If you’re serious about increasing your visibility online, narrowing your plans down to a single medium such as SEO or PPC will lead you to miss out on a huge amount of potential traffic and revenue.
It’s no secret that integrating social media into your online marketing strategy is a necessity and something that any business with content that’s even remotely shareable should be doing.
Social media as part of a wider online marketing strategy certainly isn’t a new thing, but a large variety of different businesses have yet to capitalise on it to its full extent.
Why should I start focusing on social media?
If SEO and PPC are the equivalent of your signage and shop window, social media can be the equivalent of your customer stepping inside and getting their first experience of your staff; something that can make or break how your brand is seen by your potential customers.
Twitter for example, can be used brilliantly not only for reaching out and gaining visibility for certain niches and topics, but for customer service and engaging with the people who already know you. The voice you convey here can be fundamental in how people see you and think of your brand.
Facebook is a great visual format with a phenomenal user base. Couple the Facebook apps and the visual aspect of the platform, and you’ve got a great way to show off creativity and get a visual representation of your brand out to your audience.
Facebook has an increasingly powerful advertising platform that allows you to re-target users who visit your website; as well as target new audiences based on powerful targeting mechanisms, which use demographic and behavioural user data to enable brands to precisely reach their target audiences.
Facebook recently announced quarterly profit gains of 71% for Q2 2017 in comparison to the same period in the previous year. This demonstrates that companies are attributing a greater deal of their marketing budget to target users on mobile devices via Facebook ads.
Instagram is also a fantastic platform when it comes to visual marketing. Instagram allows you to enhance your images and capture an engaging perspective of your business by showing off your business’ story and personality. Instagram is also a very marketing-friendly platform in that it allows you to reach your audience directly and does not use an algorithm to influence what your audience sees on their feed.
This brings us onto Google+. It’s no Facebook killer by any stretch of the imagination and certainly shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for Facebook in your social media campaign. However, since Google’s integration of a number of its services including YouTube and Google Maps with Google+, it is now considered an integral network to search marketing and social media.
It goes without saying that utilising social media to its full extent can be a challenge for less social industries. Growing your brand awareness when your target audience is known for content sharing, and where content can be easily distributed and shared is great.
Know your audience and the channels they use.
Not every business will be able to make the most out of every channel. Instead of spreading your efforts thinly over multiple platforms, concentrate on the ones you’ll be able to utilise to the fullest.
A small business in the arts and crafts industry could use Pinterest or Instagram to share their creations. These primarily visual formats work very well for design and artistic trades.
Professional photographers could record ‘behind the scenes’ video footage on setting up the perfect shoot, and share it on YouTube – which can then be shared across different platforms.
Use true incentives such as offers and competitions, to entice your audience into following you on your social media channels of choice. Understand the content your audience is interested in.
Choose the right tone. Don’t be afraid to show a little personality.
Businesses can sometimes be afraid of being too personal in their use of social media. While carrying the professionalism of your company through to social channels is a good idea, some of the best examples of good social media use have come from brands showing a personality.
Humour in the right situation can go a long way in changing how people see your brand, but be careful as while this is a great way to make people smile at you and the brand you represent, it’s entirely possible to take it too far.
Updates, updates, updates!
So you’ve cast out your net and caught a nice handful of followers – which is great! – now you need to keep them on board.
What was the content that brought these people on in the first place? What are your audience following you for? Are you posting how-to guides, or are you interacting with your customers directly?
Identify that content, maintain that quality and keep it rolling, but try to avoid turning your social channels into glorified RSS feeds. Invite interaction with your customers, both current and potential.
Give everything a purpose
If there’s anything to take away from this post, it’s this; social media for social media’s sake simply isn’t going to work. If you don’t have a clear aim and a clear objective in mind then you need to go back to the drawing board and start planning.
Understand the ways that social media can benefit your business before you set out on a campaign. Define the audience you’re going for, put yourself in their shoes, and figure out the content you’d want to see if you were them.
Get that content out there, target the right people and make them smile, whether that’s through humour or just great content they want to see. Before you know it you’ve built a brand into something that people associate positively with.
Patience is something that comes with online marketing as a whole, so it won’t come as a surprise that it’s a necessity for social media as well. This is a long term element of your broader content strategy and not a quick win, so results and visibility won’t substantially increase overnight.