Social media is now undoubtedly one of the top tools for anyone wanting to grow their business and there is no lack of sites to use. Most people automatically gravitate towards Facebook and Twitter but of course there are many more to choose from. Before signing up to everything randomly, however, it is best to do some market research on your potential customers or you may end up spending hours on sending out messages that will never be read by anyone relevant to you. The key to successful marketing through social media is to make sure that the time you spend doing it will show positive dividends, but there are also some other golden rules which will maximise your results. Some are just good advice – others can be ignored at your peril!
#1 – Never ever tweet anything personal from your business account
This also goes for posting on Facebook or any other site. Your business account is for business only – it is totally inappropriate to share baby’s first dry night or the fact that you were falling down drunk last Friday. There are some high profile examples of people who shared too much – the trick is to make sure you have signed out at the end of every marketing session, then you won’t use the wrong account by mistake.
#2 – Use your time wisely
Of course everything on Facebook is there forever, but in fact on a busy person’s page new stuff soon drops off the bottom and might never get seen. Knowing your audience is key to knowing when to post but generally early morning and evening with another little flurry at bedtime is good practice, but bear in mind time zones if you have an international audience.
#3 – Keep up to date
It is all too easy to open some accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest and just use them in the same old way day after day. This is not really the best way forward as they are all changing constantly. Facebook’s addition of hashtags, for example, has huge implications for marketing as cross-over conversations will keep posts live for longer and you can even find a whole new market by following what other people are saying on other forums. Social media is never still – you have to keep fluid to stay afloat.
#4 – If you can’t do it, fake it!
Not everyone is a natural writer and if this is you, don’t try and use social media yourself without help. Looking on an account and seeing that the last tweet was six months ago does not fill anyone with confidence. There are many companies in the marketplace who will do all of your social media posts for you and will keep up not only the quality but the frequency that this kind of marketing needs to be successful.
#5 – Be a good listener
This means simply keeping a good social media dashboard and using it every day. Social media marketing is not just about posting things about your company and hoping they get noticed – the traffic has to be two-way. By using some of the many tools on the internet to alert you to traffic in your sector or others which might impact you, make sure that your alerts are relevant – use Google Alerts, Twilert, Pinalert, nutshellmail or any of the many other sites to help you keep abreast of what’s happening. It will take a while to populate your lists, but it is well worthwhile.
#6 – Keep your social media accounts safe
It is sometimes tempting to open up your company media accounts to the staff so they can share and contribute but generally this is a really bad idea. Hopefully no one would want to try and sabotage you but these things do happen and it is easy to see how – a perfectly respectable member of staff leaves the site without logging off; a teenage babysitter opens the computer and there it is, the chance to have some fun at someone else’s expense and the possible wreckage of your business. As #1 makes it clear, business is business – keep it strictly in the office and for preference, your office!