Today, businesses must have a strong presence on the main social media channels, like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, leading the way. There are others, like Pinterest and Snapchat that also make sense for some brands to participate on. Social media provides a platform to not only grow your brand, but also drives sales and revenue.
Not every business owner is a social media master though, and to someone that isn’t active on the platforms daily, it can be a very overwhelming situation. Social media doesn’t have to be intimidating nor difficult, as long as you have a grasp on the basics. To help, here are five essential tips to help you succeed on social media.
- Map out a social media marketing plan in advance.
The biggest mistake a lot of business owners make is not having a plan and just blindly posting content across social media. Without a strategy mapped out you lack specific campaign goals and a way to track your performance.
“Using a scheduling tool like Hootsuite is the easiest way to plan in advance,” suggests Jim Rafferty, CEO of Wabash Power. “If you carve out a few hours you can import an entire campaign that will take you through the next month. This allows you to think of a solid plan and not just fly by the seat of your pants daily.” You should also make sure each campaign has a clearly identified goal, whether it’s gaining email subscribers or generating direct purchases.
- Focus on engagement and brand building rather than selling.
Social media gives you direct access to a massive audience, but that doesn’t mean you should jam offers down their throat. “Social media gives you access to so much quality attention, and it’s a great environment for building brand awareness,” advises David Sessford, Managing Director at Ready Steady Sell.
Use social media as a platform to inform and educate, and when you do that correctly you will build trust and relationships that translate into sales, brand supporters, and repeat customers. Consumers are constantly flooded with direct offers, so stand out by making a solid connection without a hard-sell at first.
- Be consistent and understand it’s a long-term strategy.
A lot of people post on social media for a couple weeks and then declare that it doesn’t work for their particular business. They fail because they give up much too soon. You can’t expect to experience results from social media right away. It takes being consistent over a long period of time before you will see social media pay off.
You can experience huge gains if just a single social media post receives the right attention and goes viral, but that may take months before you are able to experience what that type of traction can provide. You will need to consistently post content and learn what your target audience engages with in order to plan and adjust.
- Create an authentic brand voice on social media.
If you look at the companies that perform very well on social media you will see that they let their personality shine. “Look at Wendy’s Twitter for example. They are the perfect example of how a brand can use its voice on social media to create raving supporters and generate interest in what they offer without just posting blatant advertisements throughout their feed,” says Chris Dziak, CEO of Pure Nootropics.
Now, you don’t have to turn your social media feed into jokes and comedy, but it is important to let your personality show, whether it’s sarcastic or serious. When you do this correctly and engage with your followers in an authentic manner it constantly strengthens your brand’s voice.
- Always analyze the analytical data available to you.
There is so much free data available within each social media’s network for business profiles. “From Twitter analytics to Facebook reach stats and Instagram’s insights that are available for business profiles, you can easily see what is working, what isn’t, and then adjust in order to drastically improve your results,” suggests Michael Plaza, CEO of Compare the Financial Markets.
Commit to spending 10 to 15 minutes looking at your social media analytics every couple of days and you will quickly learn how to navigate through the data and understand it. It will take some time, but the self-education is worth it once you learn how to optimize and pivot in order to experience improved results.