You know you need to be on social media, but sometimes, it’s easy for it to get pushed to the bottom of your long to-do lists… But we won’t waste time trying to convince you that you need to be using social media for your business; you are here - you know the importance. What we will do, is make sure that you make the most out of the time you spend. Below are some social media tips for businesses looking to improve their practices.
Learning how to use social media for business means learning the right ways for your company to present itself, and gaining a better understanding of how your brand behaves and engages with the community on major social media platforms.
Ten years ago a meager 7% of the US population used social networking platforms. Today, that number has massively increased to 65%...
But which platforms should you focus on?
As of April 2016:
Facebook has 1.59 billion users (that’s 72% of all internet users)
Tumblr has 555 million users
Instagram has 400 million users
Twitter has 320 million users
Snapchat has 200 million users
Pinterest has 100 million users
LinkedIn has 100 million users
Now we’ll dive into some of the most meaningful social media for business tips.
Learning how to market your business on social media is an ongoing journey. These tips will help keep you focused on some of the most important best practices to know, and good habits to develop!
Getting your business started on social media.
As you open your social media channels, be sure that the general look and feel is aligned with your branding. Be sure to link to your official company website on all your bios, so that people can easily find you. The appearance of your social media channels is your first impression - make it a good one!
Learn how to build an online community.
Does your business need to have an active account on each of these platforms? No! So then, which platforms are the best community for you and your business?
How to market your business on social media depends on your business. Think of each social media platform as its own country, with its own culture, traditions, and demographics. You know your target demo, so the next step is finding out where they spend their time.
Is your marketing aimed at teens? Then you MUST be on Instagram, as 32% of US teenagers said it is their most important social network, compared to only 14% who said the same of Facebook.
If you are a parenting related business, then you should be on Pinterest, as 28% of online parents use Pinterest (40% of mothers and 15% of fathers).
Roughly 75% of online parents use Facebook, so you should be on Facebook as well.
...but 70% of non-parents use Facebook, too, so even if your business has nothing to do with parenting, you should be on Facebook.
As a matter of fact, if you are any kind of business, you need to be on Facebook -- Facebook is non-negotiable.
Tips for managing your time on social media.
Do you have enough resources to dedicate to robust social media marketing initiatives? If you are like most small to average sized businesses, then you need to be able to prioritize.
Once you figure out which social platforms’ community best suits your demographic, then you can start to focus your efforts and choose which platforms to focus on.
Social media tip for business: speak the language.
When using social media for business, call on the, ‘When in Rome’ rule.
Think of each social media platform as it’s own unique culture. There are more differences between Facebook and Twitter than character limit; social media marketing for your business isn’t a “one size fits all” kinda thing. Get to know your community on each platform individually and learn to speak the language. For example, users on Twitter expect you to respond much more quickly (within an hour), as opposed to Facebook, where a bit longer of a delay is OK.
In regards to video, Twitter and Facebook also have differing best practices. While both recently started automatically playing video in the newsfeed (very helpful for social media marketers), Twitter has shorter length allowances, and since most people access Twitter on mobile, the videos you share on Twitter should keep those things in mind. What is the most captivating moment of the video? Can you just grab a section and link to the full video elsewhere? You also can’t tag people in videos on Twitter; overall, when it comes to video, on Facebook, you have fewer restrictions.
Bottom line: If you keep the culture of each individual platform in mind while working to grow your business on social media, it will ensure that you are being the most frugal with your time.
Don’t underestimate branding.
Just like brand management in other areas of marketing, brand management on social media is equally as important. Keep the appearance of all your social media platforms true to your brand in order to form a cohesive brand experience, no matter which platforms you’re on.
Create great visuals.
After figuring out which platforms are right for you, you need to focus in on your content. Every post should be visual, and there’s no reason they shouldn’t be.
Stand out with unique, bright, and creative visuals. Use platforms like Canva to create fun images without a graphics team, and use Showbox to create great video.
Which brings us to the most powerful tip of all..
Plan for content.
This is perhaps the most important point when it comes to learning how to use social media for business.
Social media marketing is content marketing. In order to market yourself on social media, you need to have content to point to. This means photos, graphics, blogs, and perhaps most importantly, videos.
Oftentimes, your social media point person is a bit separated from the rest of your team, just by the nature of the job (afterall, all we need is a glowing screen and two thumbs). Set your social media marketing team up for success by understanding that in order to do the best they can do, you need to provide them content, or give them access to content, or give them resources to create it.
Making video a priority in your content creation process will help your business in the long run. Video is rising to the top when it comes to engaging content online - especially on Facebook.
“Facebook considers posts with photos or videos more valuable than posts with plain text or links. This type of visual content will rank higher in the newsfeed.” - Galen Mooney of Socialmouths.
Be a friend.
Social media marketing for business needs to be more than just a megaphone for the business. Share content that your community will find helpful or inspiring, and your follower counts will grow, and your engagement will improve.
For example, if you are a local dentist office, in addition to your own original content, perhaps you also share that article you found about flossing myths. People are likely to stay engaged if you continue to provide content they value.
Respond, respond, respond.
Walmart has them. Lowe’s has them. High end fashion stores, and even some groceries stores have them. What are we talking about? GREETERS. Long before social media, people understood the value of making people feel individually acknowledged. As much as you can, respond to each individual comment and message - you will make your customers feel special and heard, and inspire loyalty in them for years to come, just by simply being responsive.
Market your business on social media by engaging in conversations.
In addition to responding, don’t be afraid to start conversations with other companies, brands, or influencers in your market. Becoming part of the community online is just like in real life - you need to be present and part of the conversation.
Influencers. People on the internet who have gained a meaningful following and have earned widespread influence. Do some research to see who are the standouts in your community, and find ways to build relationships with them. Whether this means paying them to be a part of your next campaign, sending them free stuff in exchange for a shout out, or simply starting a conversation with them, engaging with the big players in your community is a sure way to improve your social media marketing efforts.
Want to take it to the next level? Try getting your influencers involved in a video marketing project. Engagement potential in videos is massive -- video on social media generates up to 1200% more shares than text and images combined! That’s not a number to scoff at.
Inspire action with your hashtags.
You need to be aware of trends, but you also need to be unafraid to create your own every so often. Even better if you can tie in your original tags to already popular topics. That’s where actionable hashtags come in.
One of my favorite examples, is a Charmin toilet paper campaign, #tweetfromtheseat. It’s funny, and it has a clear (and shameless) call to action. People loved it, and to further encourage activity, Charmin even did some prize giveaways to people who used the hashtag.
Use the tools available to you.
Twitter Analytics, Facebook analytics and Google analytics help you learn more about your followers’ interests and demographics. These tools exist, and you should get to know them.
And yes, Facebook advertising really is as amazing as everyone says it is. You can get so incredibly targeted and it can serve as a massive point of data collection, as well as a solid testing ground for marketing strategy. Create targeted campaigns, track how they are doing in real time, and pivot accordingly.
Your business on social media needs to be reliable.
This is part brand familiarity, and part making your community comfortable and trusting. The more your community sees you, the better, and the more clear it becomes that you are a reliable source of content, the more likely they are to share and recommend your content to their own communities. Do you have the bandwidth to post three times a week? Great, then do it! Every. Single. Week.
Knowing how important social media and online content is for your business is the first step, the next, is turning that knowledge into action, by creating a strong voice, presence, and face for your business on social media.
How taking risks on social media can help your business
People love when brands nail a humorous post, or when they respond honestly to something. Taking risks is a great way to show your brand voice, and to get attention. Even if the worst happens - there are ways to clean up those messes, so get over your fear of being perfect on social media.
Using social media as a marketing channel can help you learn about your customers by watching their behavior, and you can get more targeted with your marketing. It can increase your web traffic and search ranking, and even when you don’t have hard numbers to look at, your social media marketing can always increase brand awareness.
Having thoughtful social media marketing for your business will help new customers find you and create meaningful relationships with the ones you already have. 90% of businesses see increased exposure and more than half report improved sales from social media.
So, how do you stand out with your social media marketing?
It all starts with creating great content to share.
It all starts here.
Check out our 5 bold UGC video campaigns to steal eBook to learn more about how world-known brands successfully engage with their communities.