Social media sites attract millions of users from all over the world. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, and blogging websites are at the very centre of online social interaction, with people sharing things they like with their friends, family, and colleagues every second. This means that, so long as the message is right, a single post can reach hundreds of thousands of people in hours.
Whilst attaining such high levels of engagement is no easy feat, it’s also not impossible. There are loads of stories of businesses managing to go viral with one of their posts. And even if at first you don’t manage to reach hundreds of thousands of people, engaging with even hundreds of people can provide a real boost to your brand and sales.
Getting involved with social media isn’t difficult or costly. Even if you don’t use social media for your business, you probably use at least one of the biggest social media platforms for personal use. And all have been designed to be a user-friendly (and business-friendly) as possible.
That said, a good social media marketing campaign does require some planning and knowledge. In order to help you get the most from social media, we’ve listed our top tips for social media success covering all of the main sites.
General Social Media Tips
No two social media sites are the same. They each perform different functions and attract different audiences. But there are some best practice rules to adhere to when it comes to social media generally.
- Figure Out Which Platforms are For You
Social media takes time, and you don’t want to waste resources on platforms that may not be suitable for your business. Almost all businesses should have a presence on Facebook and Twitter. But some of the other platforms may only be worth using if you’re trying to do something specific.
- Facebook is for you if…you want to build an online community around your store. Facebook is the most popular social media site and attracts the widest demographic, so it’s likely that your target audience will be on the platform. All businesses should have a Facebook page.
- YouTube is for you if…you want to share video content with an extremely large audience.
- Twitter is for you if…you want to follow and share breaking news about your industry or business. Twitter is the second most popular social media site, and lends itself to sharing topical or timely content.
- Pinterest is for you if…you have a product or service that lends itself visual sharing.
- LinkedIn is for you if…you operate in the B2B space of wish to share in-depth industry-specific content.
- Instagram is for you if…you want to appeal to the younger generations.
You’ll find more advice about which social media platforms and when to use them here.
- Contribute to the Conversation
Social media isn’t just about broadcasting how great you are. If you use the platforms simply to plug your wares, it’s very unlikely that you’ll receive much engagement. Instead, talk to your audience – share valuable information, start interesting discussions, and respond to messages.
This doesn’t mean that there’s a blanket ban on direct advertising on social media. It does mean that your direct advertising posts will only work if you have an interested and engaged audience. And to get that, you need to communicate.
- Cross-Promote Your Social Media Channels
A good social media marketing campaign links separate accounts to each other with cross-promotional posts. This means your accounts won’t operate in isolation so that followers of one account are likely to follow another. Post a link to a blog you’ve written on Facebook, post a link to a YouTube video you’ve created on LinkedIn, post a link to whitepaper you’ve created on Twitter. You get the idea.
Facebook is used by people in order to connect with friends, family, and colleagues. This is Facebook’s primary function. However, users do have the option to “like” business pages. Doing so is tantamount to allowing that page’s posts to be displayed on your timeline. To “like” is to opt in. In order to get people to “like” your page, you need to:
- Post Consistently
Consistency in the quality and types of posts you create will help people build an image of who you are and what you do. Posts shouldn’t be a random tangle of things you’re interested in; they should be designed to attract your audience, and establish your brand. Use a content calendar to ensure your posts tie in with each other and reach the most people possible.
- Target Your Posts
Depending on what you want to use social media to achieve – increased brand awareness, increased site traffic, increased sales, etc. – you will have to target specific demographics. Facebook has tools that can help you figure out who your target audience is, and how best to reach them.
- Use Pictures and Words to Connect
If you can combine the right picture with the right words, you’ll start to see people engage with your posts. Photos should be of a high-quality and should accurately reflect the nature of your post. Sentences should be kept short and punchy, and avoid marketing clichés such as “buy now” (since these will put people off). Test different combinations of images and copy and see which ones work best, then use this information to guide how you post moving forward.
- Review Post-Performance
Facebook’s Page Insights tool can give you a better understanding of who your most engaged audience is. It displays information such as the number of people your post reached, as well as the amount of “likes”, comments, shares it received. It will also show you who “likes” your page, and other demographic information.
Twitter attracts those who want information quickly. With only 140 characters a post, the platform is flooded with millions of tweets a day. Due to such high volumes of content, it’s important to stick out on the site. To do this, you need to:
- Have a Good Icon or Image
Your image or icon will accompany every one of your tweets, so it’s important that it does your organisation justice. A good image is clear and uncluttered, looks good as a thumbnail, and is consistent with your brand.
- Follow Others and Follow Back
People use Twitter to talk to each other (albeit in a rather snappy fashion). This means you need to connect with people you find interesting or are relevant to your organisation – customers, competitors, suppliers, etc. And if someone follows you who looks interesting or important, follow back. Twitter is a two-way street.
- Stay on Message
Due to the nature of Twitter, people will aren’t likely to see that all of your posts. This means that it’s important that you talk about whatever it is you want to be known for. Try to link industry events with your organisation, and make sure all of your tweets adhere to some sort of thematic constant.
- Use Twitter Audience Insights
Audience Insights helps advertisers and marketers create messages that resonate by allowing you to discover valuable information about your follows. This includes demographics, interests, lifestyle, purchasing behaviour, TV viewing behaviour, and mobile footprint. Gathering up all of this information will keep you posts on point and your audience happy.
YouTube is where almost everyone goes for video content. In fact the site is used by one billion people! And the site can form a very powerful part of your social media strategy. With a YouTube account, you can post videos and link to them from other platforms, or grow your following on the site itself.
- Make Personable Videos
YouTube is a great place to match a face to your organisation. Video content can give people an insider’s look at what you do, who you are, and how you operate. Users don’t want to interact with a faceless organisation, so make sure the content you upload of real and human.
- Direct Traffic to Your Site
Having subscribers hang about on your channel is good, but it may not make a huge difference to the bottom-line. At first, you need to focus on building views and subscriptions on the channel; but then it’s important that you make sure those viewers and subscribers make it to your site. To do this, include a link to your site at the end of each video, as well as in the “about” section.
A great way to boost your YouTube endeavours is to collaborate with an already well-known name. It may mean paying cash for the exposure, but the benefits of doing so can be huge. Look for highly active and influential accounts operating in your industry and consider approaching them.
Social media is fantastic. But, to see the best results takes time and effort. We hope that this blog has helped you consolidate your social media strategy, but there’s a wealth of information out covering social media tips, tricks, ideas. So dive in and have a look.
Are you pursuing a social media marketing campaign? What is your favourite platform? What is your least? And do you have any tips you’d like to share. Let us know with a comment.