Had enough of having “social media” rammed down your neck? So have I and I work with it every day!
Everyone and their mother is telling you to develop your personal brand on social media or get your business up on social to grow an audience, develop relationships or generate leads and customers… that’s just scratching the surface of it.
However the big problem for many entrepreneurs, startups and even existing businesses owners is finding the time. Often people in these positions are fully loaded with multiple tasks that take up much of their day, let alone trying to pull off social media marketing for their business.
Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite said in an article published on Fortune.com “it’s amazing how many senior executives, CEOs , and decision makers still remain confused about what social media does and how it can contribute to a business.”
“Not incorporating Twitter, Facebook, and other social channels into your strategy is roughly the equivalent of insisting the web was just a fad a decade or so ago: backward-looking, blinkered and above all, a serious business liability.”
With that in mind here is your cheat sheet, don’t jump in head first, take your time and break these down into segments and keep these 10 strategies in mind. The best approach is to box these out into chunks and work on them from week to week.
Select the right social media channels for your brand or business
It’s impossible to maintain a social media presence across all social media channels when you get started. Only focus on the key one or two channels that you know will be the best match to reach your target audience or prospective customers.
How do you select the right platform in the first place?
Develop a persona of your target customer. Build a comprehensive profile of your average customer. Take a look at the template example below:
- Once you have established your target profile, you are ready to identify where your prospects hang out on social.
- Ok Sherlock Holmes, you will need to do some research, Facebook is a great starting point, but other channels could also be relevant depending on your customer profile and demographics.
- The good news is there is a lot of good research on the web that can help. http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/11/11/social-media-update-2016/ Select 2-3 places to start with.
- Your profile will also help you to define what type of content you should be posting and how you will build a relationship with your prospects. For example, millennials will know if you are pushing hard sales and will immediately switch off.
- Millennials also ask their friends for advice and recommendations. This segment wants to be entertained, thrilled and delighted. They love interactive content and socially responsible companies.
Case Study: UBER
Here is why Millennials will connect with UBER.
Millennials are all about sharing, specifically a sharing economy. Unlike some of the older generations, Millennials are not as into cars, but they are into convenience, and Uber knows it. Uber has encompassed both of these trends into its service and marketing strategy and makes it incredibly easy to find a ride and pay for it using its smartphone app.
Uber has also done a great job marketing to Millennials. For example, did you hear about #UberKITTENS? It is a campaign that Uber ran on National Cat Day. Using the Uber app, you could have kittens delivered to your house. Uber has also capitalized on the show Boardwalk Empire and movie Transformers: Age of Extinction by creating contests that allowed lucky winners to get a very special ride.
What Uber did right: Knew their target market, focused on convenience and offered something unique.
Uber fosters a conversation. They have used their individualized geographical pages to allow people to post what they enjoy or don’t about the organization. This is where their public relations team comes in. As soon as someone posts on their social media, within minutes there will be a comment saying that the problem will be taken care of. The post is then forwarded to their customer service department, and the rest is handled via email and the specific customer. An example is shown below.
Uber maintains engagement in their customers through deals and promotions, which are only possible because of the strong connection between customer service, public relations, and marketing.
These show how the customer can get free rides and deals due to the simple fact that they are part of the Uber online community. And what’s best about this is that these are individually tailored to every community.
For me, I can see all the Facebook posts that Uber is putting up through @Uber and see which ones are pertinent to me since they begin their promotions with a hashtag for the region it applies to. This is a simple yet effective engagement strategy.
Uber uses social media to release new products or services, and capture the social talk surrounding. This helps interdisciplinary marketing teams capture consumer sentiment and tweak their product in with a rapid turnaround, and Uber has been great at doing this while also getting the word out about their new services.
Lastly, they don’t always make it about the product. This is key and but we have talked about this consistently in our class. Posting should revolve the consumer need, how customers use these products, in order to drive engagement. Uber has been especially good at doing this while relating it to their call to actions – for example, this post below talks about great happy hours and how each is a flat 5 dollar uber ride over.
Be consistent and regular
Once you have identified your platforms, you must set up a schedule of posts and stick to it. If you don’t stick to your schedule then followers will drop you and move on.
Those posts had better be fresh and engaging. If they strike a chord, they will be shared. For example, if Instagram is a selected platform, put together a bunch of images in advance with great quotes which your persona will enjoy. Stack them up and post one a day. When the supply gets low, take the time to create more.
This goes for your website too. Many businesses have fresh new content regularly posted on their home pages, so that visitors are engaged and entertained right away.
Case Study Target
Remember its essential that you are consistent with everything you do on social media in order to clearly define your brand identity across all channels. Own a color or certain look and feel, and be sure it’s present across all of your social media platforms. How your audience feels about you and your brand should be the same feeling that is portrayed on your profiles.
For instance, we can all associate red with the Target brand – and they totally own it through the imagery they feature on their accounts!
Start and stay in the conversation
You can start conversations by asking questions or asking your readers to do something. And when you get answers and comments you keep the conversation going.
Every day, check your social media pages for feedback, comments, and questions. Respond quickly. Never let a comment go without a response, whether that comment is positive, neutral, or negative. This is how relationships are built.
Engage your audience so they want to share your content
There are several things you can do to capture and intrigue your audience.
- Publish quizzes, polls, and surveys. You’ve seen these on Facebook and you know you have participated. You want the results and then you want to share those results with your friends.
- Hold contests.This totally engages an audience. Jack Daniels does this all the time. They invite followers to submit their strangest bar stories or to submit pictures of the weirdest bar they have ever visited. ModCloth holds contests to name clothing items it has purchased.
- Always use visuals because they are shared more. And explore some of the newer venues for visuals – real time stuff through Periscope.
- Incorporate humor– this can be done by a “joke of the day” on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. Use memes.
- Support a charitable cause– show photos of your team involved and ask followers to get involved and to share your call to action
- Feature customers in your posts.
Stay on top of social media changes
Here are just a few recent changes that platforms have implemented in an effort to keep their populations with them.
- Twitter allows media and more characters
- Instagram has implemented the carousel so that more than one image can be posted at a time
- Facebook now has groups
- Most content marketing websites will keep you informed of changes as they occur. Keep up.
Use the 80/20 rule
No one wants a pushy sales pitch – ever. Just don’t do it.
80% of what you post should not be related to your product or service. It should be related to developing trust and relationships and getting your brand known. 20% of what you post can relate to your products or services – advertised sales or discounts, new product launches, free trials, etc.
Use amazing headlines
Check out some of the master’s at this. You’ve probably been intrigued or compelled by many yourself. For some headline, examples see Upworthy’s Facebook post titles – always a photo and always a headline you cannot resist.
Headlines are tough to create – there are some good headline generator tools available, though, so find one you like and use it, even if you have to pay a bit for their upgrade.
Here are a couple of outrageous titles courtesy of BoostBlogTraffic.com;
How Spending $162,301.42 on Clothes Made Me $692,500 – Neil Patel
Caution: Stop Masturbating With Your Money – Ashley Ambirge
It’s unlikely that many will pass up these posts!
Know when to post
Remember that persona you developed in #1?
Well, you know where she is; now you need to know when she is there. Fortunately, others have done this research for you. Not only will you find out when best to post but you will also learn how many times a day, week, or month you should re-post.
You can even set up these re-posts automatically.
Have a crisis plan
Figure out in advance what your strategy will be if someone “bashes” you on social media. It may be an angry customer or it may be someone who was offended by something you posted. You have to fix this and fix it immediately. Letting it hang out there with no positive and helpful or contrite response is a “killer.”
Google “complaints about _______(your company name)” often and see if there is anything bad out there. Handle it immediately.
This looks like a lot to do, and you may be pretty tired just reading about it all. Take heart. You don’t have to do everything at once.
Pick a couple of things from this list and see how they work for you (give them some time); then add as you can. Your business isn’t going to grow overnight and neither is your return on social media efforts. Be patient, but be steady.
Getting your social off the ground can be a daunting task, let alone getting it to actually perform, If you need support for your startup or growing business – contact Jenny at Social Media Authority firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.