Social media is much more than free advertising. It’s about building relationships. You get the chance to be part of the lives of clients and customers—a welcome presence and a trusted source for quality goods and services.
But of course, the platforms for social media are varied and ever-expanding. It’s easy to lose your way.
How can I navigate social media?
Follow these 7 basic steps to develop a social media presence for your business.
1. Decide what you want.
Your business can use social media for many purposes:
- Establishing brand identity
- Finding new customers
- Building relationships with clients
- Creating a community of customers
- Featuring promotionals
- Getting real-time market feedback
- Funneling folks to your online store
- Improving conversion rates
- Increasing sales
Write down your business goals for social media. Beside each goal, note a metric that you can use to check success. For example, if you want to find new customers, you can trace increases in your customer database, or if you want to feature promotionals, you can track real-time responses to special offers on social media.
2. Research your competition.
See what others in your field do with social media. Discover which apps they use, and what they do with those apps. For example, a Facebook presence is often used for gathering a community of customers who want to find out about new offers, while a Twitter account might be more about conversations within the broader community, reaching beyond the customer base.
Find out what hashtags are most popular in your business area and who the main influencers are.
You’ll discover some excellent strategies that you can emulate and some less-than-successful approaches that you can avoid. You’ll also gain a clearer sense of what you can accomplish with social media.
3. Research different platforms.
Hootsuite has compiled a list of the major apps, providing demographic information for all of them. Start your research there.
Also, remember the format of the different apps. TikTok specializes in short, entertaining videos with a quirky attitude. That might not feel like the best fit for the corporate image that you want to project, but if you can find a “fun” side to your brand, you can reach a whole new audience of Gen Z customers.
Quality of social media is more important than quantity. Choose two or three platforms that you can manage, and devote yourself to creating a strong, consistent presence on them.
4. Set up accounts.
Provide your company logo and key information. Use whatever taglines fit best with your brand image. Try to create a personable voice that invites interaction with your business.
Once you have set up accounts on various platforms, connect them. Get your Pinterest pages to link to your Facebook community. Use Twitter posts to funnel people to your YouTube content. Create a network of resources.
5. Provide value.
You won’t get far if you simply try to sell products. You need to provide something that people want.
Social media users want to be entertained, to connect with family and friends, to fill spare time, and to keep up with current events. Your posts therefore should be fun, topical, and interesting–worthwhile beyond just a sales pitch.
Be genuine. Be friendly. Be welcoming. Provide a human face for your business.
Do these things, and people will connect with you on social media. Then you need to reciprocate. Answer questions. Point to helpful resources. Offer coupon codes. Build relationships.
Mention users in your comments, and connect to other influencers in your space. They will likely reciprocate, driving more traffic to you. Build a community.
Repeated light touches on your audience establish brand awareness and trust. Until people know who you are and what you do, you can’t do much business with them. Also, the more you connect, the more the algorithms will connect you.
7. Assess and readjust.
Review your social media goals and the metrics you identified for measuring success. Which goals are you reaching? Which are falling short? What strategies and platforms work best?
Continue what is working, and try some new strategies to shore up the weaker spots. And realize that your approach to social media will continue to evolve, just as social media does.