There’s no denying that social media should be a part of any marketing plan in some form or another. But with all the options available, whether it be targeted audience advertising campaigns, lead funnel offers, or simply relationship building, it can become a distracting daily task that shifts your mind off the ‘bigger picture’.
In order to keep a focused mindset, I’ve compiled 10 tips to help you avoid any ‘social downtime’:
1. Build social media into your business plan
So whether you are a startup or a solid corporation, you need to have a business plan in place for growth. Social Media is part of your marketing that drives this growth. So identify where social media can be implemented into your plan and set goals over set time periods. This will then help you set tasks to keep your brand message consistent and professional.
2. Have a website geared for social media
Most people engage in social media via their mobile or tablet so make sure your website is user friendly and the articles you share from your blog automatically respond in size for easy reading. To encourage people to share your content back to social media have your social share links visible at the end of the content.
3. Create a content and management plan
Some social sites have tools to find trending content and schedule posts to help you manage your time. Most social sites provide you with analytics to identify your popular content and the best times to share your content. Learning how to use these will prove very useful in building consistent engagement with your audience. Use your social media goals to create a spreadsheet and plan out what content you want to highlight when e.g. use a variety to reinforce your topic: images, quotes, texts, tips, your articles, media news, promotions, giveaway resources etc.
4. When to use and not use an external social management tool
Hootsuite, Buffer, SproutSocial etc are all simple management tools to schedule across a number of social sites at once. They might be time saving but they are not necessarily supportive of social growth and engagement based on the limitations the social sites place on the visual content and links you share. So identify if using them fits in with your social media goals before ‘automating your business’.
5. Build a business network
Just like developing an offline business network to create natural referrals, and word of mouth marketing, you need to do the same in social media. A great place to start is to find your friends business presences to start supporting them. Send an email to business companions providing them with your social links and ask them for their’s so you can support each other. Create the habit to connect online with people you meet offline to easily stay in touch.
6. Reciprocity builds growth and engagement
Only posting to the people who already follow you is like handing out flyers to potential customers in your own store. Yes, it’s important to nurture the relationships of those that follow you, but in order to engage new people to know about you, adopt a reciprocity approach. Make it part of your marketing plan to visit a short list of people who you need to engage and touch base with on social media to strengthen relationships. These can be key people within your network, new introductions and possible mentors. The most converted to use your services are those who know you through someone – so hang out in their spaces.
7. Use hashtags strategically
Hashtags have many uses in social media. But as part of your overall digital marketing plan, you would have identified a set of keywords and phrases for your website content to be found in search engines. Reinforce your online identity by using the same keywords and phrases not only in your article content but as your social media hashtags as well. Different social sites use different keywords so list the most ideal hashtags for you to use where.
8. Find a professional and personal balance
People naturally want to know and connect with the people in a business before they make a decision to purchase, especially if you offer a service. It’s important to strike a balance so as not to be seen as stiff and boring, but not be unprofessional by sharing emotional baggage that happens within your industry or network. People connect with emotional content but love stability – it’s how businesses build brand loyalty. So find a balance that allows you to build a professional personality by sharing a variety of relevant content. What you share is who you generally will attract.
9. Optimise your social media profile descriptions
On professional accounts keep them up to date, provide links to your website service pages and not just to your home page. Provide a call to action offer, such as, a free resource link, a sign up for a newsletter/webinar, or simply to contact you. Don’t leave any areas empty – these help social sites to identify and categorise you for searches, so give them what they need. On personal accounts customise your settings to allow work and education aspects to be public and provide links to your business spaces to connect with you.
10. Look professional
Appearance is everything. It is natural to judge how professional a business is based on first appearances and this includes the people within it. The more professional you present yourself and the business, the more value we add to how important you are. At an event, you are the first marketing exposure of your business. The second is often a business card. The third is your online presence when a person searches to assess doing business with you. If your website and social media do not reflect the same level of professional presence as your physical introduction then people can become dubious about whether you can really service them.
GOLDEN RULE: Don’t treat your social media as a separate marketing tool. In today’s way of doing business it is actually what ties all your marketing together to represent and grow your business brand. Give it the attention it requires, even if it’s on a small scale.