One of the questions we get asked a lot is, “How do I use social media to market my business?”
That’s a pretty big question, and the answer really depends on how much time you have.
Since time is money and most of us never have enough of either, here’s the short answer:
(These tips relate mainly to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn, but you can also check out our post on Pinterest marketing for more info.)
1. Stick to the plan, man
Yes, you need to create a social media plan. Planning your posts ahead of time will help you target your messages and build your audience. You’ll also save time, because you won’t have to dig for new content to post. Every. Single. Day.
It doesn’t have to be complicated: Pick a topic to promote every week or two, and use a monthly calendar template and fill in the types of posts you want to use. Which brings me to my second tip:
2. Variety is the spice of life
And on social media, variety gets you noticed. Images and videos attract attention. Asking questions, posting surveys and having contests or giveaways will engage your audience.
An easy way to make sure your posts are varied is to assign different types to different days in your social media calendar. For example, Mondays and Wednesdays could be links to blog posts, followed up with the related YouTube videos on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and fun or motivational memes on Fridays. You get the idea.
3. It’s NOT all about you
Think about it: Who likes listening to people talk about themselves all the time? Reposting, sharing, and retweeting other people’s content adds value to your followers and increases your credibility as an information source.
Remember is the 4-1-1 Rule: promote your content with 4 relevant shares, reposts or retweets (by someone else), 1 original educational piece (by you), and 1 sales post (also by you).
4. Share the love
Also on the subject of selfless posts: show your customers and business partners some love. If you’re a B2B company, like you’re clients’ pages. Comment on and share their posts. Thank them for their business. If you’re a B2C company, post pictures of your customers (with their permission, of course). And thank them for their business.
5. Reach out and touch someone
Not literally, of course. That could be creepy. But do what you can to ensure every social media post is seen by as many people as possible. When you post a photo or comment about a client, tag or mention them so their friends and followers can see it, too. If it’s a picture on Facebook, tag them in the post and/or the photo caption so their followers can see your comments. Also, when it’s appropriate, include both the person and the business.
6. Okay, it’s kind of about you
When you tag a client, mention how your company is or will be helping them – their followers may not know anything about your company. Plus, it gives you an opportunity to include keywords. But remember, it’s mostly about your client and how awesome they are!
7. Know when to say when
As in, don’t clog up people’s news feed. At the same time, make sure you’re posting enough to establish a presence. Generally, here’s how often you should post on each channel:
Twitter: At least 5x/day
8. Check the numbers
Don’t just send out posts and hope they work. Track your organization’s social influence to measure the impact of your efforts. This means keeping a spreadsheet of things like the number of social media followers, interactions, and referrals to your Website.
If you have a page on Facebook, not a profile, you have access to insights on the specific interaction from individual posts. So, you can easily see if that #TBT photo of your boss was a good idea or not. (Thanks for being a good sport, Ford!)