Social media: websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to take part in social networking.
Social media marketing is a form of marketing on the web that uses various social media platforms, helping you to get your content out to the world. SMM includes the sharing of your content, pictures and videos for marketing purposes.
If you own a small business and are not harnessing the marketing advantages of social media, now is the time to start. You might think there are more important things in your business to focus on, yet social media should definitely be a top priority. No matter what business you’re in, chances are your customers are online.
According to a report in 2017 published by Social Media Examiner, the top benefits of SMM were to increase traffic to your website and secondly to gain exposure. If the idea of using social media is a little bit overwhelming and you don’t know where to start – don’t worry! We’re going to be talking about highly effective ways to use social media to market your own business.
Did you know that photos on Facebook get more engagement? Even adding images to your LinkedIn posts will give you a higher engagement rate. Furthermore, it’s not a coincidence that three of the newer social networks, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat are based solely on images. If you’re only posting written updates, well that’s a start! But if you want to really engage with your followers, it’s time you start leveraging the visual aspect of social media.
Graphics, GIFs, memes and videos – if it looks good and it's relevant to your brand or business, get sharing. Don’t just share for the sake of sharing though. Pay attention to ensuring it’s relevant, otherwise the visual will just seem out of place and will confuse your followers. If someone who has never heard of your brand visits your social page, will they know what you do based on the visuals you share? This is a great question to ask yourself each time you post.
You’re content is great, but are you story titles grabbing attention in social media circles? If not you either need to:
Conjure up more engaging titles that help your posts get more clicks
Create new titles specifically for sharing on social media
You need to be posting your content more than once. Create multiple titles, and perform A/B testing. Use a tool like CoSchedule to help you research effective titles for the same type of content per social network.
Customise Content for the Social Media Platform
Every social media avenue has a different purpose, so make sure you’re tapping into their individual features. This includes paying attention to the header, picture and content of whatever it is you’re sharing. Every other marketer and business on social media is looking to promote their content over yours, so the more optimised your post is for the social media platform you’re using, the more effective your post is going to be.
For example, if you’re posting to Instagram, your priority will be finding a stand-out image. Your caption is also important, but the image will be what first grabs a user’s attention. Or if you’re posting to Twitter, having a humorous or cleverly written post will be your main priority. Adding a picture is also effective, but it’s the words you want to focus on.
Ask your Followers Questions
While social media is a great way to promote your services or products, it is also important you don’t just spam followers with content that is all about ‘you’. Try and make some of the content about ‘them’ and drive your followers to communicate with you. All you need to do is ask your followers questions or ask them to provide feedback. Social media was made for people, not for businesses. So think about how you can tap into the human connection aspect of social media when marketing your business. Asking questions is great for when you want to grab the attention of your followers as it fosters a closer connection between them and your brand.
Find the Right Time to Share
While this may be stating the obvious, so many marketers often overlook the simple things such as sharing at the right time. If you want maximum engagement with what you’re sharing, then your post needs to be reaching as many social media users as possible. How do you do that? By posting when your followers are most active. By using the analytics which is built into most social media platforms (you can also use third-party social media tools such as Hubspot), you can see things like the time and day when your followers are most likely to engage with your content, and what content they are most likely to engage with.
From this data, you can create a posting schedule to make sure you are posting at the right time each day. It’s important to remember that different social media platforms have different peak times for posting. When you first try to figure out the best time to post, it may take a bit of trial and error, but you’ll eventually find the right time to post for optimal engagement.
Post Multiple Times
Numerous data studies suggest you will be more effective in promoting the same content multiple times on social media. Use multiple images and multiple headlines for your content. This way you're talking to your followers without them knowing you’re reposting the same content. Your followers don’t see most of your posts on any given day. By posting multiple times a day you are making sure your followers at least have a chance to see and read your content your content.
Go Deep, Not Broad
When looking at social media, companies need to aim deep and not broad. You're better off being a master of one or two platforms than stumble along in a great many. Social platforms give you the opportunity to show your expertise and provide an avenue for two way discussion, such as through blogs, video and podcasting.
If you’re yet to try advertising on social media, there’s no time like the present. When you advertise on social media, you are promoting your content and business to a micro-targeted audience of your choice. From age to location and interests, you can find your ideal client and advertise right to them. This will guarantee you visibility from a relevant audience, which is more likely to provide you with a new fan, rather than targeting someone who isn’t interested in what you sell or offer at all.
Join the conversation
Have you joined the conversation yet? Searching relevant hashtags or joining communities on social media is a highly effective way to market your business. While you can’t jump into the conversation with “buy from me!”, What you can do is raise awareness of your brand. When joining conversations, you’re mostly there to add insight and value. It’s about the community, not about you. Of course, you can share and promote yourself every once in a while, but primarily you should be sharing content that interests the people in the communities so that when you do have something to promote, they will be more likely to engage and be interested in what you have to say.
Social media has to be the most powerful tool in your marketing bag for getting your content in front of people; In saying that, most social media marketers don't get it right and fall short of maximising its potential. Utilise one or a number of these ways to promote your content, and you’ll notice a huge rise in your traffic numbers.
Social media is often based on trial and error, but once you find the right combination, the rewards far outweigh the time you spent trying to make it work!
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