With the rise in importance of online, with 97% of people saying they learn more about local companies online than anywhere else (source SEO Tribunal), social media cannot be ignored.
Having given presentations and run training courses on social media here are our 7 top tips (plus a bonus tip) on using social media effectively.
- What are you trying to achieve? As with all marketing, unless you know what you are trying to achieve you risk wasting your time and marketing budget. Being focused on this will make sure you choose the right social media channel to attract potential clients. Are you looking to drive traffic to your website, promote an offer or event, build a database, establish your reputation as a quality business or generate awareness of your company?
- Who are your ideal customers? Once you know this it will be easier to identify the most appropriate social media channel. While you might be worried that you need to be everywhere – on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, You Tube, Snapchat and Tik Tok, unless this is where your target audience is you are likely to be wasting your time. For consumers, Facebook and Instagram are likely to be your channels of choice, and if you are targeting businesses, LinkedIn and Twitter will be more important. If you have video content (and if you haven’t you really should consider it) make sure you set up a YouTube Channel as YouTube is owned by Google.
- Facebook isn’t dead. While it is now harder to reach audiences, Facebook is still the world’s largest social media channel and, if you are targeting consumers or small business owners, shouldn’t be ignored. Using Business Manager and Ads Manager give you access to helpful tools to improve the effectiveness of your activity and advertising doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Facebook events and community groups are a great way to reach local audiences, and the fact that Facebook also owns Instagram means you can share content, and advertise, across both platforms.
- It is SOCIAL. Just pushing messages out there won’t get the impact you want. Make sure you share other’s content, thank people for leaving recommendations, engage in local groups, talk about the people behind the business and run competitions which will all help increase your engagement with your key audience. One word of warning, though – do make sure you consider how others use the platform. While a photo of your cat sitting on your keyboard might be popular on Facebook, it may not be appropriate for LinkedIn.
- Be relevant to your audience. While you will be passionate about what you do, your potential customers don’t want to be sold to all the time. Companies who are more effective on social media follow the 70:30 rule.70% messages are focused on content which advises, informs, entertains their audience or shares something relevant with 30% messages promoting the company’s products or services.
- There’s more to life than social media. Social media is only one of your marketing tools and it’s a platform that you do not own so you need to ensure that it is just part, not the only element, of your marketing mix. For example, every business should have a Google My Business profile, an essential, and free, tool.
- Take time to plan. Spend part of your week, month and year, thinking about your customers, what they are interested in and when is the best time to post. Once your business starts to grow you may also want to consider outsourcing your social media. Make sure you choose a company where you have a good ‘fit’, where you feel you understand each other and they will represent you consistently across the right social media channels for your business.
Bonus tip: Using Hashtags – people are often confused by hashtags, but they are simply a way for people to identify relevant content and people can follow hashtags as well as people and companies. Hashtags are popular on Instagram, Twitter and now LinkedIn too. Spend a bit of time thinking about the most appropriate for you which will relate to what you do, perhaps the local area, key industry topics and those used by others who might share your content. Do make sure your hashtags are relevant to your post though, don’t just use the same ones each time regardless of your content.
We have helped companies with advice on social media, social media planning, 121 and group training as well as managing social media accounts for a number of businesses to build their reputation and generate enquiries.