Are you using social media to expand your online presence? Would you like to grow your reach in a thoughtful and meaningful way? With the explosive growth of social media as a marketing tool, moving beyond traditional marketing is a must. Gone are the days of marketing silos. Today a business must maintain an integrated and cross-channel marketing strategy to succeed. Social media offers you that ability. If you’re eager to build a substantial social media presence that supports sustainability, the steps below will help you get there.
6 Steps to Improve Your Social Media Presence
1. Identify Goals and Objectives
Have you identified why you’re on social media? If not, success will always feel out of reach. Take the time to know what you hope to gain from social media and what you have to offer. It’s a noisy online world. The last thing you need to do is to simply hop on without a clear appreciation of your overall goals. The best way to do this is to spell out your goals and objectives. In other words, what are you looking to gain and why is it important to your business? Use a worksheet like the one below from Exact Target to get specific. Clearly state your “what” and “why" and don’t get caught up in the how just yet. The important part of this process is to analyze and brainstorm.
2. Humanize Your Business or Brand
Social media has the amazing ability to humanize your brand. You can put a face, voice and personality behind your online persona. While there's no replacement for face-to-face relationship building, social media can give consumers the insight they need to connect with your business online. The key to successfully showing people the human side of your business is to offer unique insight.
How can you do this?
- Share exclusive features about your business
- Events in your local community
- Behind the scenes pictures of your team
- Stories about your “why” and what it means to customers
- How you solve customer problems
- What customers can expect from you and your company
- Share your thoughts on trending topics within your industry
- Sign your tweets or posts
Social Media Examiner uses that last tactic consistently. Whoever is responding or posting signs their name. This lets you know that there's a real person behind that content.
17 Reasons You Need to Rethink Your Facebook Strategy http://t.co/TcdwwfdqEt by @Hootsuite - Erik pic.twitter.com/ScdYssHgMF— SocialMediaExaminer (@smexaminer) July 20, 2014
People want to do business with people. They also want to do business with people they know, like and trust. Give them the chance to get to know you and the human side of your brand.
3. Understand Your Audience Needs
Whether you’re marketing to consumers or business professionals, share the details that matter most to them. From common everyday solutions to detailed instructions, take your knowledge and translate it into useable and valuable social media content. Want to know who your target market is and what they’re looking for? Use a tool like BuzzSumo to get inside their head. What are they talking about and what content is shared at a rapid pace? Buzzsumo will show you the most popular topics and content based on any given search.
For example, you’re a pet trainer and want to see:
- What your competition is talking about
- What your potential clients are sharing
Run a search based on “how to train my dog” and you now see the top search results based on social shares and relevance.
4. Create an Integrated Social Media Strategy
Social media is not a one-off tactic. Ensure that each of your social properties is tied into your overall marketing strategy. This means that each spoke or social media channel serves a purpose, working together to support a long-term plan.
How to Get Started
Begin with a marketing calendar. From a high level, this will include all company events, activities, awards, special events and other yearly highlights.It will also include research that spells out your upcoming blog and social media content. From there you will detail how each of your social channels will syndicate your content. For example, how will Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram allow you to tap into previously untapped sectors? How often will you post and how will each social site tell your story and allow your online presence to grow?HubSpot's free editorial calendar is a great place to start building your marketing calendar!
5. Engage Your Community (and do it often)
Did you know that seven out of ten consumers prefer to work with a business that has a solid social media presence? Unfortunately for most, the opposite is true. According to a recent survey by Deluxe, 70 percent of small businesses spend less than one hour per week maintaining their online presence, with 51 percent posting to social media only once a month or less. Add to that the fact that over 27 million pieces of content created each day and you have to wonder how your message will break through the noise? While you might be tempted to use social media as a bullhorn, you’d miss the bigger opportunity. Creating an engaged community is a give and take. This means you share your content, other people’s content and then get involved in the conversation. Be proactive, responsive and truly interested. It’s not enough to just be interesting. If you can’t captivate and fascinate, you won’t keep them coming back for more.
Use Social Media To:
6. Optimize Your Social Media Accounts
Don’t overlook the power of social media optimization. Consumers often use keyword-based search queries when researching your product, service or niche. You can immediately increase visibility through the strategic use and placement of keywords within your social media accounts. This doesn’t mean keyword stuffing, but rather an organic and conversational way of letting customers know what you do.
The Goal is To:
- Optimize for human consumption
- Optimize for SEO
- Optimize for SMO
- Optimize based on keywords
Building a powerful social media presence takes time and won't happen overnight. Tweaking your approach isn't enough. You must commit to putting in the energy and hours as well. What steps have you taken to improve your social media efforts and increase your results?
About Rebekah Radice
Rebekah Radice, co-founder of BRIL.LA, has traded narcissism for purpose. When not driving growth, you'll find her tricking family into thinking she's Emeril Lagasse - likely covered in marinara. The spotlight was fun, but impact is better. These days she's using 20+ years of brand brilliance for good.