If you have never thought about using social media or have been disappointed with your initial results, this post was written with you in mind.
Contrary to what some may believe, a social media presence can really boost the profile of any organisation providing that it is treated with as much seriousness as any other business-related task.
Here are the six most important things you can start doing today to achieve positive results from social media:
There are a huge number of social media platforms (or sites) out there and it is easy to become overwhelmed. The good news is that you don't have to be active in all of them to achieve significant benefits.
However, it is worth spending some time deciding on which platforms will suit your needs most. One strand of your social media strategy (see Tip 4), should be to decide whether you want to focus on one platform first and measure results or to maximise your exposure by setting up profiles on two or three of the big players straight off the bat.
From a pure numbers perspective, Facebook is the clear winner as there are more users of this platform than residents of any single country in the world! However, you may prefer to start with LinkedIn, which is geared towards professionals or even something like Twitter, particularly if you are a firm (or individual) who is planning to post regular updates (Twitter is the most 'real-time' platform of the big players).
If you are a creative company and have ideas about reaching out to the Millennial market then, then it would be well worth testing the waters into the image-focused platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat but test the water.
As every organisation is different and not all the social media platforms available are suitable channels to market your business on, your objective is to select the most suitable platforms for your type of business and research needs to be carried out on where your audience is most active.
Everything you do on social media (apart from what you hide behind your privacy settings of course) is visible to the public so you need to be aware of how it is likely to come across.
For example, if you just enter your name and an email address on your LinkedIn profile, others are likely to assume you aren't really committed to engaging with the community. They might even ascribe a 'half-hearted' label to you in general.
You need to approach your social media profiles with the seriousness of any other professional task, so it is best to book out some time when you won't be distracted or pushed for time.
Each social media platform will have its own style and format when it comes to filling out your profile. Twitter asks for hardly anything at all, whereas joining LinkedIn requires you to fill out an expanded resume with educational and employment background and a personal profile. If you're interested in reading more about how to strengthen your LinkedIn presence, then be sure to have a look at our post how to generate leads and interest on LinkedIn.
To build trust among your followers and grow your personal or corporate brand, you need to ensure what you share is relevant. A common mistake made by businesses and organisations on some platforms (especially Facebook and Twitter) is to mix up their personal experiences and opinions with their business or organisation's brand.
To avoid this risk, it is best to set up separate pages (on Facebook) or accounts (on Twitter). You can then keep family photos and political opinions between you and your friends while presenting a professional profile.
In terms of posting frequency, the golden rule is to be consistent. It is far better to post content every week than to post every day for a fortnight and then go missing for a month.
Planning your social media strategy with thought out goals in mind is detrimental to your overall marketing objectives! The old adage, 'fail to plan; plan to fail,' is just as relevant on social media as anywhere else.
Start by thinking about your goals. Do you just want to attract a certain number of followers or are you looking for evidence of engagement with your posts (shares, likes, etc.)? You will probably be delighted to find that all social media platforms provide detailed analytics for measuring your performance and segmenting your audience. There is even a concept termed 'social ROI' which measures how much engagement you are getting for your spend (if you decide to pay for promotion - see Tip 5).
Each platform's analytics software is different but is worth spending a good hour or more studying as some of the insights you can get from your audience are incredible.
As well as posting engaging content, there are more active ways to grow your network on social media. Just be sure to follow Tip 3 and reach out to relevant contacts.
LinkedIn provides various industry-relevant groups which are worth a look at whereas targeting trending hashtags on Twitter can ensure your tweets are picked up by people in your field of interest. Hashtags simply require placing the hash symbol (#) in front of any single word or conjoined phrase (if you've done it right, the whole thing will change colour). The website ritetag.com is a useful resource for finding trending hashtags.
You can even pay to increase your reach using sponsored tweets or boosted Facebook posts (most social media platforms will facilitate advertising of some sort). Unlike traditional advertising, social media has rich, granular detail about its user base which can be mined for laser-focused targeting.
Our final tip is one to bear in mind at all times. It may sound counter-intuitive but overdoing self-promotion on social media is likely to damage your presence. For example, LinkedIn group administrators are very sensitive to overly promotional posts and Facebook regularly adjusts its algorithms to favour true social sharing over promotional activity (unless you pay them for a boosted post, of course!).
To help guide your activity, ask yourself whether you are adding value to the reader or just for yourself. If it’s the latter, you might want to see how you could rework your content to provide something of use.
We hope you benefit from the tips above. Whether you're getting into social media in order to land new business or to create a professional social presence, the best of luck in your marketing efforts.
About Shen Levy: Social Media Marketing Manager at Social Hire helping recruiters & SMEs Achieve their business goals with Social Media Marketing.
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