It’s so much more than having a Facebook account. It isn’t even about how active your social media accounts are. It’s all about how you connect with your customers. So, what is “it?” It, referring to social media networking, has increasing benefits that all businesses can take advantage of. If you’re not taking advantage of social networking, you’re missing out on a quick, cheap and extremely effective way to connect with nearly half of the world’s population.
Now, more than ever, people are using social media to connect with brands. Are you taking advantage of social networking for your business?
While it isn’t one size fits all, or every network is suitable for every business, you should be asking the fundamental questions: who, what, where, when and why. And, maybe not in that specific order. Sometimes the why should come first. The who is also extremely important. But, most of all, you need to answer where.
So, where do you start?
Social networking should be a strategic part of your business marketing plan. With that being said, now you need to decide on where you will feature your business. Most businesses stick with Facebook as a foundation to get their brand off the ground. However, it is essential to remember that what works for one does not work for all. Make sure that you do some research on all of the available networks before making your decision.
Facebook may be a good place to start; after all, nearly everyone is on this network; and it is the most recognizable. Check out Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and others to see what is right for your company. While you are looking for the best fit, here are some questions you should be asking yourself.
- How do I want to be active on social?
- What will I be posting?
- How often will I be posting?
- Which network will offer the best visibility for my business?
While you may not immediately know all of these answers, keep them in mind while looking at the different social networking sites. Instagram and Pinterest are image based, so if your company can host a lot of engaging images and product pictures, these may be the right sites for you.
Also, keep in mind the type of business you own. For example, do you own a company that works mainly as B2B? When trying to network with other companies to sell your product or service, LinkedIn might be the best place to connect with your consumers. Twitter is another great B2B site as it deals in real time and offers a great place to chat and connect with customers and other businesses quickly.
Setting Social Networking Goals
Once you make these social connections, you need to use them for making your business better. Set goals to help you achieve these connections. After all, marketing on social media can bring significant success to your company, create brand advocates and even drive leads and sales.
The key ingredient for doing social media marketing well is having a strategy. Without a strategy, you might be posting on social media platforms for the sake of posting. Without understanding what your goals are, who your target audience is, and what they want, it’ll be hard to achieve results on social media. Whether you want to grow your brand through social media or to level up as a social media marketer, developing a social media marketing strategy is essential.
From ads to regular posting, social media is different for every business.
And, it doesn’t matter if your business is large or small, what works for one may, or may not, work for another. However, there are some key elements and directions your social networks can, and should, have. Here is a quick list of things to make sure you are doing on your chosen social networks.
The problem most businesses face with social media isn’t whether or not to participate, but how to take advantage of it. Social media should be used to tell your business story and set yourself apart from all of your competition. Brand storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to differentiate yourself, connect with your customers, increase brand loyalty and sell your vision.
Without a social networking strategy, you might be posting on social just for the sake of posting. And, without understanding what your goals are, who is your target audience and what they want, it is hard to achieve positive results.
“Social media provides targeting capability, as well as reach and scale, at a lower cost than almost all other marketing channels,” said Abdul Muhammad, chief digital officer and partner at rbb Communications, said in a previous Business News Daily interview. “People are on social media all day, every day – brands must go where the people are.”
Implementing a Social Networking Strategy
Now that you have decided where you want to be, and why, you need the how. A strategy is where you’re headed; a plan is how you’ll get there. You have decided where to head to; now you need a plan. How should you fill out your social media profiles? What should your tone and voice be like? What posts type (i.e., image, link, video, etc.) should you use? Here are some things to consider.
Your brand should be recognizable. So, think about your profile image. While a logo may be where your thinking immediately takes you, try and make something a bit more catchy. Take, for instance, our unique use of our logo. Not only does it let our customers know what our business brand is, but it also tells more of a story about our products and what we can offer to our customers.
Other elements of a business page include a cover photo or video, shared images, about us sections and other storytelling tools. These are necessary for every business while socially networking. Make sure to fill out each network’s page information sections entirely so that your customers can get the whole picture.
Remember to tell the truth. Don’t fudge or exaggerate any of your business details. If a potential client thinks that you offer a service because of your social profile, then make sure they can get that service. The same thing goes for your product. You will end up with upset customers and declining sales if you are not truthful while setting up your new social profile.
As a business, you need to figure out how you want your customers to start engaging on your social network. This will vary depending on which network you choose. So, make sure to learn all of the features your chosen social network offers. This way, you won’t be shocked when your customers start trying to communicate with you.
For example, Facebook has Messenger, which features an easy way to chat with customers and other clients who message you. LinkedIn also has a similar feature. But, when it comes to Snapchat, that changes due to the way they work with stories and other posting methods.
But, most importantly, you need to be responding to your customers. Make sure they know and understand that you are on a social site for them, not for you. Sure, it helps meet sales goals and gets your brand out into the world. But, without proper communication, you won’t retain customers or make any new connections.
Building a Business Community
From Facebook Groups to Twitter chats, tracking your social engagement is a must. There are so many tools to help you navigate using any social media network. Before choosing one, make sure to do your research. They are all similar but remember that each one has different features. While we don’t recommend one above another, we do recommend that you check them out to see what will work best for you and your business.
You can’t determine the success of your social media marketing strategies without tracking data. Finding out what works for you may be trial and error at first, but there are so many tools to help you figure it all out. Use hashtags to keep engagement up. Try different styles of images on Instagram to increase your user participation.
But, no matter what, don’t give up. Follow the analytics of each social network you use so that you can retain information on your business community. You need to know who your customers are in order to give them what they want. Make sure they understand that you know them. Set up a way to give your customers the best customer service they will ever have on any social network. Once you do this, you’re guaranteed success in social networking.
But, no matter what you do, remember that social networking is unique to your business. So, get networking on what works for you.