By now, everyone knows that social media is a lot of fun! It’s a great way to keep in touch with friends and family, share your thoughts about current events, and follow celebrity gossip. A great deal of social media's success can be attributed to its “social” element, but for business professionals, social media also holds huge potential as a powerful marketing platform.
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram form the trifecta of popular social media platforms that, when used properly, can be highly useful in growing your business. You’ll need to do more than set up a Facebook page or fire off a few tweets if you want to maximize this potential, but with a little bit of marketing savvy and knowledge of your audience, social media can set your business up for huge success.
Set and Understand Goals
Your first step will be to figure out what the goals are for your social media presence, and make sure you understand how to achieve them. Some common goals for businesses include, but are not limited to:
- Driving Traffic to Your Website
- Marketing a New Line of Products
- Building/Strengthening Your Brand
Keep your goals in mind whenever you post on any social media channel. If your intention is to raise brand awareness, then the way in which you market yourself on social media is going to be different than if you are trying to increase traffic to your website.
For example, posting aesthetically pleasing photos on Instagram will help clients feel connected to your brand and showcase your personal style, but without the opportunity to post external links with your images it is difficult to increase traffic to your blog or site through this platform.
Twitter allows for external links, but you’re limited to 140 characters- you’ll have to keep it short and sweet, and encourage viewers to check out your other media to learn more!
Many businesses operate accounts on multiple platforms which is a good approach, provided you can tailor your marketing to the medium while maintaining consistent messaging. You don’t want your Twitter followers to have a different sense of your services than those who follow your Instagram.
Gather Data (And Know How to Use it!)
Keeping a close eye on your Analytics, and learning how to interpret them is invaluable. This will tell you what posts have performed well, and also whether this success is due to high levels of click-throughs or increased engagement on the platform.
It’s true that knowledge is power, but understanding what to do with that knowledge is even better!
On Facebook, your key metrics to track are:
Twitter also has a Like feature, but the real money-maker on Twitter is either a Retweet, or a Follow by an important fellow Twitter user. For further reading on Social Media Metrics, visit https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-metrics-for-small-businesses/.
Finally, Instagram is a departure from Facebook and Twitter in that the user expresses themselves with a small, square image that can contain text and a short description. This Social Media Examiner article provides an excellent list of tips for capitalizing on business presence on Instagram: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/instagram-for-business-tips/
Across all three platforms, monitor your metrics closely. Respond to your data, and if the numbers aren’t where you want them to be, then switch up your strategy.
Know your Clients
Know who you want to target with your social media marketing, and tailor your strategies based on those targets. You’ll have to do your research, but it will be well worth it.
Key factors to keep in mind are:
- Who your clients and potential clients are
- What they look for in the brands they support
- What related products or services appeal to them
- Where they spend their time online
Develop your Messaging
While you may fire off funny tweets or personal updates in your own social media account, you’ll need to be strategic in using social media for marketing purposes.
Schedule your posts in advance, and plan what you will say in each. This way you won’t find yourself in a situation where you’ve gotten busy with projects and have forgotten to tweet for a week. A user-friendly scheduling platform is Hootsuite (http://www.hootsuite.com).
Engage Your Audience
Finally, your social media presence is just that – a “presence”. Not only are you scheduling Facebook posts and tweets, and expressing yourself through photos on Instagram, you also are engaging with your audience (and if not, you should be!).
Part of your social media strategy needs to include carving out time each day to read through any comments, mentions, and potential private messages on Facebook and Twitter. These are worth their weight in gold and can tell you, for example, what customers think of your product, how well they’re responding to your content, and generally their level of satisfaction with your business. Reply to any questions, and take part in discussions that may take place either in the comments section on Facebook or in Twitter conversations.
It certainly doesn’t hurt to familiarize yourself with social media etiquette for your interactions – Outbound Engine has a comprehensive list of Do’s and Don’ts to get you started: http://www.outboundengine.com/blog/social-media-etiquette-for-business-25-dos-donts/
Have fun with social media but never lose sight of its potential for your business!
QC Event School offers comprehensive online certification courses for aspiring Event and Wedding Planners. All courses are approved by the International Special Events Society and prepare students to start a successful business.