MARKETING & ADVERTISING • April 27, 2015
2 minutes Read
Want to grow your business? Then you have to stop ignoring social media. It’s where your potential consumers go to find businesses, research purchases, get product recommendations and access customer service. Social media influences purchases both online and in-store; if you want the sales, you need to be social.
To use social media well, however, you need a plan. Kick off your strategy with these six steps.
1. Set your social media goals.
Good business goals for social media include the following:
Your primary goal will determine how you use social media. If, for example, your focus is great customer service, you will spend more time answering customer questions and less time creating content. If your focus is on new customers, your content and offers should target new buy-ins and first-time purchasers. And so on.
2. Follow your target market.
Grab the latest overview of your target market and compare it with the demographic breakdown of the top social sites. When you find the platform that lines up with your target market, you have found your primary platform. This is your core community.
3. Find your shareable value.
Social media is a busy, busy place. Consumers have thousands of options. In order to get their attention, you need to bring distinct value. Either create or find great content (or do both!), and then share it. Consider the questions your customers will be looking to answer and address those on your social media platform. That might mean expert insight, viral content, information about your product or service, reviews, tips and tricks. By providing quality content, you’ll be adding value to your customers’ experience while increasing brand awareness. Don’t worry about hitting every category; choose two or three types of content as your bread and butter.
4. Build a structure.
There are three levels to your social media structure. The foundational level is your home base: your website, sales page or blog. The second level is your core community—the primary social media platform such as Facebook. The third level is made up of any secondary social media platforms; these are like outposts.
Choose one primary platform and two or three secondary platforms. Spend about 60 percent of your time and effort on your primary platform, and divide the rest between your secondary platforms.
5. Set a schedule and assign responsibility.
Use a social media management service (such as Buffer, Hootsuite, or SproutSocial) to set a schedule for sharing content on all of your platforms. Remember your proportion; most of your sharing should happen on your primary platform.
Delegate the responsibility of creating or finding and scheduling content to be shared. One person could handle it, or it can be divided between several; ideally, the folks responsible will work up to having content ready and scheduled out several weeks in advance.
6. Be engaged.
Last, but certainly not least, is live interaction. During business hours (and perhaps after), a real, live human being needs to monitor and respond to social media. You might assign shifts, days or platforms, so that no one has to divide attention between social media and other work duties all the time.
When you are “on call,” interact by sharing other people’s updates, following, liking and commenting. Respond quickly to questions and posts, and reach out to a few followers or fans daily.
Photo credit: little Whale/shutterstock.com
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