If you run an online business, chances are social media plays a big part in your marketing efforts. With millions logging on to various social networks every day, sites like Facebook and Twitter have become the NBCs and CBSs of today. As a marketer, you want to go where the people are, and people are flocking to social networks. This means you should be too.
Yet monetizing social media as a viable marketing stream has been nightmarish for many. It’s deceptively easy to spend countless hours sending out tweets and status updates, only to find your company is still barely holding on by a thread. Social media takes careful planning, competitive strategic thinking, and more than a little creativity. It also requires that you stay on the pulse of platforms and trends.
If you’re ready to start the new year out with a social bang, these tips will get you there!
1. Optimize Your Profile
Many companies give little thought to their actual social profiles, and that’s a grave mistake. Followers and fans give you a scant second to woo them with the content you place there, and if it’s not compelling, you will be overlooked. Here are some key points to a great social profile:
- Have a descriptive yet simple screen name; and make sure it is completely relevant to your company. This is not a place to get creative and cute.
- Spend your creative juices on your headline or brief company description. You have limited space, so be concise about who you are, but definitely infuse a little personality. Social, as a whole, is a casual and humor-centric space. Don’t be afraid to have a little flair in your description.
- Mantras are key as well; these are generally 2-4 words and should completely embody who you are as a company. Use these consistently across all platforms and people will really start learning who you are.
- If the platform you’re using allows you to secure a vanity URL, do so. Sites like Facebook let you customize your web address (one time only, so choose wisely). This helps to reaffirm your name and identity to all who visit.
2. Get Smart About Content
What and when you share your posts are both critical factors to creating an engaged social audience. Do not practice random acts of marketing; they don’t work. Instead, plan out your social strategy in advance; usually 2 months or so is about as far out as you need to go, but the point is, don’t be haphazard. Be methodical and consistent. In addition, here are some key content tips:
- Have a mixture of timely posts about your industry, as well as content that is evergreen. You can repackage the evergreen posts occasionally, but make sure you’re not being repetitive.
- Consistency is crucial. Have a clearly defined brand voice, and if more than one person is sending out social signals for your company, create clear guidelines that everyone meticulously follows.
- Retweet and repost relevant content from your followers. Don’t just make everything about you. Evangelize the members of your audience that are posting informative goodies, and they will do the same for you.
- Use a tool like Hootsuite to schedule your posts so they are appropriately staggered throughout the day. Consider the habits of your target audience too; if you know they’re more likely to be online in the early evening hours, as opposed to the A.M., plan accordingly.
- Pay attention to trends and popular social metrics in your target niche, and capitalize on those frequently. If something newsworthy happens in a space relevant to your business, jump in and have a voice.
3. Respond to Your Audience Wisely
The best case scenario in your social efforts is you’ll have an audience that cares enough about your content that they comment, ask questions, and otherwise engage. This will be extremely short-lived, however, if you don’t answer back. Yet if you reply to every last comment, you could drown in wasted resources. So here are some tips with how to best communicate with your social fans:
- Don’t respond to the negative ninnies unless they have specific complaints about your company or service. In this case, it is crucial you respond with tact, warmth, and apologies.
- Answer all sincere questions efficiently and to the best of your ability; people who are asking questions about your services are ready to become your customers, but not if you ignore them.
- On Twitter, make sure you are using mentions, not hashtags, to talk to your audience. Hashtags are for topics, mentions are for people.
- Create macros for responses you make on multiple occasions so you can streamline the question and answer process.
- Always, always stay positive in your correspondence; if you know someone is simply complaining for the sake of it, you can agree to disagree, but don’t ever fight fire with fire.
- Absolutely feel free to delete and block troublemakers that can’t be reasoned with. Your community will appreciate your willingness to have boundaries against bad behavior. Just remember to do so without judgment anger.
Be consistent, friendly, and strategic with social media. And don’t forget to bring your sense of humor! It’s a welcomed trait in the social stratosphere. By employing a little advanced planning and brand consistency, you can take the social world by storm in 2015.
What other social media tactics do you find invaluable?
Digital producer, online marketer, community manager, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney-Brown has been managing cross-functional teams for online businesses since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, massively multiplayer games, community management, social networks, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, nonprofit director and spiritual counselor. Learn more at her personal website, or find her on Facebook and Google+.