How to Grow Your Business With Social Media

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How to Grow Your Business With Social Media

Every second, five new FaceBook accounts are created.

Social media can have a profound impact on your business, regardless of its size. Millions of people use social media platforms every day. More than 70% of all Americans have at least one social media profile. You are missing a great business opportunity if social media isn’t a key component of your online strategy.

Back to Basics

Companies around the world have already recognized and embraced social media as a very efficient and cost-effective way to drive their business forward. According to Social Media Examiner the top seven social platforms used for business purposes in 2015 were Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram. Every social network requires a different strategic approach and not all of them are right for your business. If social media is new to you, here’s a fast-track primer to orient you around some basic marketing steps:

Define relevant and measurable goals – Aligning your social media goals to your overall business and marketing goals is the first step. Defining relevant and measurable goals is a crucial part of any planning process. Identifying your goals up front,  will help you develop the right strategy and effective action steps.  Your goals should represent what you expect to accomplish in the near future. You’ll also want to identify key performance indicators so that you can measure your success, make adjustments where necessary and stay on track.

Define your audience – Using social media is one of the best ways to reach your customers and communicate with them. But first, you have to figure out who they are. Demographics are important. Knowing basic information such as age, gender, location, education, income level and occupation can be very helpful when identifying your target customers.

Psychographics are just as important as demographics for creating an effective social media strategy. Demographics explain “who” your buyer is, while psychographics explain “why” they buy. What are your customers’ likes and dislikes? What are their values? What kind of lifestyle do they lead? What are their interests and hobbies? Answers to these questions can help you determine the  lifestyle, social class and personality characteristics of your customers. After defining your audience you can create key marketing messages appropriate for every group targeted.

Understand how each social media platform works – There are so many social media platforms you can use to promote your business. However, not all are created equal. Before you spread yourself too thin, remember that it would take a lot of time and effort to maintain an online presence on every one of them. So, consider the advantages and disadvantages of each social network and choose the ones that best fit your business strategy.

Answering the following questions about each network can help you determine what platforms are best suited for your business.

  • What is the unique purpose of this platform?
  • Does its attributes relate to your business’s needs?
  • Which target audience does this platform serve?
  • How much time and effort is necessary to have the best impact ?

How to boost engagement on your social media platforms?

After selecting the best social media platforms for promoting your business, you’ll want to find the best way to engage with your audience so that you are successful with your social media goals. Here are several tips you can use to successfully engage your customers and promote your business through social media:

Provide value. People use social networks to connect with friends and family, not a business. So, if you want to connect and engage with a social media user you need to provide value. It is important to create content that promotes your business and benefits your followers. This means your posts have to be interesting, up-to-date, relevant to your readers and related to your business.

Following the one-in-seven rule can be practical. This rule implies that only one of every seven posts is used for your business promotion. The remaining six should be focused on sharing content that is useful, educational and informative.

Use conversation-starters creatively. Engaging the audience on social media isn’t easy. Sometimes you are simply out of fresh ideas on how to spark conversation with your visitors. In these situations try using the following conversation starters to break the ice and get your audience start talking:

  • Ask questions. Asking your followers direct question may stimulate your audience and get you some answers. But, if you want to turn small talk into a real conversation you will have to use all your creative skills.
    • Use an image or interesting graphic to ask a question rather than plain text.
    • Ask a question with multiple-choice answers instead of simple yes or no question.
    • Keep in mind that the conversation doesn’t always need to be business-oriented. Sometimes the best way is to keep it light.
  • Share information. Share breaking news in your industry as it happens, important statistic or inspiring quote from an industry leader. This way you can establish yourself as an expert in your industry and and be seen as a source of relevant information.

Try to connect with your visitors on a more personal level by being informal and sharing a personal story or testimonial. Be funny. Share a funny video from another source or post funny meme picture. The possibilities are endless; take advantage of every opportunity you get and don’t be afraid to take some risks along the way too.

  • Promote your business. Long, boring text about your products or services won’t make the cut here. Think outside the box.
    • Post a video about how your products work.
    • Ask for feedback on your services.
    • Provide special deals and offers.
    • Hold Q&A sessions.
    • Create content that your visitors find useful and informative rather than overly promotable.
  • Respond quickly. When people post comments, especially negative ones on your social media sites, respond promptly and efficiently. They expect fast answers so try to reply within one hour. Over 70% of consumers who experience quick brand response on social media are more likely to recommend that brand to others.
  • Post regularly. Defining a posting schedule and frequency that is in line with your industry and audience’s viewing habits is very important to achieving success and consistency is key. How often should you post? What is the optimal amount to post per day? These are the questions social media newcomers most want answered. Research shows that the best practices for social media posting frequency are :
  • Facebook – 2 times per day
  • Twitter – 3 times per day or more
  • LinkedIn – 1 time per day, Monday through Friday
  • Google+ – 3 times per day
  • Instagram – 1 time per day or more
  • Pinterest -5 times per day or more

Conclusion

Social media has fundamentally changed the way companies communicate with customers. It has become a valuable tool for the overall success of any company. By identifying your goals, choosing the most effective platforms for your industry and audience and distributing relevant content, social media can help your business thrive, boost your search engine rankings and drive targeted traffic to your website.

If you are a late adopter of social media marketing and haven’t yet recognized the value of social media to business, now is the time to catch up. It is better late than never.

Want to Learn More About How Your Brand Can Succeed on Social Media?

If you want to join the ranks of successful brands on on social media, give us a call or shoot us an email.  We are happy to provide a complimentary strategy session to help you get started.

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Jillian Vanarsdall
Jillian Vanarsdall
Founder of Blue Iris Marketing. An inbound marketing agency assisting businesses, from start-ups to high-growth firms, to phenomenally tell their unique story in a noisy digital world. Our services include inbound marketing, Wordpress web design and development, SEO, and social media.

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