I know. Not everyone is a social butterfly. And it can be especially challenging to grab your audience’s attention on social media when there are so many posts and viral memes making their way through the digital world on the daily.
So, what’s the secret? Well, there isn’t just one way to get the job done. Successfully using social media for your digital marketing plan not only requires a bit of planning but also requires a real desire to actually engage with your customers (and any potential clients).
As a digital marketing strategist, I’ve had my fair share of experience in creating a viable social media marketing strategy, and I’d like to share with you some things I’ve learned along the way.
9 Social Media Tips That Can Grow Your Brand
1. Know What You Want
Just like any other aspect of your digital marketing plan, you need to have an idea of what you intend your social media marketing plan to achieve. Establishing achievable goals is essential and should be developed with only a few targets in mind, such as:
- Increasing brand awareness
- Driving in-person sales
- Using social media to target specific audiences to improve higher quality of sales
- Becoming more aware of your competition and their audience
Keep things simple, especially at the beginning, and try to grow your presence on only a select social media platform; ones relevant to your business:
- Facebook – Great for Business-to-Client (B2C)
- Twitter – Ideal for B2C
- Instagram – Works wonders for B2C, especially for visual-heavy businesses (clothing stores, restaurant, luxury brands, etc.)
- LinkedIn – Growing your Business-to-Business (B2B) connections
2. Don’t Forget to Research & Track
I know you’re probably eager to get into the fun stuff, posting hilarious images that will make their way across the Internet, but we can’t get ahead of ourselves. Two essential steps – alongside making goals – should be to actively understand who your audience is (or who you want them to be).
There are plenty of social media insights that can be found with just a quick Google search, like this Pew Research Center study. Knowing this info will help you better understand the shopping and buying habits of specific age groups and how that can be used to your advantage.
Beyond knowing who your target audience is, it’s also important to track metrics that can let you know how well your social media marketing plan is actually working. Likes and followers are awesome, but they don’t always tell the whole story.
Some key metrics to take note of include:
- Organic and paid likes
The more data you have available to you, the better informed of a decision you can make for future social media campaigns.
3. Don’t Stop, Won’t Stop
OK…so once you actually start posting, it’s important to remember that your brand/business won’t become an overnight sensation. Social media marketing – just like anything else – requires hard work and a dedication to seeing things through.
Facebook posting, tweeting, or sharing on Instagram once a month is not going to cut it, and while you don’t want to overwhelm your audience with a post on the hour, every hour, you need to remain active. Again, track that data for insight into the types of posts and time of day that you get you the most traction.
4. Make Posts Pretty
Getting your company’s visual brand identity is going to take some experimentation, but that shouldn’t stop you from including the right visual elements in each post. The truth is that visual content goes so much further than a post with nothing but text.
Make sure to incorporate relevant visuals into your posts including images, GIFs, and especially videos when possible. Just make sure it’s tied into your brand and/or post.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Use Social Media Advertising
Maybe you have the perfect post that you really, really, want your audience to see. One of the best ways to ensure that you get their attention is by boosting your posts. Essentially all social media platforms offer the option to use their advertising to keep your post in a position where they can be easily found by users.
There are some costs associated with social media advertising so just know your budget and get a clear understanding of how the process works. And, of course, make sure the post(s) you are promoting is worth it.
6. Talk Back
Remember, it is social media. That means sometimes you have to be social! Shocker, I know.
Social media has always been about community and making connections with those who may be interested in the same topics, hobbies, lifestyle, etc. In order to really build up your brand and grow your following, you really need to engage with your audience. That means responding to comments in a relatively quick manner. While every company’s response time is going to be different, you’ll generally want to respond within at least 24 hours – especially when the comment relates to a serious issue or concern.
On the other hand, take the time to give a quick thank you whenever a positive conversation is happening around your post. Even use a little bit of humor if the situation calls for it. You are dealing with real people, and you’ll want your business to come off as genuine as well.
Just whatever you do, don’t ignore a customer that has viable concern or comment.
7. Take A Peek At Your Competitors
No, I am not condoning copying your competitor’s social media strategy, but it wouldn’t hurt to gain some inspiration and other ideas and tailor them to your own social media campaign’s specific needs. Look towards established brands in your industry and research why clients love to engage with them.
8. Use Social Media in Combination With Blogs
While not every social media post is going to tie in with a specific blog, you’ll still want to direct your audience back to your website, landing page, or blog that tells a story about your company or services.
Combining a social post with a link to your website or blog helps to generate more leads, which can ultimately end up in sales.
9. Localize Your Campaigns
Small businesses can benefit tremendously from localizing their social media campaigns. Platforms like Facebook not only give you the option to create advertisements but also to pinpoint who your audience is – including where they live.