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Social media is a wonderful tool to differentiate your business in today’s crowded marketplace. It builds trust, which is uniquely powerful and very difficult to achieve with an ad. I built my first company using social media before it was called that. Sure, our product was great, but we couldn’t afford ads or endorsements. How was anyone going to find out about us?
Then I discovered MySpace, which was founded the year before Facebook. Suddenly, connecting with music fans and their favorite bands was easy. To grow our page, we ran contests and gave away merch. Very quickly, our audience knew exactly who we were and what we were selling. Soon, music stores began contacting us. In just a few years, we became one of the largest players in our industry all because of social media.
Increasingly, social media marketing is being used to drive revenue, not just “awareness.” That’s according to data and a new report from Hootsuite, the leader in social media marketing management tools for over 15 years. Hootsuite analytics make it easy for social media managers to track key metrics across all of the platforms they’re on at once, allowing them to advocate for a bigger seat at the table.
To learn the best advice for those who are new to social media marketing, I interviewed Trish Riswick, team lead for social media at Hootsuite, and Eileen Kwok, Hootsuite social marketing specialist. Some tips:
1. Pick one platform that plays to your strengths. Where does your target audience hang out and what are you familiar with? When you already know how a platform operates, marketing on that platform is easier and much more enjoyable, Trish points out.
2. Prioritize developing a community instead of trying to be active everywhere. (Plan for growth by securing your username across multiple platforms, though.)
When you’re ready to start expanding, you can find ways to pivot your content so that it fits the format of other platforms.
3. Lean into the trends and features that make each platform different. Taking the exact same copy and blasting it out across all of your platforms isn’t effective. Every social media platform is unique. Tweak your content accordingly and cross-post with intention.
4. Test out new forms of media. What works on social media changes all the time. When it comes to your brand strategy, “set it and forget it” is a recipe for failure. We’ve all seen posts from people who are just shouting into the void, month after month. When your posts aren’t performing well, consider redesigning them to better fit what people want to consume and how.
5. Engage with others. Everyone like to be heard. So, listen and respond. “A lot of brands forget that that half of social media is engaging with other people,” Trish shares. Make engaging part of your social strategy, especially if you’re getting started and not a well-known brand.
6. Provide real value. Stop selling and trying to establish your expertise. Instead, provide your audience with actionable steps that help them reach their goal. Don’t hold back!
7. Focus on quality over quantity. Social media success is more of an art than a science. Questions like which days to post, what time, and how often aren’t nearly as important as delivering value.
8. Tell stories. Instead of posting about your product or service, tell a story. When no one knows who you are, what you’re selling, or what your brand identity is, posting about your product or service is pointless.
“If you can tell a really compelling story, people will naturally be inclined and curious to learn more and potentially pay for the product you’re selling or reach out for more information,” Trish points out.
Think deeply about the following questions. What are you trying to say? Who is this product or service for? Who are you and why should people work with you? What’s the connection between your webpages and your social pages?
Most of your posts — think 80 percent — should feature storytelling, Eileen recommends. Think evergreen content that is relatable and starts a conversation. Make just 20 percent of your posts about your brand. Obviously, you want to remind people that your business exists and when you have a new offer, but you never want to go too hard. Relentless self-promotion is a big turnoff.
9. Be entertaining. You’re asking for people to spend time with you. Don’t bore them. The top reason people use social media (after staying in touch with family and friends) is to be entertained and mentally unwind.
10. Be vulnerable. Be brave enough to connect with people on a personal level. They will be able to relate to you and trust you.
11. Be consistent. Whatever platform you’re active on, it’s important to be consistent. People will recognize and value your commitment.
12. Be generous. Compliment others and celebrate their success.
I would add, stay informed…..
While it is important to present yourself in the best possible light, your customer’s opinion is the one that counts. Staying on top of social media platforms is no easy task, until now. With our PRISM platform we can track all your social accounts so that you can receive and respond at the click of a button. Can we show you how easy social media tracking can be? Give us a call, we’d love to make your work life easier.
BY STEPHEN KEY AND CARL PHILLIPS