Whether you're a new or established business owner, it's important you have and maintain a solid social media presence. Doing so will enable potential and current customers to find your business with ease (more and more customers are turning to social media to find information on a business versus Google), as well as give you an additional digital platform, besides your website, to push your message out, speak directly to your target audience, provide customer support, promote your marketing and sales efforts, etc. But where do you begin? In this article, we'll be covering the essential tips you need to know to get your business jump started on social media and create a plan for long-term success, so lets get started!
Identify Which Social Media Networks Your Target Audience Spend Their Time On
This step is critical. Don't sign up for the social media networks YOU are interested in. To be blunt, that isn't going to get you anywhere. You need to sign up for the social media networks where your target audience spend the majority of their time on. After all, the whole purpose of social media is to speak to your target audience, right? So, how do you accomplish this? The first way to do so is by social listening. Consider signing up with the "big 4" social media networks (if you don't already have accounts) - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Then start searching for keywords and hashtags on each that relate to your business and so how people are engaging with each - is there a lot of interaction going on, or very few results?
The second way of identifying where your target audience is spending the majority of their time is by seeing where your competition is active. Make a list of key competitors and search for them on each of the social media networks you signed up for. If they have profiles, how active are they? Like you, your competition isn't going to waste their time pushing out content on a consistent basis if they aren't getting any engagement from their target audience, so if you see them being very active on any given social media network (and getting solid engagement on their posts), chances are you will want to establish a presence on that network as well.
Between social listening and seeing where your competitors are active, prioritize the social media networks you feel will offer the most value to your business and focus on them. The key here is not to spread yourself too thin - it's almost better not to have a profile on any given network, than to have a profile and neglect it by never pushing any content out because you simply don't have the time.
Create Your Social Media Profiles
Consistency is key when creating your social media profiles. To make it easy for potential and current customers to find you on each network you sign up for, you'll want to make sure you use the same username on each network. Before you start signing up, head on over to KnowEm, a website enabling you to search hundreds of social media networks at once for username availability. Start off by simply entering in the name of your business. If your business name is not available, you can try adding "get" to the beginning or "HQ" to the end, for example, with the key being using that same username for each network you sign up for. You don't want to use your business name on Facebook, for example, just because it's available, then use another username on Twitter. Customers will get frustrated if they cannot find you on social media and give up, which could ultimately end up costing you business.
As you start creating your social media profiles, the next step will be filling them out in as much detail as possible. Your social media profiles are basically an extension of your website, so the more information you can provide, the better. For example, on Facebook, on the left hand side of your page, click on "About" then "Edit Page Info" to enter your website, phone number, email address, address if you have one, as well as a description of what your business does and your business hours, if applicable. You should also include a call-to-action button, similar to this:
For more tips on optimizing your Facebook page, check out this blog we wrote: https://www.socialreport.com/insights/article/115000639623-7-Simple-Tips-For-Optimizing-Your-Facebook-Business-Page. On Twitter, make sure you have a high resolution header and profile image, as these are the first things potential and current customers will see when they land on your page, and you have 160 characters to enter a short bio of what your company does, so be sure to take full advantage of that.
Post Quality Content On A Consistent Basis
Besides posting quality content (always think quality over quantity), it needs to be relevant and interesting to your target audience. Your social media efforts will never get off the ground if you are posting content you find interesting versus content your target audience will find interesting. Content is king, so everything you post needs to come from the mindset of wanting to draw in the attention of your target audience. Content that makes them want to engage with you and inspires them to want to share it with their friends and family. Avoid posting too much promotional content - that should only make up about 20% of what you push out. Instead focus on content such as:
- Blog posts
- Infographics (post as much visual content as you can - it brings in the most engagement)
- User-generated content
- FAQs or tutorials
- Fun posts (quizzes, trivia, humor as long as it appeals to your target audience)
- Customer testimonials
Don't think you only have to post original content. There is absolutely nothing wrong with posting third-party content. In fact, it's actually encouraged. You want to establish yourself as an authority figure in your industry, a place where your target audience knows they can come to find reliable news in a timely fashion that appeals to them, so they don't have to go elsewhere for it. To accomplish that, you need to post content from other websites that is related to your industry. You should also use hashtags, when appropriate, to help extend the reach of your posts. Only use relevant hashtags and never overdue it.
Engage With Your Audience
Now that you've got your profiles created and you're pushing quality content out, you need to engage with your audience as much as possible. Never leave a question unanswered, join in on the conversation by replying to comments, thank customers for their feedback to a blog post, etc. Always address your customers by their first name when replying to them on social media - it's a small notion, but it will not go unnoticed. Something as simple as acknowledging a positive review, similar to the below example, can go a long way towards building repeat business, and a 5-star review is something you should want to promote to the rest of your target audience, as it could lead to new business.
From a customer service perspective, always keep in mind customers who reach out to you expect a swift response. According to The Social Habit, 32% of customers expect a response within 30 minutes and 42% of customers expect a response within the hour. Furthermore, 57% of customers expect your response time during nights and weekends to match your response time during normal business hours. If you neglect customers, they will take their concerns public, and that is not the kind of word of mouth traffic you are looking for. If you find negative posts or reviews, take advantage of that opportunity and reach out to that customer and try to turn it into a positive experience.
The idea here is to make everyone who follows you feel like they are appreciated, which in turn builds brand loyalty. And brand loyalty will help bring in more traffic to your social media profiles and ultimately more business.