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It’s no secret that social media has taken over the world.  People of all ages have joined the social network, and businesses and advertisers are seeing the value in this.  If social media sites are where all the eyeballs are going, why wouldn’t you take your business there as well?  Facebook and Twitter are working on implementing more and more ways for advertisers to jump in and make a profit each day.  Other networking sites will follow suit.

The businesses that jump on board and fully take advantage of the opportunities social networking offers are the ones that will not only survive but thrive in this new socially connected day and age.  Not sure how to navigate these platforms or implement social media into your marketing plan?  The following explains how to successfully build your brand with social media and some tools that will help you in the process. If you don’t believe social media will help your business, watch the video below for some case studies.  We’re sure you’ll keep reading…

1.) Create a Social Media Presence

If you don’t already have social media accounts for your business, setup is clearly your first step.  You need to create profiles on the larger networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn, as well as any other social network that is relevant to your industry.  In terms of SEO, the more accounts you can register and continually update, the better.  Hundreds of sites exist, and each has a different purpose and audience.  You can find a list of the most popular websites as well as a brief description of their purpose and users here.

Some sites, like Facebook, have a variety of profile options.  For example, Facebook has Personal Profile Pages, Group Pages, and Like Pages.  When starting a page for your business, it is vital that you set up a Like Page.  (A Like Page must be connected to a Personal Profile.)  As opposed to Personal Pages and Group Pages, a Like Page provides you with analytics on how many people you are reaching as well as a “Like” button, which can improve search engine optimization.  The more people that click the “Like” button for your page or for an individual post, the higher your Facebook page will rank in search engines.

2.) Branding

Branding is an important step in setting up accounts for your business.  Keeping your avatar or profile picture consistent across all of these platforms will start the branding process.  Most social media websites also allow you to customize your profiles and backgrounds for further branding.  You might consider hiring a designer to help you brand some of these platforms.

Facebook provides the option to have extra interactive tabs on your page, similar to that of a website.  Tabs can also be used to brand your profile, tell visitors more about you, and provide information about specials and promotions.

3.) Establish a Voice

Before posting updates to your accounts, monitor other users’ interactions and decide what type of voice your company will have.  Each platform has a different feel.  For instance, since Twitter posts are only 140 characters, they are short and to the point.  Facebook posts, on the other hand, tend to be more personal.

Think of your business’s social media voice as your business’s personality, rather than a press release.  Social media sites give you the opportunity to interact with consumers on a more personal level.  Instead of using your posts as a way to make formal announcements about your company, make it sound as if status updates are coming from an actual person.  What subjects will you focus on that are relevant to your industry, and how will you make them interesting and engaging for your audience?

4.) Interact

People are talking about your brand whether you are a part of the conversation or not.  Social media not only allows you to join the conversation, but it also allows you to take control of the situation.  By participating, you can guide the conversation in different directions and quickly address any unfavorable comments.

On top of this, if social media is going to be an effective part of your marketing campaign, you must consistently update your accounts and interact with users.  Many people think that if they create a social media account for their business, the followers will automatically come.  This couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Building a following takes regular updates and interaction with other users.

Make an effort to reach out to your followers as well as non-followers.  Interact with users on a personal level instead of constantly pushing for a sale.  If you establish a relationship with a follower, it’s likely that they will eventually turn into a customer.

Reach out to users with both large and small followings.  Catching the attention of a user with a large following may give you more publicity; however, it is more difficult to do.  On the other hand, a message sent to a user with a smaller following is more likely to get a response.

There are a variety of third party programs that can help you manage your conversations with followers.  Tweet Deck is a great tool for interacting, and Hootsuite is another free tool for interacting, scheduling, and tracking updates.

5.) Manage Accounts

Tracking your success and measuring interaction on each account is a vital part of marketing with social media.  While some platforms provide free tracking, other platforms require you to purchase applications or software programs.  In addition, staying on top of each social media account, providing continual updates, and interacting with other users can eat up a lot of time.  You may consider outsourcing your social media work.  Some things to consider:

  • How well are you managing and growing your accounts on your own?
  • How much time will you free up by hiring someone else to take care of your social media marketing?
  • How are you measuring your ROI?  Tracking your progress with your social media accounts enables you to formulate a plan to continually grow your social media marketing campaign.  Consider investing in an application or program that can help you do this, such as Sprout Social, or outsourcing your efforts to a company that is capable of tracking and optimizing each account.

 

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CEO|CEO/President of Eyeflow Internet Marketing.

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