In this day and age, social media holds a value that businesses simply cannot ignore. It doesn’t matter if you run a three-person graphic art business or a 500-strong financial services company. If you’re not using social media, you’re costing your business an untold amount of money in lost revenue from all the potential customers you’re not reaching. After all, Facebook alone has more than 2 billion active monthly users, which many businesses can easily benefit from as a means to grow brand. Add the other popular social media sites to the mix and its clear a business has to be on social.
But social media is more than just getting people to follow your brand. Increasingly, users are choosing to check their social platforms for reviews, including asking friends and family for their opinions, before deciding to eat out at a particular restaurant, visit a certain hair salon, or purchase a product. If you don’t have a social presence, there’s a good chance consumers will move on to the next business that does.
When it comes to using social media to build your business, some strategies are more effective than others; after all, the last thing you want to do is put all your effort into it only to see nothing in return. From blogging to tapping influencers, check out these tips to get your business booming on social.
5 Ways Social Media Can Help You Grow Your Business
1.Blog Your Way to More Customers
Lots of businesses don’t have the budget for a professional marketing campaign. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean they can’t make a big impact online. One of the most powerful ways to build a brand on the internet that you can use on social media happens to be free: blogging.
You don’t have to be a celebrity to create a buzz or impart valuable knowledge to prospective and existing customers. You and your team can establish yourself as experts with content that is interesting and informative but not sales-y. Use posts as content for your social media to share information about your field, a particular cause, or a social issue, but stay away from trying to pitch your product to your readers—at least not in every post you publish. Blogging is also a tool to boost your search engine results. By blogging consistently each week it will increase your chances of being found on search engines. Rule of thumb: try to publish new posts at least twice a week.
Additionally, try either submitting your content to third-party websites or posting guest contributions on your website. Guest blogging has become a popular way to boost traffic and build awareness about a company or brand. If you’re a contributing guest on another website, it will allow you to gain exposure to that platform’s followers. Similarly, if you’re hosting a guest post on your website, you’ll be able to gain access to the guest contributor’s readership, as they tend to promote their guest posts to their platform as well.
If you post relevant and interesting content regularly, host guest contributions and post as a guest on other platforms, you can successfully position yourself as a resource on the topic or service your business offers.
2. Get Social Online
Social media marketing has the term “social” in it for a reason. Old-school broadcast marketing strategies, such as TV or radio adverts, the audience cannot directly respond to what they are seeing or hearing. When it comes to social media marketing, you need to remember that you’re not just showing a product and telling your customers, “buy me!” but are, instead, showing them a topic related to the product and encouraging them to engage with both you and the product in order to have a conversation.
To make social media marketing a successful tool for your business, you need to experience some trial and error and do what is known as A/B testing. What do your customers like to see the most from you? Is it special deals, or news-related content? Or is it even some advice that relates more to your business’s mission statement than the actual product(s) you’re selling?
To continue in this vein, choose your social platform carefully. Take into consideration the platform(s) on which the large majority of your customers tend to exist the most. Also, if your business lends itself to images, then having an active Instagram page will have more effect than tweeting on trends in the industry. On the flip side, if your business is information-driven then posting relevant content on LinkedIn or Twitter may matter more than promoting the latest deal.
Either way, the key to having an effective social media marketing strategy is making sure that you’re maintaining it on a regular basis and engaging with customers. If customers are using Twitter to complain, then make sure you’re actively responding to them on their turf. If Facebook is their chosen method of engagement, make sure your page is fresh and updated on a regular basis. The more you keep customers engaged the more likely they are to come back and stick around.
3. Use Social Influencers to Gain Clout
The internet, and more importantly social media, has transformed what we consider a celebrity. These days, people are making a fortune and becoming household names because of what they’re saying and doing on social media. Landing one of these influencers, while sometimes expensive and always time-consuming, is a great tool to gain more brand recognition for your business.
After all, influencers usually have thousands, if not millions of followers. That can really do wonders for a product or brand if it’s backed by one such social media personality. While these influencers have been around for years, with Paris Hilton as the original, their clout is growing and marketers are recognizing it. Get your business in the influencer game and you’ll see how fast a business can grow thanks to one well-placed comment by an online celebrity.
4. Be Consistent and Varied
Social media is ever-changing; one day a network or platform may be popular, only for that to change a few weeks later. As a result, businesses have to stay on top of which platforms are trending. No business wants to spend time and money on one social media platform only to find out weeks later that it’s not where customers are hanging out. To avoid that, poll your customers to get a sense of their social media habits, then target your efforts there. If it means being on multiple platforms, then do it. If it means only one social media network, then focus your strategy there.
If you’re going after multiple networks, it’s important to keep your message consistent. Make a plan for social media before you start marketing, and stick with it, paying attention to the medium you are on. For instance, on Twitter, cleverness and brevity will be appreciated. For Instagram, it’s all about messaging via images while on YouTube, viral videos are the best way you can get noticed. When you do find one that works better than others, stick to that one only. It will save you time, money and energy. It’s also the most efficient way to keep your social media strategy focused.
5. Don’t Ignore the Mobile Versions
The world is in love with their smartphone. When it comes to social media, phones are becoming the preferred way to get on, which means businesses have to make sure their social media efforts are optimized to that format. After all, if your posts, videos and images look strange on social media from mobile devices, consumers will skip over it to the next thing in their feed. As a result, it’s important to focus your messaging and marketing in a mobile format instead of a desktop one.
Social media cannot be ignored if you want to grow your business. With more than 2 billion people using Facebook alone, doing so will mean missing out on a huge part of your audience. But with social media networks plentiful, businesses have to hone their strategy to make sure that they’re using the right one, the right way. No one wants to waste time and money marketing a brand on a social media platform only to find out customers aren’t there. As a result, knowing your customer and where he or she hangs out online is important. So is being interactive with your customers, blogging actionable information and optimizing the effort for mobile. By doing that, you can ensure your business grows and at the same time, you don’t waste time on your efforts.
Ellie Gollaway is a digital marketing strategist, with a special penchant for Facebook marketing. She specializes in small- and medium-sized businesses, helping them implement a marketing campaign that they can then manage without further support.