Every business owner knows marketing is important and a must if you want to stay competitive. While the principles of marketing haven’t changed over the last 50 years, the medium has. Here are five steps to help you master this new medium.
1. Create a plan
When creating a social media campaign for a business you need to have a plan that is:
- Aligned with your company’s goals
- Focused on sharing your brand message and brand story
Anyone can go online and post pictures and blogs, most of the time you’ll gain some engagement. But if you’re just blindly throwing content out there without a solid plan in place, that’s like closing your eyes while playing darts, hoping to at least hit the dartboard, let alone the bullseye.
Effective social media is goal-driven. If your goal is to grow your Twitter followers by 100 this month, then great! You’ve got it easy, but if your goal is a little more substantial, say for instance you want to turn four of those new followers into customers, than you’ll need to have a plan in place to reach your goal.
2. Build relationships
Once you’ve established your plan, it’s time to get down to what social media is really about, which is building relationships. The connections you make with your audience is how you turn four new followers into four new customers. Nobody likes to be sold to, that’s not why they’re on social media. They’re there to be entertained. Keep in mind that people don’t spend hours on Facebook looking for their next purchase. People love social media to connect to each other, stay on top of news and trends and to be amused.
3. Employ the 80-20 rule
You need to grab those new followers with entertaining and engaging content, that’s how you pull them in. Observe what your followers like and don’t like by checking your analytics to see what does and doesn’t work.
Entertaining, engaging content should comprise 80 percent of your content. The other 20 percent should be about you (and you should ask for an action, including):
- Call to actions
- Sign up to newsletter requests
- Giveaways and promotions
The 80/20 formula works because you want your followers to see the value in your company and they follow you because you’re able to entertain or engage them. Once they trust that you’re not just there to sell to them, that you’re there to answer their questions and give them useful and engaging content, they’ll trust your brand and products as well.
4. Choose your platform
Social media offers so many different platforms to connect with your audience. There is so much to choose from, how do you know which platform is right for your business?
Not all social media channels are created equally, and the ones you decide to use, will in large part depend on what type of business you are in. Do you manufacture and sell board games? Then you’ll probably get great feedback from visual platforms like Instagram and Pinterest. You may also find success if you ask customers to take video of themselves playing your games and posting them to YouTube.
However, if you’re an accounting firm, then you might want to leverage a less visual platform like Twitter and focus on giving tax advice. You can also link to or write helpful articles (suggestions like how to keep your receipts organized throughout the year). Remember to think about how people see your business, and which platform will provide a way to be the most helpful to your followers.
You should also take demographics into account when choosing your social media platform. For example, middle-aged women are primarily on Pinterest, while LinkedIn and Twitter are popular platforms for men to use.
5. Prepare to Revise your plan
Once you’ve set up your plan and you’re out of the gate, it’s important to follow up with that plan every couple of weeks. If something isn’t working don’t be afraid to change it. That’s the great thing about social media, it’s not only malleable, it’s free. This is one instance where it may be beneficial to change strategies midstream.