10 Tactics for Promoting Your Business on Social Media
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If you’re in business — or trying to grow a business — you need to have a social media presence. In fact, 90% of marketers say that social media marketing has increased their business exposure. And 66% of marketers who spend at least six hours on social media per week get more leads. It doesn’t matter what type of business you have, using social media will help you grow your brand and your bottom line.
“Social media is essential in this day and age and it helps your business stand out from your competitors,” said Kristen Herhold, a content writer and marketer at Clutch in Washington D.C. “And if you’re not on social media I think you’re really missing out on potential customers.”
Follow the 70/20/10 rule for your social media content. That means 70% of your content should add value — think business tips and news — and 30% should be content from other sources. Finally, 10% should be call-to-action items, such as discounts, sales or product promotions.
Promoting business on social media: 10 ideas to consider
If your business needs a boost, consider upping your social media game. Here are 10 creative ways to use social media to help develop your brand and build your business:
1. Paid advertising
Most companies have social media accounts, but a lot of them are just doing “organic” posting, Herhold says, which means posting non-paid, non-promoted content. She suggests adding paid content to the mix.
“Paid advertising kind of puts you over the threshold of letting you reach consumers and can target consumers you want,” Herhold said.
Paid advertising can help you reach more of your followers and encourage new people to get interested in your product or service. It’s also important, however, to keep your organic social media content updated. Clients who visit your social media sites will get turned off if your most recent post is a few months old. They will click right off your page, Herhold says, so it’s important to take advantage of both organic content and paid advertisements.
2. Endorsements/sponsored posts
Endorsements are an excellent way to reach the younger generations, and many use them on social media platforms like Instagram, which is popular with millennials and Generation Z, Herhold says. Endorsements usually involve athletes or celebrities and “influencers” who are paid to promote a product. Sometimes it can involve sending free samples of a product to certain celebrities in hopes they’ll promote your product or service for free.
You can use services like Zoho, Buffer, Hootsuite and SocialOomph to automatically post new blogs or other content, which can be a huge time-saver. It’s a great strategy for expanding your company’s brand and especially useful for smaller companies, Herhold says. Smaller companies might not have the manpower to create and post daily content on social media, so automated apps, widgets or programs allow companies to spread content out across multiple days, weeks or months without having to do it manually.
One caveat is that companies need to make sure content does not look too “robotic,” Herhold said. Automation is good, but someone needs to oversee the content or it can come across as manufactured, she said. For example, messaging should be different across different platforms, which can be tough to accomplish with automated posting.
4. Engage in conversations
Take the time to talk to your followers about your industry or the business by responding to their questions and comments. Don’t be afraid to jump into the comment sections on other websites or blogs to offer your expert opinion. If people like your comments, that could lead to them clicking on your page to see what else you have to say, Herhold said.
You should treat your social media accounts as an extension of your customer service. Respond to your customers quickly whether they are pleased or displeased with your services and/or products, Herhold advises.
“If somebody’s talking negatively about your brand, it really boosts their opinion about your brand if you’re responding to their negativity, or even a simple ‘please message us we will figure this out [will work],’” Herhold said. A quick response can head off a potential public relations disaster. On the other hand, it encourages happy, satisfied customers to keep returning if they see you’re responding to them with a thank you or retweeting their comments, Herhold notes.
5. Contests and giveaways
Contests and giveaways are great ways to drum up business on social media, Herhold said, who acknowledged that, on a personal note, she always enters them even if she’s not interested in the giveaway product.
“It’s definitely a good way to again spread brand awareness and get people to click onto your website,” she said.
You can also ask people to like or share your content as part of the contest or giveaway, which can lead to increased brand awareness and potentially a new customer or subscriber.
6. Post helpful articles
Herhold suggesting trying to post informative articles or content, even if they’re not from your own website. Doing so kind of makes you a thought leader in that arena.
For example, if you’re sharing an article from The New York Times, it’s a sign you’re tuned into the industry in which you’re involved. Many companies share promotional content from their own websites on social media — others infrequently share outside journalistic articles.
Herhold said it’s a good idea to share more than just promotional content because it will help you retain followers or customers. It sends the message that you’re not just using social media to promote your own company, but also offering educational, entertaining or thoughtful information from other, high-quality sources.
7. Identify missed opportunities
Always be on the lookout for new opportunities to market your brand. Maybe you still haven’t signed up for Instagram, which focuses on photos, videos and captions and has about 1 billion users or maybe there is another type of social media that you don’t know about.
It’s important you know which social media platforms your target audience is using. For example, if your company is targeting baby boomers, don’t waste your time on Instagram or Snapchat, because boomers are mostly on Facebook. On the other hand, if you are targeting Generation Z or millennials, you definitely need to be on Instagram because that’s where most of them are. Snapchat, with 188 million users as of March 2017, also appeals to millennials and younger generations. If your brand works best when you communicate about it in shorter messages, consider using Twitter.
The social media world is always changing, so don’t be complacent — make sure you stay on top of trends, Herhold said. Using Google is a great way to find statistics on which demographics social media sites are using. Statista is also a good resource for social media demographic information. Just make sure you understand the platform before you dive in.
8. Mix up your media
Herhold suggests posting a variety of content to your social media platforms. For example, don’t just publish long posts or promotions — share images, customer reviews and videos, too.
One useful tool is Facebook Live, which enables businesses to broadcast live events, Q&As or even behind-the-scenes tours of offices. Try targeting potential customers based on specific criteria with Facebook’s powerful ad tool.
Or try Instagram Stories, where you can use multiple photos and videos to tell a story that lasts for 24 hours. Much of the content that appears on Instagram is heavily produced or promoted, so it might be a good idea to seek professional help for your own brand.
Another strategy for cross-platform followers/subscribers is to encourage social media followers to follow your other channels. You can achieve this by limiting certain content to specific platforms — like a silo. Try to entice fans not to miss out on your latest updates by teasing upcoming releases or news and posting different content across your platforms.
9. Know your metrics
Analytics tools are meant to help you track the progress of your marketing efforts. It’s important to stay on top of metrics — whether it’s engagement, sales rates or click-through-rates — so you don’t waste any marketing dollars.
It’s also important to know which tactics are working, Herhold said. For example, if you post an image that got a crazy number of likes or comments, try to replicate that and see what made it so successful. Also called an A/B Test, that will help you figure out which content is working and which isn’t worth your time.
Use your own sales or revenue data tracking variables to see if there’s any correlation between your most popular social media content and traffic to your website. Businesses should definitely have both a Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools account to capture important data. Alternatively, some social media sites have built-in metrics — like Twitter and Facebook — that are excellent at tracking engagement, Herhold said.
10. Check out the competition
It’s good to be original on social media, but you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Check out what your competitors are doing on different platforms and what’s generating a lot of likes and shares. Also, think about any companies or people you enjoy following on social media and figure out what they’re doing that keeps you coming back for more. In addition, consider searching Google for articles that highlight winning companies in the social media game.
The bottom line
At the end of the day, one of the most important parts of your company’s social media strategy is to provide the human factor. Have a sense of humor, be insightful, make customers feel appreciated and give them an inside view into your company. If they like interacting with you, you’ve created a successful social media brand, Herhold said.