Social media has become an indispensable part of any all-around marketing strategy. Building and maintaining a strong online presence is a make-it-or-break-it factor for SMBs and startups, and yet many small businesses fail to make the most of their social media channels. Bearing in mind that there are more than 3 billion social media users globally, it’s clear that Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other networks can have a profound impact on your exposure and visibility if you take them seriously and learn how to leverage their power.
Who’s your audience?
Before you start posting your blog posts, videos, funny cat memes, or anything else on your social media channels, you need to establish who you’re talking to. Understanding your target audience is of vital importance for crafting the right kind of content and using the right social media platform. You most certainly won’t offer the same content to a middle-aged woman who lives in an affluent suburb and to a young man working in a fast-food restaurant in order to put himself through college. So, what you need to do is identify the age, income level, profession, location, education level, marital status, and similar crucial information about your target audience. After this step, it’s essential to slice your audience in order to create messages that will strike a chord with every individual segment.
Choose the right channels
With 2.13 billion active users monthly, Facebook is the world’s largest social media network, and this fact makes it convenient for almost any type of business, including straight-laced B2B companies. When it comes to finding the right social media channel, you need to take your cue from your target audience and use the ones they prefer, because that’s the only way to connect with them. According to some recent statistics, 77% of U.S. adults own a smartphone, and this has opened the door to a whole new marketing approach – instant messaging. These applications, used by approximately 3 billion people worldwide, hold enormous potential for reaching out to your customers. Viber, Snapchat, WhatsApp or any other application popular with your target audience in a particular region, such as We Chat in China or Japan’s Line messenger will humanize your communication, and make it more personal.
Increase your brand awareness
Social media can do wonders for building brand awareness and recognition. Various factors play an important role in establishing a spotless reputation, and some of them are superb customer service, great content, consistent product quality, as well as being accessible and responsive. However, visual appeal matters equally, which is why your logo, brand colors, fonts, and other elements have to be carefully designed as they convey the essence of your brand. First impressions make all the difference, and even a Harvard study corroborates this statement since according to it, people are more likely to perceive visually appealing websites as usable and trustworthy. Speaking of the visual appeal, traditional and offline marketing can help you increase brand awareness as well. What you can do is add your logo, hashtags and website domain to promotional items like printed mugs and business cards. Another way to connect the two – digital and offline, is to add QR codes where people can see them and help customers quickly find you online.
Optimize your content
Yes, compelling, informative, and helpful content is a must, but it’s not enough to create it and simply share it across all your social media channels without the proper optimization. Images, video, and other visually-oriented content are extremely popular and can bring you a lot of shares, likes, and SEO value, but you need to know the right size for every platform. Also, there are some guidelines for video lengths, so when posting on Instagram keep your videos under 30 seconds, while the threshold for Twitter is 45 seconds. To engage your audience on Facebook and YouTube, use 1 and 2-minute videos respectively. In terms of their character count, Facebook posts with 40 characters get 86% more engagement than longer ones, while Twitter users prefer tweets shorter than 100 characters. To make your posts on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Facebook more visible and searchable, as well as to drive engagement, master the use of hashtags on each individual channel, and promote your content. Just make sure not to stuff too many of them as this is considered a spammy practice.
Don’t make it all about yourself
If you want to build strong and profound relationships with your followers, you need to include them in your narrative. This means that the content you post shouldn’t solely revolve around your company and products. Instead of that, write about topics that your audience finds relevant, try to help them solve some of their pain points, feature them in your posts, encourage them to give you feedback, and most importantly, always respond to their questions, remarks, and comments. In order to be genuinely helpful, make sure to share other people’s useful, informative, and entertaining posts. This way you will both offer your audience quality content, and prompt the ones whose posts you share to return you the favor, which will result in your reaching a wider audience.
Your company’s every post on social media should be carefully planned, and consistent with your other marketing efforts. These strategies can help you thrive and promote your business on social media.
(This blog was a guest post written by Raul Harman, editor in chief at Technivorz blog. Raul has a lot to say about innovations in all aspects of digital technology and online marketing. You can find him on Twitter here.)