How To Get the Most Out of Social Media
Effectively using social media to increase engagement with your brand can be time-consuming and costly. Small businesses often don’t have the resources to dedicate someone full-time to implement a social media strategy; however, ignoring social media can have very real consequences.
When a business engages with its target audience and customers on social media channels, the company strengthens those relationships and creates loyalty to its brand. Interacting with colleagues and influencers can increase the reach and awareness of your brand. With all of these benefits, social media can be an important marketing channel for small businesses. That said, how can you effectively engage your target audience on social media when time and resources are tight? Read our six tips below to help get started on a social media strategy for your small business.
Plan Content in Advance
Social Media is no different than any other marketing channel. Every business needs a plan. Constantly thinking up new content to create on the fly for a range of social media channels can be daunting, and may even be counter-effective. When you have a plan, you can think ahead and plan accordingly. While not all social posts can be pre-planned, there are several ways that you can make a plan for posts ahead of time:
Think about broad campaigns you will be running and create social media content that reflects those campaigns. For example, Brand X is giving away a Nintendo Switch. Brand X will have to create quite a few social posts across its channels to announce the promotion, increase engagement with the promotion and announce winners.
Take Advantage of Seasonality
Holidays and events that are important to your industry are great for creating a framework for you content calendar. For example, Brand Y tends to see an increase in business in November and December. Think ahead, and start ramping up your social media posts in October and extend that cadence through the high season as a holiday shopping campaign.
Start a Conversation
Consider social-specific campaigns that involve sharing or commenting, while the original posts will be pre-planned, you’ve also created conversations to beef up your social posting frequency. For example, Brand Z asks a weekly trivia question involving the history of video gaming. Each week users will reply with their answers, giving brand Z multiple opportunities to engage with their followers and fans.
Automatically post new blog posts to social channels.
Blog posts are important to keep your website relevant. Small businesses should be adding content to your their blogs on a regular basis. Take advantage of this content by cross posting it to your company’s social channels. Luckily, there are lots of tools and widgets to make this task simple. You may choose to:
- Create an IFTTT (If This Then That) to automatically publish WordPress blog posts to your company’s social media channels.
- Utilize Jetpack, a very popular package of themes, plugins, and tools for WordPress, including a plugin called Publicize. Publicize can be incredibly useful for auto-publishing new posts to your social channels without going outside of your content management system (CMS).
This is by no means an exhaustive list. A simple Google search will give you many ideas for tools to automate sharing your blog posts. Take some time to find the right tool for your business.
Interact with industry influencers
Interacting with influencers in your industry is an important way to build relationships and gain exposure. A retweet or a share from an influencer can exponentially increase your content visibility, and as a result, increase traffic to your website. Influencers are often inundated with tweets from businesses and people who want their help to amplify their voice, so how do you cut above the noise and create lasting relationships with key influencers?
Build a relationship with influencers before you need them.
You can build these relationships by retweeting and replying to their content, engaging in conversation about topics that you are an expert in and linking back to their content (while tagging them, of course).
Find influencers that are most likely to interact with you.
Some influencers will simply share their own content without engaging in social conversation with other users, while others are more likely to engage in conversation. Identify the most actively engaged influencers to increase the likelihood of building a lasting influencer relationship.
Consider creating relationships with influencers who are not exactly top-tier.
Keep tabs on your top five influencers and interact with them. However, also identify influencers with smaller audiences, and interact directly with them. By identifying less popular influencers, you increase your chance of breaking through the crowd and actually becoming a part of the conversation. These influencers can help you to grow your brand until you’re able to reach the influencers in your top five.
Set up alerts
With so many social media channels to keep track of, it can become daunting to keep an eye on all of them. Instead of spending your entire day switching from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram, why not set up some alerts? By setting up alerts, you can be aware of what’s going on in social media without all channel switching. Many social media channels give you the ability to set up alerts natively. For example,
- Facebook allows you to adjust which notifications you receive, on your phone/tablet and in your inbox.Google Chrome can be configured to send you push notifications when there is activity about the Pages you manage. You can follow specific Pages or people to get notifications of their activity so that you can interact with industry groups or thought leaders in a timely manner and on a regular basis.
- Twitter also has a robust set of push notifications that can be turned on to keep you up to date on certain activity on the platform, based on how you would like to stay informed.. You can adjust whether you want tweets from influencers you’ve enabled for push notifications, which is a great way to keep in touch and grow those relationships. You can also adjust notifications for new followers, retweets, mentions, direct messages and favorites to fit the level of engagement you want to have with your audience.
Look into social media tools like Hootsuite or SproutSocial to set up streams or dashboards with keywords or phrases that are important for your business.
Don’t think of social media as solely a marketing channel
Sure, social media IS a marketing channel, but if you limit yourself to using social media as a promotional tool, you lose out on a more robust, decentralized set of social strategies. Social media can be so much more than just a promotional channel:
Set up keyword and brand alerts to address concerns or comments from customers. Addressing issues surrounding your brand quickly and publicly can strengthen loyalty to your brand and increase word-of-mouth.
Ask the right questions, adjust the audiences you monitor and learn what works and what doesn’t. There is an incredible amount of market research available on social media at all times. you just need to tap into it.
Keep an eye on your ideal clients, answer their pain points as they arise and be their hero. If you’re aware of what’s happening for them on social, you can increase the impact of your sales pitch and create a relationship with them prior to ever reaching out through more traditional sales channels.
There’s no shame in getting help with social media when you don’t have the time and resources to manage your business’s channels yourself. Luckily for you, there are tons of digital agencies out there that want to help you craft and implement a complete and effective social media plan. Here at Full Funnel, we help clients across a variety of industries to build their social audiences, amplify their messages and create compelling content
What Are You Waiting For?
Every business, no matter the size or industry, should be engaging with their ideal audiences, reaching out to potential customers and increasing their business’ reach with social media. With so many tools and tricks out there, there is no excuse to wait to start your social strategy. Make the time to include social media in your marketing plan, and implement it consistently, and you will find that your customers, prospects and colleagues are just a few keystrokes away.
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