One of the best ways to get your message out there is through a strong social media presence and businesses are no exception to this rule. You can engage with millions of potential customers and fans that are actively looking for brands they can identify with. However, many businesses struggle to find and connect with the right audience online. What can a business do to get the most out of their social media? What content gets people to read, like, and share?
These 8 social media strategies will help your business build a solid presence and a loyal following by creating content that entertains, educates, and engages.
1- Make a Plan
Before re-designing your entire social media strategy, answer the following questions:
- What are your goals as a business, and how will a strong social media presence help you to achieve them?
- What actions are you going to take to build presence, and how will you measure your success?
Establish achievable and quantifiable objectives that are informed by your marketing and business goals, and set a time-frame on how long they should take to achieve. Find the right KPIs and tools to evaluate your progress, and don’t hesitate to change your tactics if they're working.
If you’ve done something in the past that worked for your business, think about how and why it worked, and let it inform your strategy as you go forward.
Similarly, look to past failures and learn from them: how have your past social efforts missed the mark, and how can you avoid these mistakes going forward?
With a roadmap in place, you can begin to make guided changes to your business' social strategy that work toward achieving your goals.
2- Know Your Audience
Identifying and empathizing with your demographic and how they spend their time online makes a huge difference in making your voice heard. Picture your ideal customer:
- What interests them?
- What are they passionate about?
- What do they read, watch, and talk about with their friends?
- Wh at are their goals, and how can the things you do help to achieve them?
The better an understanding you have of your ideal customer, the easier it will be to find people like them online and speak to them with your content.
Listen to your audience and their conversations online about your industry in general and your brand in particular. Find the keywords and phrases in these conversations, learn how they’re used, and put them into practice in your own content. These keywords, which can include anything from industry jargon to misspellings of your company’s name, make up the language that your customers speak – to walk the walk, your business needs to talk the talk.
Finally, knowing the social media influencers your audience follows and engaging with the things that interest them can put you straight into your audience’s line of sight. Learn from what influencers do to engage your audience, and put it into practice in your own social media strategy.
3- Tell Your Story
Because your business has a unique story, you can use your social media channels to build a narrative around your business. Invite your audience to into that narrative:
- how are your followers involved and invested in your success?
- How can the things your business does change a person’s day, or change the way they live their lives?
One way to nail a narrative is to find your niche and own it. If your service or product fits into a certain lifestyle, build a story around it and highlight your place in it. You know the unique value of your business—tell the world about it and appeal to an audience that will benefit from it.
4- Call to Action
In the fast-paced world of social media it is crucial that you keep your statements short and sweet while providing a way for your audience to learn more—many social media platforms have embraced this philosophy to the point of integrating it into the very nature of user interaction. Twitter’s 280-character limit is an obvious example, but Snapchat’s ephemeral photos and videos and Instagram’s bite-sized Boomerang and Stories features are more recent examples. These limitations allow you to create captivating copy and striking visuals that are digested at a glance. Once you have their attention, encourage users to follow up by clicking a link, signing up for your newsletter, or looking through a complete product line to get more of the content they were interested in to begin with.
5- Get Conversational
Social media is a two-way street and things don’t always have to be about sales: sharing holiday greetings, discussing local events, and starting a dialogue about current news stories are all ways a business can drive engagement from their audience and learn more about their demographic.
Most importantly, share with your audience and encourage them to share with you! Ask your audience about what they want to see, take the feedback and deliver on it. When your audience is engaged with your brand, you become a part of their network, and everyone gets to see how your business fits into the lives of people just like them. This widens your audience and compounds your chances of generating engagement.
6- Go Live!
Facebook Live has quickly become a powerhouse marketing tool for the biggest brands. Your followers are notified the moment you go live, and can join at any time to watch you broadcast the things that matter to the both of you. Is your company reaching a milestone, or releasing a brand new product? Has your warehouse just received a long-awaited and much anticipated shipment? Go live, and share the moment with your fans! Hold a live Q&A session, give fans a sneak peek at exciting things in the works… When your fans see the real people behind your products or services and share in their successes, it lays the foundation for a fanbase that is engaged, loyal, and eager to see more!
7- Post Consistently
Consistency is key in building and retaining a solid following on social media. While posting daily will definitely help you gain followers, get likes and shares, posting 3 times/week is the minimum required to keep you from losing followers.
It is important for you to find a social media management tool that can help you find relevant content, plan and schedule posts ahead of time, interact with leads, and analyze your social media performance.
8- Test, Analyze, Repeat
Finally, don't stop improving. Don’t stick with a single successful formula. Variety is the spice of life, so keep an eye out for new trends, conversations, and mediums to get your message out there. Keep your eyes on the KPIs, put your strategies to the test by comparing results, and learn from your failures and successes to evolve along with your audience and your social media networks as they grow.
Social media is constantly evolving and with these tactics your business will find its place in the world beyond a brick and mortar shop or a domain name. Set clear and measurable objectives that correspond to your business goals. Get to know your audience, tell them your story, and get involved by listening to what they have to say. Go live, give your followers a taste of what you have to offer, and provide the means for them to learn more about what you can do for them. Test out new ideas to keep improving your reach. Remember that social media is meant to connect with people—use social media to connect with your audience and grow it. Now get out there and give your audience something to talk about!
Please, do not hesitate to ask questions or leave comments in the section below.