If you are a new start up business or an existing SME business who hasn’t yet embraced social media, here are a few tips to get you started!
1). Get planning
1). If you don’t have one already in place, creating a plan of your goals and objectives is a good start! Consider what you want to achieve through your social media channels; whether it is monthly, quarterly or yearly, having a plan in place will keep your content on track and help to identify key performance indicators to keep you confidently hitting your objectives!
2). Lacking social media pages? Create them! But only if they are in line with your plan and support your business objectives. Too many pages will stretch your resources and could dilute your brand if not managed properly or neglected.
3). Carry out a social media audit of your current activities and review their performance objectives. By doing so, you can identify the character traits of the audience that is currently connecting with you and how to tailor communications to your target audience. Look to include some competitors in your audit so you can compare how well your posts are performing and analyse the audiences engaging.
2). Decide which platforms are right for you
Excellent social media channel for any product or company! Why? Because everyone is on it! Whether your business is local or global, you can connect with potential customers with the easy to use advert interface.
This social media channel is brilliant if your business can utilise imagery for promoting people and products. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and it’s not a cliché. If your business produces products that can be displayed in a visually dynamic way, then Instagram should be on your list of channels to use. Businesses also use them for ‘behind the scenes’ of staff and events which can support building a strong brand image and following.
The world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn is perfect for businesses to find potential clients or to connect with other like-minded businesses. On a local level, your business can gain many new customers via word of mouth and authentically connecting with others in your area.
The newest social media channel on the block, Snapchat is an excellent social channel if you’re targeting a younger audience of ages 13-25. Snapchat allows businesses to create sponsored geofilters which can be made available at specific locations, for example, if you’re hosting a product launch event, you can target people locally to the venue and this can be picked up on via Snapchat!
The perfect social media platform for video! YouTube provides businesses the opportunity to build credibility for their brand and products. Whether you have promotional videos of your products or you’re a company that is very much into vlogging – YouTube is the channel for utilising this media.
3). Know your audience
Before you set off on your social media adventure, you should identify your target audience. This is an important stage of planning in order to be successful in creating relevant content and meet your objectives. Social media starts with people, so knowing your audience and how to communicate your brand to them is crucial in the social media experience.
4). Be cautious of overselling
Social media is an ideal channel to promote and sell to customers – it offers a quick and accessible platform for your audience to engage with you and your products. Utilising social media for the promotion of both your brand and product offing is easy, especially with tools provided by the platforms such as Facebook’s simple advertising interface. However, always follow an 80/20 rule – 80% of your content should be about the people, whether it is to inspire, empower or help solve their problems, the other 20% should be promotional posts about your products. Keep it interesting to grow and strengthen your brand following. You don’t want to bombard potential buyers and disengage them.
5). Incorporate images, videos, and graphics
To make sure your posts perform as well as possible, always make sure you include graphics (photos and videos) in posts. Social media channels will scrutinise your posts for a lack of imagery (the algorithm won’t show the post to everyone), a text-only post is less eye-catching and engaging to audiences scrolling through and your efforts to put together well thought-out content will be wasted. People prefer visuals – online customers can only retain 10-20% of information they read while with visual elements that goes up to nearly 70%! People on social media are more willing to engage with visual content, especially video, and by 2019 it is estimated 80% of all internet traffic will consist of video traffic. You can’t deny that visual elements work (and a great way to make sure your messages are communicated well), so always include them in your social media content.
6). Choose quality over quantity
When choosing social media channels, think about what would deliver your business the best value for time and money put in. Taking on social media channels which don’t engage the right audience for your products and that you can’t commit to maintaining can have a detrimental effect on how people view you as a business. Once you do have your social media channels, creating quality content will produce trust and a following, whilst also increasing engagement with your brand. Make sure to remember to reference your objectives and to check your key performance indicators and adapt your content plan to keep your audience engaged!
Whatever you do with social media, make sure to be authentic. You’re connecting with other humans and don’t be afraid to show them you’re human too!