When you think about social media, what comes to mind? A stream of photos of your friends’ latest dinner creations or adorable photos of their kids? How about finding out whose next on your list of friends to get engaged? This is the typical impression that social media gives the average user. But for the business owner, opportunity should come to mind when thinking about these same platforms.
For businesses, social media is not just a place where you connect with old friends—it’s a marketing outlet with a wealth of potential for keeping your message in front of your prospects. Unfortunately, many businesses don’t participate in social media marketing because 1) they’re not sure what to do and 2) they don’t have the time for upkeep. It’s a shame because so many businesses are missing out on opportunities for easily communicating with their target audience.
If you’ve realized the importance of social media marketing and have decided to include it into your marketing plan for 2015, make sure you’re doing it right. A social faux-pas can damage your online reputation or discredit your business. Here’s a list of questions you should ask yourself before continuing your social media marketing efforts:
- Have you linked your social media to your website and vice versa? Add social media icons to your homepage and make sure they’re linked appropriately. Also, be sure to include your website URL on all of your social profiles and add your social media icons to your website and link appropriately. These practices will not only help users connect with you but will also assist with SEO purposes.
- Are your profiles branded with high-quality images? Especially since social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter change their cover photo dimensions and layouts every so often, it’s important to keep up-to-speed with changes to avoid a loss of quality in your social branding.
- Is your profile content optimized for search? Use your social profiles to give a clear understanding of who you are and what you do, but don’t forget to include keywords about your products and services that will allow you to be found more easily on social media platforms and search engine searches.
- Are you following your target audience members? No matter what platform you’re focusing your efforts on, it’s important to locate and follow those you’re trying to spread your message to. This is a great way to get an idea of their behaviors and their interests so that you can tailor your content to meet their needs. This also gives you the chance to engage with them at the simple click of a button.
- Are you following a social media marketing strategy? Whether it’s a short or long-term strategy, you’ll want to be sure that you determine your goals and tactics before you go about posting and engaging on social media. Creating and following a social media strategy will not only help you gauge your efforts but will also keep your company focused and on track.
- Are you sharing content on a consistent schedule? If you’re going to use social media to market your company, it’s important to establish expectations with your target audience and keep up to those expectations. They’re following you for a reason, so they expect a certain amount of content volume.
- Are you actively monitoring your social platforms? If you’re not, it’s time to invest in a social monitoring tool such as HubSpot Social Inbox, Hootsuite, Simply Measured and much more. Tools like these will help you streamline your engagement efforts and will ensure that you’re keeping up with brand chatter and providing excellent customer service.
- Is your target audience engaged? What is the point of sharing content on social platforms if it doesn’t speak to your audience and drive feedback to be social? Not only to be social, but to establish and foster relationships that will help your business grow. An engaged audience is more likely to buy into your products and services.
- Are you tracking your social growth and impact? Like everything else in marketing, it’s imperative to analyze and track your efforts. You’ll never know what’s working and what’s not if you’re not reviewing the numbers. This is necessary for improving your marketing tactics so that you’re meeting established goals.
- If you’ve answered “no” to any of the above, will you resolve to make a change for the new year? Social media isn’t going to disappear any time soon; it’s just going to become a more prominent part of our culture. Those businesses that have spent the time and effort on keeping up with trends and producing great content have all of the advantage over their competitors who haven’t been participating as much. It’s time to hop on the bandwagon!
An effective social media marketing program will increase brand awareness, website traffic and lead generation. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. If you’re looking for more information on how to have an effective social media presence, click below to check out our library of free resources. Or, feel free to comment with your most pressing social media questions and I’ll get back to you!