How to Market Your Business Using Social Media
by Jamie Duncan
As mentioned in our previous post, the value of social media cannot be understated. It has become central to millions of people’s daily lives: it is a portal to stay informed of news and trends, communicating with friends (and making new ones), collaborating with colleagues, networking with like-minded individuals and businesses, and even communicating with brands / companies – how many times have you seen a disgruntled customer channel their anger towards a company’s social media account, for instance?
Many companies are a bit too gung ho in their approach to using social media. Anyone can easily set up personal or business pages, but they’ll likely stumble as they do not know how to effectively use them. Managing and leveraging social media can be a full time job – just do a Google search for “Social Media Manager” and you’ll see hundreds of vacancies!
But let’s focus on the positives – how social media can help raise awareness of your business and ultimately lead to increased sales.
Social media marketing is an integral part of top businesses’ marketing strategies in this new digital age. Research has shown that consumers are more likely to trust businesses with a social media presence – it’s simply the norm.
So, what the heck do I need to do?
Develop a Social Media Strategy
Firstly, you need to think about what exactly you’re going to use social media for, and how it relates to your business. Do you want to:
- Drive traffic to your website?
- Network with professionals in your industry?
- Promote your products / special offers and run competitions? Do you want to engage with the community, get feedback, or use it for customer service?
The possibilities are endless, as is the scale and reach of social media. DO NOT underestimate what it can do for your business.
But there are so many!
That’s right – there are so many social media sites out there (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google Plus to name a few). You’ll need to consider exactly which social media accounts fit your business. Take an online clothing store for example: As well as making use of Twitter and Facebook to reach the masses and converse with customers, they could use image-based social media sites (such as Pinterest and Instagram) to showcase their new clothing lines and drive traffic to their online store. Topshop is the perfect example of using Pinterest to increase sales –see their recent Christmas campaign to find out exactly what I mean.
Perhaps you want to target businesses (B2B). LinkedIn provides a professional networking platform which allows you to generate leads by:
- Building a company page showcasing your products and services;
- Joining discussion groups related to your industry (or create your own);
- Connecting with like-minded individuals on a personal level.
The thing you’ll need to keep in mind when using LinkedIn is that it is a PROFESSIONAL network and your personal profile, company page and marketing tactics should reflect this. See this in depth guide on using LinkedIn for business.
Be selective in which social media sites to make use of. Remember, the more you have, the more difficult they are to manage. It takes time to build up a presence on social media, so you will be much better off concentrating on a few sites (relevant to your business), as opposed to wasting time building a small and scattered presence on many sites.
Luckily, there are a wealth of tools out there (with free options) to help you manage your social media accounts. I personally make use of Hootsuite, Buffer, and Commun.it, and I am thankful every day for their existence!
Hootsuite is without a doubt my favourite tool for overall social media management. It allows you to easily monitor and manage multiple social media accounts under one roof (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, WordPress and FourSquare). You can:
- Save time by posting messages to all of your social media accounts at once;
- Create streams to easily monitor your timeline / news feed, sent messages and mentions;
- Reply to conversations and messages (my favourite feature);
- Search for specific hashtags and keywords related to your industry (e.g. the name of your business) and monitor the chat associated with it;
- Schedule future posts (though I use Buffer for this)
Buffer is my social media management tool of choice for scheduling my Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus posts. This allows me to easily line up, or “Buffer”, multiple posts to all of my social networks at specified times, days in advance. It’s an extremely useful tool, enabling me to get on with my other work while Buffer automatically posts my content. I often schedule a week’s worth of posts in one go, and it only takes a few minutes. It even recommends the best time to post on each social network for optimal reach. Bliss.
The best way to describe Commun.it is a CRM (Client Relationship Management) system for Twitter. It’s a clever little system which makes community management easy:
- It highlights your key relationships (High-Value Members), categorised as Influencers, Supporters and Engaged Members;
- Segregates your followers and conversations so you can easily reply to those who have tweeted you, re-engage with followers you’ve not conversed with for a while, suggests users to follow, and shows all new followers (and un-followers);
- Allows you to monitor multiple keywords e.g. your business name;
- Automatically produces “leads” in the form of suggested followers related to your industry;
- Allows you to categorise your followers into separate groups.
Now take what you’ve learned and get out into the wonderful world of social media. Remember, you’ve got to develop a social media STRATEGY:
- Consider your objectives – what exactly are you going to use social media for?
- Choose the right social media accounts for your business.
- Write a communications plan and stick to it – when are you going to post and how often?
- Have a wealth of good content available to share – blog posts, videos, images, news.
- And finally, USE THE SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT TOOLS AVAILABLE to make your life easier.
Well I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article – remember you can subscribe to my blog to keep up with the latest on digital marketing. If you want to get in touch, drop me an email or connect with JD Business Marketing’s social media accounts.
Also published on Medium.