Social media is seen as the “free” marketing tool yet actually, no-one’s time is free and if there’s one thing that social media marketing can do, it’s hoover up your time! Nonetheless, it is an important part of the marketing mix and can be a successful lead generator and PR tool for every business, but it’s important to find ways to keep it realistically under control and not let it dominate your precious hours.
If you are going to use social media as part of your marketing strategy, ensure that as with the rest of your strategy you know what the plan is. Understand who you are targeting, what you are targeting them with and where you will find them. There’s no point directing all your social media activity towards Facebook if in fact you are a business to business service and your audience are more likely to be found on LinkedIn.
There are many other social media sites, and deciding what sites to be on is a decision you must make for your business, just don’t stretch yourself to thin and try and be on everything.
Understand that social media doesn’t create instant ROI. What it does is gradually increase your brand awareness, help to build your identity, allow you the opportunity to engage with your online audience and bit by bit start driving website traffic which will ultimately convert into lead generation.
Social media is not a sales tool, if you constantly hit your audience with endless sales messages you will turn them off. No-one wants to engage with a hard sales machine! Reveal the personality behind your brand, share information, valuable content, hints and tips and build a reputation for providing content that is worth sharing.
Make sure your adjust to suit the social media platform you are utilising. Facebook is a very informal, social environment where people go to catch up with friends and family, so keep your content light hearted, inject some fun and make use of images, which get shared more than text statuses. Twitter is more of a mixed bag of business and social, but if you have followers that are interested in your industry then providing industry relevant articles and updates will ensure that you get retweets and build your reputation as an expert in your field. LinkedIn is by far the most professional site, allowing you to connect up with other professionals and share content that will raise your own professional profile. Your tone should be professional and your updates should be seen as a way of building a credible online reputation.
Measure your success. Look at the analytics provided by Hootsuite, or Facebook Insights or Google Analytics and assess what is working. You will be able to see what posts your visitors are engaging with, what is driving traffic to your website and even analyse down to what time of day your posts perform better.
Using a third party tool such as Hootsuite or SproutSocial will allow you to be able to post to all of your sites via one platform, and allocating one set time slot per week or per day will help you to gain control of your social media activity. We suggest an hour at the beginning of the week to schedule in your weekly updates and posts, which should be an effective mix of conversation points, articles, hints and tips coupled with a smaller percentage of promotion. This can then be extended with perhaps fifteen minutes per day of “engagement time” whereby you actively respond to your audience, post replies, like other peoples pages and statuses, comment, retweet, thank your followers. Engagement is the key, you cannot just push information out and not spend any time focussing on engagement as you will rapidly lose the interest of your online peers.
If you need any assistance or guidance with your social media marketing, then please feel free to contact us at Bang Anderson.