If one thing is always clear, it’s that businesses have to adapt and evolve in order to survive. The last decade alone, developed a wide range of new digital and mobile technologies; a game-changer for many industries. So when it comes to using social media in business, this is one element that can no longer be ignored.
For some businesses, integrating social media tools for marketing and branding purposes could be a completely foreign process. If you are part of a business that hasn’t yet entered the realms of social media, now is the time to wipe off the sweat caused by intimidation; and begin now.
Luckily, it’s never too late to establish a strong presence in the social networking world. All it really takes is identifying your audience (something you should already know about your business) and apply it in a social media context.
Newcomers to social media won’t face many barriers to entry, but you’ll need to do the following:
1. Pick and Choose the Appropriate Social Media Outlets
Every day, it seems like you hear about another social media platform joining the ranks of the dozens out there. Some are more effective in helping your achieve your online goals; while others are best left to pass.
You’ll want to know which of these networks are worth sinking both your financial and temporal resources into.
Important networks that you should enter sooner than later include: Facebook, Google+, Twitter, as well as media-oriented networks such as Pinterest, Instagram and Vine.
Many of these networks can share content among the other platforms; a useful feature to help boost public awareness and interactions between accounts.
So target several of the mentioned networks and know how to use them— each one shares information differently. Prioritize your social media interactions based on how they’ll impact your audience.
2. Reach Out and Connect with Others in your Industry
Networking is probably something you are already doing. But within a social networking context, you’re pretty much starting over and connecting with contacts you know about and others you’ve just learned of.
With social media, it’s easy to see who has a strong influence in your industry. Popular users will have a high number of “Likes” on Facebook and “Followers” on Twitter.
Let these key players know who you are. Get them to discuss topics with you; your goal is to have them remember your name.
One way of doing this is by sharing their posts. Many places will welcome you pinning, sharing or re-tweeting their posts and will do the same for your business.
If goes well, you’re basically exposing each other’s businesses with very minimal work involved. And the added bonus: it looks more natural in this online social setting.
3. Create Interesting and Relevant Content
This is a crucial part in any social media marketing strategy, as you begin to create a social media relationship with your audience.
Make sure your content is interesting— as in engaging— not marketing heavy.
A marketing-heavy social media business page gets spammy quickly; soon your followers will dwindle. But, if you do it right, your followers will actually look forward to your daily posts.
Remember, your followers are your fans, so this is the opportunity to build trust as well as your brand.
The difference with social media marketing as compared to other outlets is how easily your customers and target audience can interact with you. Benefits include: daily opportunities to interact and relate to each other; as well as the opportunity to build trust through this daily interaction.
4. Use Social Media Management Programs to Improve your Profiles
Social media for businesses has grown so much, that some places now have entire social media departments, dedicated to create consistent content. Many businesses use various social media management programs to keep track of their online activity.
If you are building up your social media platforms— and want to see more active followers and a larger online influence, you’ll need a social media management system to be your online eyes and ears.
HootSuite and Sprout Social are two great social media management programs.
- HootSuite is a social media dashboard that allows users to managing multiple social media accounts, all in one easy location. HooteSuite also provides useful statistics and tracking information to help improve account activity.
- Sprout Social is a management & engagement platform that helps businesses track brand mentions, analyze social media traffic and schedule posts— across different social media platforms.
HootSuite, Sprout Social and other similar programs, will help you to make better decisions on your online and real market campaigns.
The time to join social media is now— your business depends on it. So find which network best incorporates your communication needs, make essential connections, create personable content and obtain beneficial data. This is one online marketing aspect that cannot be ignored.