions, and values.
Furthermore, marketing is not the only gain social media brings for businesses. Valuable insights such as direct consumer feedbacks, user experience reviews, and product/service level improvement suggestions become readily available to companies. That is why every business should be connected with their users on social networks.
8 Fundamentals of Effective Social Media Marketing for Business
1. Claim Your Social Presence
There are many social media platforms out there and emerging. It takes work to just set up and keep track of all of them. The good news is it is free to set up business accounts on all available social media platforms.
Why not use them to your full advantage? Test-drive each platform, and turn to statistics when deciding which platforms work well for your business needs.
Here are 8 of the most popular social media networks to consider for your business:
- Google Plus
2. Raise Brand Awareness
The first step after you have claimed your social accounts is to make sure you have completed as much information as possible within the profiles. Include contact information, website, and images where applicable.
3 Things You Can Do Now to Boost Your Social Media Profiles
- Always complete the description section. Share the passion about your business with everyone. Tell visitors what your company has to offer, and define your brand. This is the perfect opportunity to show people your awesomeness, so put some thoughts into it.
- Be memorable and unique. Much like face to face interactions, your business profile needs a remarkable character that makes visitors remember you. The way you interact, the tone of your "voice", and the representations you make give off plenty about what your business stands for in terms of persona, value, and business culture.
- Add visual appeal to your profiles. Graphic elements play a big part in social sharing. They can include logos, pictures, infographics, and videos. Resize the visual elements accordingly so they don’t look out of proportion or pixilated on your profiles and posts. There are many great design tools such as Adobe Photoshop to help you with the consistency of visual styling and formatting.
3. Grow Follower Base
You’ve got to give your fans something to root for right? Get into the conversation with the followers and encourage interaction amongst fans. Keep follower engaged while capturing new market shares.
Pay attention to follower’s opinions, and regularly responds to questions and comments. The best way to have people be interested in you is to have a genuine interest in them first. After all, it’s the way we make friends.
3 Tips to Gain Followers on Social Media
- Put effort into customer retention. It cost more marketing dollars to capture a new lead than to retain one. Your social media platforms are the perfect environments to nurture follower interest. You can increase customer loyalty with the right social media strategies.
- Offer exceptional customer service with social media. Equip your customer service team to answer questions and comments on Facebook and Twitter. Treat these inquiries with the same professionalism as you would with any other forms of customer service requests.
- Network with influencers. There are always a few advocates amongst your fans that are just as passionate about your industry as you are. These people are often the group leaders or conversation starters whose opinions hold significant weight in the community. Take time to network with key influencers and ask them to help you spread the news can broaden your marketing efforts.
4. Deliver Personalized User Experience
No matter what content strategy you adopt, the key to success involves personalization. Provide followers a personalized experience. Your audience should feel an inviting sense of and openness within the community.
Treat every customer with the same level of integrity and attention you would expect to receive. The work does not end when someone clicks that magic “like” or “follow” button. In fact, this is just the beginning.
3 Ways to Improve Social Media Follower User Experience
- Actively listen to social feedbacks. Promptly address follower questions and concerns one-on-one. Remember to always keep up a friendly, approachable and helpful attitude.
- Encourage happy customers to share their personal experience. For example, host a contest and ask fans to post photos from their most recent purchase. Ask happy customers to share their own experience about your business.
- Be receptive to both positive and negative comments. Compliments or complaints alike need to be taken care of in an equally polite and responsible manner. Playing favoritism or having selected hearing within your online community is not a good practice. Your attitude and response to someone or a situation can play a detrimental role in your social reputation.
5. Increase Content Sharing
One of the best tips we can give about winning followers is to consistently and frequently share quality content. Shares can be anything; a new product debut, an important update, or just something funny.
Periodically post articles, videos, infographics, or exclusive offers from your website onto Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or LinkedIn. Employ good posting practice by share relevant, engaging, and worthy pieces that add value to your social profiles.
If you need help on how to use, manage and advertise on different social networks, get access to tutorials taught by industry experts. Lynda, LinkedIn’s largest online educational platform offers hundreds of training courses on everything you need to know about social media marketing.
3 Ways to Improve Social Media Content Sharing
- Promote messages with emotional connections. You need a message that speaks the mind of your audience. When people feel gravitated towards your message, they will share it because it represents their own ideas closely.
- Create content that fires up a common passion. For example, motivational messages that promote a mutual drive or a goal can receive great responses. Create content that makes your followers feel personally passionate about can increase post sharing.
- Reiterate brand value through social networks and constantly reminds followers of your great brand image. If your organization is involved in charitable events or events for a cost, promote them on social networks. Let people know about your involvement and contributions to create a better society. It helps your business gain more followers who believe in the same cost.
6. Customize Social Media Strategies
There is no one size fit all solution in online marketing or social media practice. What and how you share should be customized to fit the social platform you are on in order to capture maximum benefits.
For example, longer sentences and oversized images might not work its charm on Twitter as they may on Facebook. Image rich content may receive a better response on Pinterest. Statistical facts may obtain remarkable performance on LinkedIn.
Don’t be afraid of trial and error. Test out different content strategies on various platforms. Utilize data from analytics reports to seek out better approaches to social media sharing. Learn more about social media advertising strategies.
3 Examples of What You Can Customize on Different Social Networks
• Facebook: More than two-third of Facebook users are on mobile devices. So choose images that are mobile friendly and easy to look at on small devices. For instance, a picture with a clear theme may work better than a lengthy infographic covered in text.
• Twitter: According to Twitter, tweets with images receive 35% more retweets comparing to text-only tweets. It’s a good idea to make the message brief and include an image for better engagement. Twitter is a great network to frequently share quick updates about real-time news and statistics.
• Pinterest: Infographics works well on Pinterest. They can be displayed and viewed properly in Pins and allow you to include long descriptions. Use keyword-optimize Pinterest posts to maximize search exposure within the platform.
7. Plan Strategic Post Timing
When and how often you make posts on social platforms impact the overall success of social campaigns. This is where the analytics data comes in handy.
Make good use of analytic reports from Google Analytics and Bing Ads to identify the peak hours which your customers are online and browsing. Plan posts around their “active” schedules to increase exposure.
Depending on your industry, spamming your Facebook account with 10 posts in a half hour period is not always a smart move. If you are a publishing media, it may make sense to publish more often with rotating topics and categories. If you are a restaurant promoting your new menu, plan location-enabled photos around peak activity hours may help to increase local traffic. Pace your posts and let statistics show you what works for your business.
3 Tips to Help You Schedule Social Media Posts
- Your own data is everything when it comes to post scheduling. You may find many versions of “best time to post on Facebook” from the internet. While their research is accurate when it comes to their own customers, but that does not exactly reflect the peak times of your customer’s activity hours. It is most effective to track your own data through Google Analytics and Social media tools to obtain the most accurate information on user activities and plan out posts accordingly.
- Powerful social platform analytics such as Facebook Insights and Pinterest Analytics are readily available within your social media accounts. They provide real-time data and break down user engagement by demographics. These in-platform analytics tools offer additional layers of data for even more precise targeting.
- Tailor post timing for different social networks. You may start off posting with identical timings across the board for every platform. As you accumulate more data, it is a good idea to consistently reevaluate and identify the best strategy for each social network. Keep refining your strategies to maximize results.
8. Capture Business Opportunities
Consistently engage followers with product updates, promotions, and rewards. Running a good promotion on your Social Media page is a good way to stimulate interest with customers and great for capturing new opportunities.
Get creative with your social media campaigns. Put up interesting videos, new product demos, or run a contest with a prize. Post coupon codes, blast email campaigns with exclusive offers, and announce sales across platforms.
There are endless ways to present promotions to your customers. Keep followers interested and give them a good reason to pay another visit.
3 Ways to Gain More Business Opportunities from Social Media Posts
- Link directly from your webpages to social media posts. One of the most important marketing objectives of utilizing social media is to direct traffic back to your website. Install protocols such as Open Graph Meta tag for Facebook and Twitter Cards to enable rich object posting. Make posts more intuitive and appealing improves the user experience.
- Focus on creating customer loyalty. One of the best investments you can make in marketing is to turn casual visitors into loyal customers. Building a strong brand image and creating trust amongst your followers are key to creating loyal customers. Develop a social presence around these key objectives can further elevate your brand value.
- Optimize marketing goals with analytics. Data is perhaps the most important component of any online marketing campaign. Make use of analytics data about your customer’s preferences and browsing trends when planning social media posts. Choose your content with winning subjects and post around user activity peak times.
- Utilize social media management tools such as Hootsuite or Sproutsocial to schedule posts, manage inbox and consolidate social media marketing on different networks into one easy to use platform.
Keep on Sharing
Social Media is making a significant contribution to businesses by opening up a whole new marketing channel. Social media platforms have created a stage of equal opportunities for companies large or small.
Successful social media marketing for business starts with winning the hearts of followers and creating the best user experiences. See our guide on how to gain more followers with social media marketing strategy.