Capitalize on Your Brand’s Social Media Presence
It’s a rare business that can exist today without some sort of social media presence –that’s how customers expect to find out about products, brands and companies. For small businesses, social media is particularly attractive since it’s usually very affordable and, in many cases, free.
But it’s easy to get overwhelmed. There are so many social media platforms to choose from, and each brings something slightly different to its users. It’s critical to concentrate on the ones your customers are using most.
The Social Media Networks
Here’s how each platform generally works and what types of people use them.
The most popular social network, more than 70 percent of adults in the United States use it. Because of those large numbers, Facebook is useful to building brand awareness, but its appeal among younger people, those aged 18 to 24, is waning.
Twitter tends to be the social site where millions turn to check out what’s immediately happening in the world. But people do use Twitter to take advantage of offers, contests and discounts. The site can be useful to promote deals you’re offering, especially if those deals are tied to something happening right now.
This site is much more professional than Twitter and Facebook. It can be a useful tool for reaching B2B customers and prospects, particularly in technology. You can build a presence for your own business and network with other business owners, industry experts or customers.
This site is used to share photos and videos and is particularly popular with younger people. Since photo sharing is the key to Instagram, put time and energy into your images if you hope to get them shared. Another reason to use this platform: African Americans and Latinos are more likely to use Instagram (and Twitter) than other networks.
This site resembles an old-time scrapbook. Using a process called “pinning,” this site allows users to tell their connections about stories, photos, products, recipes or almost anything else they like. In studies, about 70 percent of Pinterest users say they use the site as an inspiration for what to buy. It has a higher concentration of higher-income and female users than most other sites, and they tend to pass along content to friends faster than at other sites.
It’s tempting to use every social media interaction as a marketing opportunity. But social media doesn’t work the same way as traditional, wide-reaching advertising. Instead, use your social media posts to speak directly to your target customers. The quality of your interactions, not necessarily how many see them, determines social media success. By providing relevant content to your followers, you can show them why they will want to become customers, too.
Also, don’t always directly talk about your product or services. The 80/20 Rule, which tends to be important in many lines of work, also applies to social media. About 80 percent of your social media activities should be educational and only 20 percent promotional. Otherwise you risk having your followers think of you as self-serving.
There are plenty of other activities that should be part of your social media strategy, including blogging, podcasting and the use of reviews on sites like Yelp. Sharing your blog content on social sites helps drive traffic back to your own site and positions you as a thought leader in your industry.
Using social media is just one part of an overall marketing strategy to build brand awareness and get in front of customers and prospects. But social media can help you connect with customers and prospects in the places where they spend many hours of their day.
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