Having a social media presence really is fundamental to the success of any online business nowadays. As a business owner, social media’s greatest advantage is that it puts consumers right at your fingertips. Your content is delivered straight to them, and if done well can mean higher brand awareness and recognition, increased click-through rates and ultimately – increased sales. Not to mention the very real benefits that can come from having productive and informative conversations with prospective clients through these more conversational channels.
Unfortunately, navigating this wide-world of online social media marketing is sometimes tricky, especially when trying to develop innovative content for millions of consumers all after different things. However the results can be astounding if you put some real thought into what you want from your social media presence and consider what your strategy might be to achieve this.
Do you want to boost your sales or extend your client/ customer base? What products and services are you offering? What tools are you going to utilize and what is your demographic?
People assume that having social media accounts across all platforms is the best way to go – and if you’ve got the human and financial resources to achieve this you might be right – but as a general rule, it is better to be successful on a couple of platforms, than average on all when you’re first getting started. If you can’t be across all of them, select a couple that are going to be the most successful for you based on the guide below.
PROS – Facebook is the largest online social media platform with over 1.5 billion users, and so it provides a customer base for businesses to really thrive. The demographic is wide-ranging and varied and you have the ability to post a wide-range of content which means that as a platform it is great for every kind of business.
CONS – With Facebook, your content needs to be well-developed, fresh and targeted which can be time-consuming and call for specialized staff. Advertising can be a real issue as it is expensive, but without it, your business could struggle to compete with the vast majority of businesses that choose to use it.
PROS – Twitter great for businesses because it offers a chance for businesses to both connect with and observe customers. By creating an account on Twitter you can simply use it for research purposes; look at what your customers are talking about, see what’s trending through hashtags and use it to your advantage. It’s also a great platform for developing your customer service skills and connecting with customers in general through retweets, comments and sharing. Use Twitter as a social media platform if you’re business is tied to on-the-go developments such as news organizations, marketing companies, sports and entertainment businesses.
CONS – The worst thing about Twitter is that it’s incredibly high maintenance; a successful business will constantly be updating on Twitter a few times every day because news travels and dates so quickly. Overall, it’s not great for sharing video. You’re also limited to 140 characters and so people need to actually click on and follow your links to see your larger style content.
PROS – Instagram is a branding/ visual marketer’s dream. It also helps that it has the 2nd highest user base of all of the platforms. Use Instagram if your business is image-friendly like restaurants, retail stores, fashion labels or architecture and design specialists. It’s great for a business looking to humanize their image. Refine and market your image by posting beautiful images in-line with your company’s branding. It’s also great for businesses looking to diversify their marketing content. It’s a mobile application that’s available across all major services.
CONS – It’s only really available on mobile devices and specifically suited to visual marketing, so it is not recommended for businesses that only wish to use written or editorial content. It’s also got quite a specific market or young female users which limits your businesses reach. Whoever’s running the account must have an eye for detail, design and a basic understanding of photography which could means training or hiring staff.
PROS- LinkedIn can be an exceptional tool for business owners looking to build their professional network. It allows businesses to connect with industry professionals and boost their professional reputation. In building your network, you potentially open yourself up to new customer bases and boost sales. It can really be used by any kind of business, but it’s mostly tailored to individuals such as consultants.
CONS – It’s demographic is 35+ s it’s not exactly ideal for everyone. Also, it’s not a place for social interaction between a business and customers so consider whether it’s right for your business.
PROS – It’s owned by Google, so successful SEO in YouTube means successful SEO in Google. The market is huge, with over 1 billion unique visitors every month and so it is extremely valuable for businesses producing video content. Videos can incorporate written content, and well as spoken and it’s great for diversifying your marketing content. It’s also a platform suited to everyone, as long as you can create good online videos. Follow this link to discover some tips and tricks for creating quality online videos. http://blog.yondo.com/?p=889
CONS – The issue with YouTube is that the market is extremely competitive and it is very difficult to get your content seen. In order to produce great video content, you need to invest a lot of time and effort.
PROS – Foursquare is a great social media platform because it allows users to generate your businesses advertising for you, simply by sharing where they are located and what their experience is with your business through reviews and recommendations. This means that when compared to other social media sites, it’s incredibly low-maintenance. You can use it to generate new customers and connect with and interact with current ones through conversations and promotions.
CONS – Foursquare sounds like an ideal platform for businesses, but in comparison to other social media platforms, it hasn’t really taken off and so while it may be low maintenance, it can also be comparatively ineffective.
TIPS & TRICKS
Have a social media strategy. Many people make the mistake of getting involved on multiple platforms of social media and either forgetting to post content, or posting irrelevant, un-targeted content that is not developing your brand or engaging new clients – which after all is the endgame of online marketing. To avoid this, think about what you really want from your social media presence, then begin tailoring your social media posts to things that might help achieve this. Keep track of your fails and successes with your posts and constantly readjust your content to optimize your chances of success.
In order to really get an understanding you have to have a clear idea of what you want from your social media marketing.Do you want to boost your sales? Extend your client/ customer base? Other things to consider might be: What services are you offering? What platform are you trying to sell it on? Video, images, long-form text, short-form text? And finally, what is your demographic?
Thinking about your target audience and the demographics of each social media site is important. For instance, Facebook is good because it’s relevant to anyone and everyone. Linkedin on the other hand is mostly for the over 35’s which means it may not be ideal for everyone.
Equally as important, is ensuring that you are producing the right content for the right platform as mentioned above. If your online marketing content is mostly visual, Twitter and Instagram are ideal as they allow for images with little to no text. If your content is textual – then Facebook and Blogs are fantastic as they are designed for reading.
You also need to think about what each person is using the site for. Do they spend time reading content? Are they watching videos, Are they looking through images? You don’t go on Linkedin to post selfies, just as you don’t go on Facebook to proposition businesses for potential partnerships and understanding this is key.
Use your social media sites as a means of connecting with your consumers. It’s not enough to be posting content to them – you need to be in conversation with them about it. Through this dialogue businesses can grow a trusting relationship with their audience, receive great advice and build a loyal customer base.
If you really want your content to be high quality, consider investing in a social media expert that can take care of your social media as they can be extremely helpful for your online business because running social media accounts can be extremely time consuming. Also, hiring an expert means that you do not have to waste valuable time and money training yourself, or other members of staff.
You can also use your social media sites to monitor your customers. Hootsuite is an absolute powerhouse for this feature as it lets you set up pages dedicated to the monitoring of your business and your brand. Monitoring also means that you are getting valuable feedback about your service/ product which can be extremely useful for progressing your online business.
Finally, use your social media marketing to really build your branding. This is perhaps more relevant to Instagram and Facebook users. Images can tell a thousands words about your online business. When done correctly, you can collect a following based purely off a collection of stylistically branded images. Learn how to take a good picture, learn how to edit and filter those images, learn how to write a good caption and you’ll be doing wonders for your business online.