As a business owner, your social media presence is non-negotiable. Regardless of your personal position on it, if you want your business – and especially your online presence – to succeed, an active presence on those platforms is crucial. Your potential customers are active on social media and it’s essential to keep yourself at the forefront of their minds; to increase sales, you meet your prospects where they are at. Establishing a social media presence will also help you build relationships with your existing clients, strengthen their loyalty, increase your web traffic, and offer a point of difference to your competition.
1. Pick the platform(s) that work best for you and your company
There are many social platforms to choose from these days: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, and Tumblr are just some of the mediums in a growing list of viable social networking sites. The good news is, you don’t need to be on all of them! In fact, spreading your resources too thin is counterproductive: there’s nothing worse than Googling a business and finding an old, abandoned Twitter account sitting among half-baked hashtags and a default profile picture.
In the beginning, choose one or two platforms, and start there. Do some research, and pick the ones where your target audience is present. The quality of your content reflects on your company, so don’t create profiles for the sake of it. Put your energy into growing and maintaining relevant platforms to avoid seeming like someone who isn’t committed to their business.
2. Craft your profiles
Creating the account is the first step but you’re not done yet: your social media profiles should never be an after-thought. They’re extremely powerful opportunities to strengthen your brand and communicate who you are, so it’s essential that you give your profiles the time they need.
Choose a profile and cover image that’s consistent with your brand. Depending on the nature of your business, either a logo or a professional image of the business-owner works well. Low-quality images are a no-no, so make sure to use high-resolution images if you have them, or produce them if you don’t.
Add your logo to all images throughout your social media and when you add any copy, consistently use the same font in line with your style guide. Your biographies should be completed using your short and long business description, and all contact information should be filled out. Make sure you add a ‘contact now’ button to Facebook and Instagram so people can call you as an easy next step to their browsing.
Social media counts towards your SEO search ranking, so this is another golden opportunity to get keywords next to your business name on search engines. With informative and engaging profiles, social browsers who visit your page(s) will know that you mean business and you’ve got something worth their time, so never slack on this bit.
3. Share with your audience
Content is the currency of social media, so if you haven’t begun a content strategy yet, now is the time to start. Here are some suggestions:
Sharing your page with people you know, or people in your company
Share it with existing customers by email
If you’re on Facebook, join relevant Facebook groups, and share page content there
On sites with tags (like Twitter and Instagram), adding useful tags will help you get discovered
Once you’ve made a start, your followers will grow organically and you’ll know that people are there because they will be genuinely interested in you and your content.
4. Post consistently
We’ve all seen it. A nice, attractive page, a few posts bubbling with excitement about a new business, and then nothing.
Until you’ve built up a loyal following, you need to post regularly and consistently. This might be once a week, or it might be once or more per day. How often you post depends on the nature of your business and your market, but the key is consistency.
Unless you have a dedicated social media manager, uploading content on the fly will never work. You’re a busy person and social media will always get pushed to the bottom of the pile. Spend some time scheduling content to make sure your reach is constant, and your followers know what they can expect from you.
5. Offer incentives for sharing your posts
All humans have a ‘what’s in it for me’ attitude, so once your immediate friends and family have liked and shared your page, it’s helpful to devise incentive-based offers to create a traffic boon.
Offer goods to your audience and potential audience such as discount vouchers, a free product, or entry into a competition for sharing a post which will extend your reach.
Always check with your platform owner as restrictions can apply to competitions, and you need to make sure your posts always sit within their guidelines.
6. Respond to engagement
Your pages should be a welcoming environment where people can hang out, express their opinions, and feel included, so always acknowledge people who respond to your content. Tag people in comments, and like/reply to reviews and posts on your page; yes, even the negative ones!
This is your opportunity to create strong relationships with your market and put yourself at the forefront of their minds. As your followers witness this engagement, they’re more likely to pop over and follow you too, further building your audience.
Using this information, you can build a better social media strategy while simultaneously boosting your marketing efforts. Pay attention to people, and they will pay attention to you.
Building a social media presence can be a slow process, but it has a snowball effect. Stay in it for the long haul! With consistency and effort, an active social media presence is well worth the benefits it will bring your business, so use the outline above to devise a strategy you can commit to.