December 2, 2019 | Article | by Allison Gross | Social Media
Top 9 Effective Social Media Tips For Businesses
Social media is one of the best ways to continually connect with current customers and establish trust and build relationships with potential customers. If you don’t have a presence on the main social media networks, you’re missing out on one of the easiest ways to connect to an audience that’s ready to learn about your brand. Learn about the critical components of a social media marketing strategy, how to create and manage a social content calendar, and other effective social media tips for businesses!
1. Don’t overlook the value of social media marketing.
Let’s be real. Times are changing, and quickly. It was only a few years ago when TV, print, and radio dominated the marketing landscape. Today, digital is dominating, and if you don’t have a digital presence, you’re bound to get left in the dust.
If you (or your boss) believes social media is not an integral part of your marketing plan, you’re in for a wake-up call. Although social media can be commonly stereotyped as something for Millenials and the younger generations, social media use is on the rise for people of all ages. In fact, the fastest growing demographic on Facebook is 45-54 year-olds (Gen X). Among Baby Boomers (55-75 year-olds), connectivity continues to rise as 82% of Baby Boomers have at least one social media account, with an average of 5.1 social media accounts (with Facebook and LinkedIn as the leading platforms).
Generations aside, there are different demographics you can target across social media. Trying to target those with higher incomes? 75% of adults who make over $75,000 use Facebook. Have the perfect product for teens? Gen Z-ers (16-21 year-olds) in the US spend an estimated $143 billion a year, a total which surprisingly does NOT include the money spent on Gen Z by parents or the money they indirectly influence their households to spend.)
2. Be SMART when developing an effective social media marketing strategy.
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” If you don’t have a social media marketing strategy, chances are you’re just posting and hoping. But hoping for what exactly?
The first step to creating an effective social media strategy is to establish clear objectives and goals. If you don’t have clearly defined (and realistic) goals or KPIs, you have no way to measure success. Social metrics can turn into vanity metrics when they don’t align with your business objectives. Therefore, a great rule of thumb for your social media marketing strategy is for each of your goals to be SMART:
Make sure your SMART social media goals align with your overall marketing strategy. That way, it is easier to demonstrate your return on investment (ROI). Social media marketing is no different from any other marketing channel and the impact of your efforts should be tracked and measured properly.
3. Define your target audience.
Social media channels make it simple to find and connect with your target audience. However, if you have a true understanding of who your target audience is, your results will reflect that. No matter how “cool” you think your social posts and ads are, if you’re using the wrong buyer personas, you’re likely missing the target. After all, how are your posts going to provide any value to your audience if you are reaching the wrong audience?
Being broad or all-inclusive may seem like a way to simplify your social media marketing strategy, but it’s a sure fire way to waste time, energy, and money. Social media personalization is one of the best ways to stand out from the rest of the crowd. As Buffer states, “social media personalization isn't really about your content — or how big your budget is — what really matters is the way you communicate with your audience. People on social media want to be seen as individuals with their own likes, habits, and personalities.”
So, do the work. Define the buyer persona(s) and then identify the different demographics or types of people (based on age, gender, location, interests, behaviors) and execute your campaigns in a personalized manner.
4. Create and manage a social content calendar.
Once you’ve developed a social media marketing strategy and defined your target audience(s), it’s time to start posting the right content to your social channels! It's easy to get caught up when managing multiple social media accounts, so staying organized is key. The best way to stay organized with your social media marketing strategy is to work within a social content calendar.
A social content calendar is a social roadmap that helps you plan and schedule all your social content in advance. Social content calendars are great because they’re highly shareable and can be used across different teams and departments. Social content calendars are a visual layout of what’s in store for the month and they allow you to stick to a consistent posting schedule.
5. Post with purpose.
The most engaging types of social content tend to fall into six categories: Entertainment, Inspiration, Education, Conversation, Connection, and Promotion. It is best practice to include each type in your social content calendar every month. When ideating social posts for your upcoming social content calendar, a great question to ask yourself is: what is the purpose behind this post? Is it to entertain, educate, or promote? Asking yourself this question will guarantee a nice balance of social posts for your target audience to engage with.
With so many ideas (or maybe not enough) posting with a purpose can become overwhelming. If you’re wondering where to start, sometimes the best place is simply to be equipped with the knowledge of what not to do.
Social Media Mistakes to Avoid
Inconsistent posting. Posting daily can be a daunting task, but the easiest way to spot a brand that doesn’t have a handle on their social media is by looking at the dates. If you’re posting a ton of content one week, then there is radio silence another, you’re being inconsistent and your target audience can see it. Begin with posting a quarter of the days in a month (or every three days) and work your way up to posting every other day or daily.
Making it all about you or being too salesy. How much do you like hanging out with people that only talk about themselves? It’s kind of annoying, right? Only posting about your newest product or your latest sale is a quick way to lose followers. The biggest tip we can give you is to make it about them. Social media is for socializing, after all. Use your social channels to humanize your brand and create content for your audience, not for yourself. Humanizing your brand is an effective way to build trust, and trust is a key component to a sale. Balance your social content calendar so that it’s comprised with 20-30% sales posts and 70-80% lifestyle posts.
Forgetting User Generated Content (UGC). Social proof is everything in the world of digital marketing. When you go to purchase something on Amazon, where do you go first? Most people go to the reviews and then perhaps scroll to actual photos from other users, right? This is because we crave social proof to ensure ourselves that our purchase is as advertised. User Generated Content comes in many forms, but the best types of UGC to incorporate into your social content calendar are reviews and testimonials, as well as photos or videos created by other users. (Just be sure to ask permission first, and give credit where credit is due!)
Leaving something out. We live in a visual world where we need context. Use poor imagery, and your audience will scroll on by. Forget to include copy in your caption and your audience has no idea what the point of your post was. Provide a CTA where necessary and don’t leave your social posts unfinished.
Posting only images or posting only blog links. Mix it up! Different people enjoy different types of content. Where some people enjoy imagery, others prefer to do a little more research. Be sure to keep people engaged on your social channel while giving them a chance to visit your website from time to time too!
6. Listen (and respond) to your audience.
Your social media posts are pointless if no one interacts with them. Your images, videos, and blogs should be designed to intrigue your audience and elicit some type of engagement or conversation with them. When a person responds to your content with a comment, find a way to engage with them. Liking their comment is a simple way to say “I see you” (and really the least you should do), but responding to them is even better! Where applicable, start a conversation with those who comment and you will find that those simple interactions are the stepping stones towards building a relationship and creating trust.
Let’s face it. Negative comments about your brand are the worst. But trying to hide, delete, or ignore them does not make the issue go away. Most people just want to feel heard and understood, so instead of dreading these negative comments, turn the negative into a positive by demonstrating your stellar customer service skills. Address the negative feedback by thanking them for bringing the issue to your attention without being defensive. Then let them know you’re taking it seriously by offering a solution, even if it’s just inviting them to talk their issue out with a customer service representative.
Just remember, others are watching. And sometimes these negative comments or reviews, if addressed properly, can boost your brand.
7. Forgetting analytics.
If you really want to see results on social media, the first stop is to set up reporting and dive into monthly analytics. The good news is that each social channel really has built-in analytics! For example, Facebook’s Insights feature provides you with an overview of how your social content performed, complete with statistics about who your audience is, when they’re interacting, and more! Facebook Insights provides you with powerful data regarding your reach and engagement, helping you fine-tune your social strategy. Facebook also allows you to place a pixel (or code) on your website. The Facebook Pixel “collects data that helps you track conversions from Facebook ads, optimize ads, build targeted audiences for future ads, and remarket to people who have already taken some kind of action on your website.”
Google Analytics is also a great resource for traffic-based analytics and reporting. Using UTM tracking “offers an unparalleled level of accuracy and detail when you’re tracking your traffic.” Ensure you’re using proper tracking when executing social campaigns that drive traffic back to your website so you have full insights into the performance of those campaigns.
8. Say “no” to fake followers.
Not only is it obvious when a brand (or an influencer) has purchased their followers, it’s bad for business for multiple reasons. First, if Instagram’s algorithm catches on, they may shut down your account altogether and you could lose all your hard work. Secondly, fake followers negatively impact your engagement. They distort your true results and blur any potential insights you may gain from your reporting and analytics.
Bottom line: spam-bots are not your friend. Paying for followers is a quick fix for something that’s not really a problem. Stay authentic and the real followers will come.
9. Learn from your mistakes and try, try again!
Listen, we’re human. We are prone to making mistakes. The mistakes are not the problem. The problem lies in not learning from your mistakes.
Did you execute a social campaign that performed poorly? Look at the results and try to find where it went wrong.
Sometimes, as brands, we promote our products and services as WE want our customers and potential customers to see them, and not how THEY want to see them. Perhaps the “problem” is much simpler. Maybe you’re focusing on the quantity of posts over their quality. Maybe you’re trying to be on every social channel when there are only two that deserve your focus. Maybe you’ve forgotten about all of the different buyer personas and have only focused on one. Just remember, the only true mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.