With more than 2.7 billion active users on Facebook alone, as of 2020, it’s clear that social media is well past its infancy and has been embraced globally. The world of marketing has evolved rapidly over the past decade, and there’s never been a better time to use social media to promote your business.
Social media marketing best practices have been refined and perfected over the years. We’ve all come to embrace algorithms and terms like reach and cost-per-click, and have come out on the other side as well-oiled machines and titans of optimization. Well, some of us. For those in the marketing industry, it’s the data, analytics, and KPIs (key performance indicators) that get us excited. For those of us that are trying to run our business AND our marketing, it could be a little more confusing and tedious.
Here are 11 tips to better your social media marketing.
It’s right there in the name: social media. It’s a tool for socializing, so make sure you’re using it that way. Are you engaging with your customers when they comment on your posts? Are you actively participating in community and group discussions? It’s one thing to “broadcast” your message to the masses, but if you’re not also engaging in genuine conversation with your audience, then you’re likely just adding to the white noise that users and consumers have learned to tune out.
Jump into the conversations your customers are having in the comment section. It can be a great way to show that you value their business. Use the opportunity to gain key insight into what your customers want, what you can do better, what products or services they want or need, and how else you can serve them.
By connecting more deeply with those who support your business, you can gain valuable brand advocates who will promote your business by word-of-mouth or by sharing your business with their network on social media.
- Post content
Regularly posting new content to your social media pages will help keep your business visible to your followers. Give your customers an inside look at a new product or service, interview an employee to create a personal connection, poll your audience to get input on certain things like new products or services, and highlight community involvement.
You don’t need to be Steven Spielberg to connect with people using video. In the age of smartphones, you likely have everything you need right in your pocket. With some good lighting, a nice setting in the background, and a quick message, you can shoot and publish a short video in minutes.
- Be patient
We’ve all heard the old adage about Thomas Edison and the lightbulb, right? The social media equivalent to that would be something like “‘Gangnam Style’ didn’t get a billion views overnight!” (now at nearly 4 billion) or “It took Ashton Kutcher four months to get 1 million followers on Twitter!” (now at 17.5 million).
Of course, even these accomplishments are old news. The point is, it takes time to grow your social media presence. It won’t happen overnight, but with enough patience and hard work, you’ll have a thriving social media page that keeps your existing customers engaged and strengthens your relationship with them, while also connecting to new customers.
- Contribute to the conversation
Are your posts unique? Are you broaching topics in a new way that your followers might not have seen from your competitors?
You should strive to contribute to the conversation in a new or productive way instead of rehashing the same talking points everyone else is using. Are you a coffee shop that roasts your beans in-house? Or perhaps you only import fair-trade beans from sustainable sources? Both provide a unique opportunity for you to discuss why your customers can feel good about choosing you.
Remember to stick to your brand persona and brand messaging when you deliver these points to your audience. We’ve seen in the age of social media that communities will stand in support of the businesses that give back, are involved, and do right by their customers.
- Be brief
You want your content to be easily digestible. People aren’t settling into their couch at home to read novels on Facebook. They’re checking it when they’ve got a couple minutes here and there during their day, like in line at the store or on the bus.
Along with keeping it short or brief, create content that people will remember. Even when they are only looking at their social media pages for a couple minutes, you want them to remember what they saw.
If you’re a restaurant owner, use video (Facebook and Instagram Stories, IGTV, Reels, Snapchat, TikTok, Boomerangs, etc.) to show off quick clips of specials on the menu that evening. Use these few seconds to dazzle the eyes and the imagination of your customer. It’s a fun, easy way to build anticipation with your audience.
- Stay on topic
Your customers follow you because they’re interested in your product or business, not your political beliefs. Some people go to great lengths to avoid or compartmentalize politics or other controversial issues in their lives and do not expect to see it in their newsfeeds, nor do they appreciate it. Even if your brand is built around your strong opinions about a certain subject, stick to that subject.
A good rule of thumb is to keep your business and personal opinions separate. They say, “Don’t mix business with pleasure,” and that applies to the topics being discussed on the internet.
- Tell the truth
The internet is a hard place to get away with distorting the facts, obfuscating or embellishing the truth. Gabe Newell, co-founder of the highly successful Valve Corporation, once said:
“One of the things we learned pretty early on is ‘Don’t ever, ever try to lie to the internet’ – because they will catch you. They will deconstruct your spin. They will remember everything you ever say for eternity.”
This is especially important for public relations issues. Honest and prompt responses to PR issues can make the difference between escalating and de-escalating a situation. Sometimes the response (or lack thereof) can be worse than the initial PR issue.
- Be creative
Social media posts that are consistently creative and memorable will help you stand out and grow engagement. It’s OK to take risks and try new things; part of the creative process is just throwing ideas at the wall until something sticks!
Slim Jim, a well-known food brand, had lacked any real presence on Instagram in 2019, until a random fan created a funny meme page for the brand that resonated with the audience. The brand quickly learned of the page, hired the fan, and gave him full range to operate their social media content. Over the next year, he would grow the page to over 1.2 million devoted followers that have become extremely brand loyal.
On the opposite side, a former Sherwin-Williams employee was fired after growing a massive social media following by posting paint-mixing videos. The man attempted to promote the idea to the company’s marketing department but was let go once they found out. The company claims it’s not in line with their image. Meanwhile, a smaller competitor in Florida was quick to hire the man, understanding the value in a devoted online following.
In both situations, creative content proved to reign supreme in taking household name brands and elevating their aging image to appeal to new audiences.
Do some research to see what similar pages are doing, but remember that what works for some might not work for all. Take notes, but be unique.
A guaranteed way to have regular content is to maintain a blog. Not only is a blog a fantastic tool for promoting your business, but it is also like pure fuel for your entire internet presence. Blogs allow you to expand the content on your website by covering specific topics, which also has massive SEO benefits. Rather than sharing a post from a major publication, take a crack at covering the topic yourself with your industry knowledge. Your audience will appreciate learning more about the topic from you.
Blogs can act as intersections between your social media pages and general web searches by leading potential customers from one to the other.
- Be human
Anyone who spends a normal amount of time on social media can recognize the difference between an artificial voice and a genuine voice. As easy as it seems like it should be, pulling off a genuine voice takes practice.
Many people try to craft the perfect post based on what this article or that blog post says works, but their genuine voice gets lost in the process. What works for some people might not work for your business and your audience, so don’t try to emulate what others are doing too closely. Imagine you’re speaking directly to a customer at your business. You may not think so, but every business owner, from a mechanic to a florist, has a unique voice that demonstrates their knowledge and authority on their industry.
*Bonus GET VISIBLE!
You absolutely cannot thrive in social media unless you are visible. You must show up every day whether it is with a new post, within comments, or on live video so people see you, hear you and remember you. Getting visible is how you’ll help your brand grow and be remembered. We call this staying “top of mind.”
Every day, businesses are fighting to be seen and heard. Paying thousands of dollars for radio or TV airtime, placing ads in newspapers and magazines, and maintaining a visual presence at their location; but social media provides the opportunity to achieve the same thing, for free. Take a few minutes each day, schedule it on your calendar, and you will reap the benefits of your time and efforts.
At Dream Local Digital, we strive to help businesses find their voices and grow their audiences using these 11 social media strategy tips. Contact us now to find out what we can do for you and your business.