If you’re currently executing an online marketing strategy to get the word out about your business, you’ve probably signed up for a Facebook or Twitter account in order to increase your reach. You’ve no doubt heard from many different sources that you absolutely must have a social media presence these days in order to reach potential customers. And while having a Facebook page and a Twitter account is certainly recommended, it takes a little know-how in order to run an effective social media campaign.
Here are 10 points to keep in mind as you try to expand your brand through social media:
1. The Key is Conversation
How many Twitter feeds have you seen where it sounds like a robot is just spitting out advertisements? This kind of approach is not effective. It’s the easy thing to do. You have a sale you want people to know about. You have a new product you want to get out there. You should absolutely spread the word, but that shouldn’t be the only thing you use your social media accounts for. Spend most of your time in active engagement with your customers. Encourage dialogue. Talk to people even when you don’t have a promotion running.
2. Don’t Spam
Don’t Tweet constantly. Use social media sparingly and try to post during high traffic periods of the day (between 11am and 5pm). This way you’re not flooding your followers with messages and there is an increased chance of your Tweets being seen by large swaths of people.
3. Not All Social Networks are the Same
Simply put, Facebook and Twitter have different uses. While it may make sense to share pictures and write detailed descriptions of a product on Facebook, Twitter is all about the art of getting heard in an ongoing conversation. Many Tweets go unread, unfortunately. Try and incorporate trending hashtags in your Tweets to get more attention. Make it short and snappy, complete with a link to your site.
4. Make Sure You Know Why Hashtags are Trending
This is a natural follow up to point 3 and is absolutely essential to keep in mind from a PR perspective. Whatever you do, make sure you understand the origins of a hashtag. We've all seen the horror stories of clueless businesses incorporating a hashtag that is being used to track breaking news that is deadly serious. Do not come off as insensitive. There will be backlash.
5. Have a Voice
You want to come off like a human being in your social media posts. Yes, you want people to buy your product. But you should give people a reason to pay attention to you. Be funny. Occasionally link to things that have nothing to do with your business, but people will find entertaining. You really can't go wrong with cat videos. It brings in the viewers.
6. Create to Share
Offer content that people will want to share. Go ahead and log into Facebook. What is your news feed filled with? You probably see a ton of pictures and memes that have been shared from some kind of fan page, right? Strive to offer your community something similar. The more you can get your content shared, the greater your exposure.
7. Run Promotions
People love contests, sales, etc. Run them through your Facebook or Twitter account. Give out secret sale codes they can use at checkout. Offer prizes to people who share a lot of your content. Make people want to see what you're up to.
8. Have Goals
Don't link to a hundred different things all over your site. Choose one or two things you want to go after this month, and then target your social media towards it. Are you looking to clear out certain parts of your inventory? Focus on getting the word out about it and running promotions encouraging people to buy them.
9. Keep at It
Unfortunately, like with all things, success is not immediate. You'll have to put in the time to build up a following. You might only have a handful of people following your accounts at first and that's okay. By creating great content and engaging with other groups, you'll attract people to your page. Just keep at it.
10. Have Fun with It
Yes, you're running a business. But interacting with customers can be rewarding and even fun. Chat with people in your industry, share the funny videos. The more natural your social media presence looks, the better the result you'll get. Don't feel like it's a chore.