Gone are the days when marketers solely used to use online business directories and direct mail to market their businesses. Nowadays, everyone wants to get recognized on social media since it’s the fastest, cheapest and most effective marketing mechanism to reach your target audience online.
Facebook, with more than 1.3 billion active users, is still ruling social media world. Twitter now has over 500 million users; on the other hand, LinkedIn boasts more than 300 million accounts. Google+ recently surpassed 1 billion accounts, out of which over 300 million are active. Needless to say, social media has become one-stop destination for the successful marketing of your business.
Let’s take a look at some quick facts, from Social Media Examiner’s 2014 Marketing Industry Report, which show why social media is so important in today’s business scenario to make your brand successful:
- 92%+ of marketers admit that social media is a must-have for their businesses.
- By spending just 6 hours/week, 66%+ of marketers having only one year of experience are generating leads with social me.
- A significant 84%+ of marketers found that social media play a vital role in increasing website traffic tremendously.
- Nearly all marketers, 95%+, said that social media generates market exposure for a business.
- 72%+ marketers found social media useful for developing a loyal fan base and 71%+ use it to gain marketplace intelligence.
- 89%+ of marketers are interested to know the most effective social media marketing tactics and the surefire ways to keep their audiences engaged in social media.
Now, after understanding the power of social media, let’s dive into some great ways you as a business owner or marketer can take full advantage of social media to expose your business online.
1. Identify Your Goals
The first and foremost thing to make the most of social media is to identify from the beginning what you want to achieve: sales, leads, traffic, brand awareness or a loyal community.
Means you must know what audience you most need to reach, how a particular social network works, and what direction you’re going. Once you know what your goals and objectives are, start working toward them sturdily.
2. Create an Effective Social Media Strategy
If you’ve not created a powerful and streamlined social media strategy for your business yet, you’re somehow missing out on game-changing results. To make sure each social platform serves a purpose, keep everything from blog posts to upcoming events in a marketing calendar.
Not only this will help you stay organized, but also let you measure effectiveness of your each social media account. Believe it or not, an integrated social business strategy can turn your ordinary company into a true “social business”.
3. Optimize Social Media Accounts
It’s quite crucial to optimize your all social media accounts for keeping your business visible to both users and search engines. Think of what your audience is looking up in search engines and integrate those keywords in the content of your business’ page or profile.
Additionally, optimizing your social postings with Hashtags that go with your business also increases your chances of being found.
4. Share Awesome Content Consistently
This is the most important principle among all mentioned in this list, regardless of which platform you intend to use. Whether it be a blog post or Facebook status, content is still king and will always be.
So make sure that you’re producing high-quality and original content, not only for your business website or blog but also on your social media accounts. Be thoughtful and don’t be a Copycat, your audience will surely notice you.
5. Be Authentic
Let your audience know who you are and make them feel you care about them. Don’t just throw up a link to your blog post, thinking someone will click on it to read. Instead, be human and be yourself.
Link your social media profiles to your website and vice-versa, so people can know about your business easily. Also, ask your existing loyal clients to write compelling reviews on your social media profiles. The more authentic you are, the more people will connect to you.
6. Understand What They Want
Understanding who your fans are, what they need, what they believe in and what topics they love to read helps you understand whatever you’re offering them is worthy or not. Before you start posting something on social media, search what people are talking about.
Who’s requesting for solutions to a problem, what terms are they using to explain a problem and how can you assist them, keep an eye on all these things to give them everything they want.
7. Give them a Reason to Connect With You
Give your social media fans a solid reason to “Like” you on Facebook and “Follow” you on Twitter or Google+. Instead of asking them to like or follow you, tell them why and how they should connect with you.
Avoid using statements such as “Like us on Facebook” and “Follow us on Twitter”, because such calls to action indicate that you are flattering them. Notice the hidden difference between these two phrases: “Like us on Facebook” vs. “Get your questions answered on our Facebook page”.
8. Run Contests and Giveaways
Contests and Giveaways are great ways to bring more attention to social media pages of your business. Not only they make your social media pages more likeable but also boost fan engagement, drive more sales and encourage new people to connect with you.
Additionally, they play a vital role in getting people to sign up for your email list. So try to run a contest or giveaway on a regular basis to delight your customers.
9. Offer Special Deals
There is no doubt that “everyone loves to grab special offers & deals”. If your fans know you’re in a habit of releasing hot deals frequently, chances are they will check out your social media profiles more frequently, and also will tell their friends to connect with you to grab upcoming deals.
Therefore, show some appreciation to your fans and make them feel that you’ve something special “just for them”. Try to be a specialist in offering “limited-time discount deals”
10. Add Social Icons to Your Emails
Before you send out emails, make sure you’ve included social icons linking to all of your social networking profiles. This will likely to evoke people’s curiosity in checking out your business’ page/profile and consequently, your website. In fact, this is one of the best tactics to grow your presence on social media and drive more traffic to your business’ website.
11. Interconnect Your Social Accounts
Linking your social media accounts to each other is beneficial for your business in two ways: first, it strengthens customer loyalty and second, it helps you find new followers.
If you interconnect your social accounts, social network users will be able to find all your social media accounts easily. So it’s highly recommended to connect your social accounts together.
12. Interact with Everyone
If you want to keep your fans engaged, you must talk with them. Whenever someone posts something on your social media pages, respond to them as soon as possible. This will make them feel that you read everything they post and listen to whatever they want to say.
Ask them questions and you’ll be surprised to know almost everyone of them is responding to your questions. Remember, social media is not about promoting yourself; it’s all about having a meaningful conversation with others.
13. Analyze Reports Regularly
To understand what kind of things your followers like the most, analyze your social media reports on a regular basis. This will not only help you stay on top of latest social media trends, but also will let you know if the content you’re sharing is really valuable.
If you found the content you’ve shared has not worked, then try a new type of content. Also refine your social media strategy, if necessary.
14. Use Hash-tags Carefully
Hashtags are very popular nowadays, but not everyone knows how to use them. No doubt they are very useful to bring more and more people onto your website/blog or social network profiles, but not using them properly can have a negative impact on your reputation on social networks.
So try to optimize your social postings with popular hashtags relevant to your brand, instead of just finishing a social post with irrelevant hash-tags
15. Test and Learn
Try and test new things – like videos, pictures, podcast or Infographics – to capture new users and see what generates outstanding results. Once you understand what your audience is interested in, you can go from zero to billion fans. Remember, the more you test, the more you will learn and the more expert you’ll be.