Having a strong presence on social media is vital for a modern business to thrive. Social media is a place to refine your brand representation and engage with both current and potential customers. Through social media platforms, you can establish your credibility and reach out to people who want to hear about your business; but it’s not enough to simply claim your social media pages. With these 13 tips, you can build your social media presence and build an engaged audience.
1. Have a plan for your social media.
Before you begin creating your social media profiles, it is important to think about what you want to gain from being active online. Having a clear idea of what you hope to get out of your experience on social media will help drive how you build and use your social media presence. First and foremost, outline and document your goals. Do you want to inform customers about upcoming deals? Do you want to build an engaged community online? Do you want to generate leads by driving social traffic to your website or landing pages? Starting with clearly defined goals will let you keep these guidelines in mind and keep yourself from floating in social media limbo.
2. Establish your brand identity on social platforms.
Defining your brand’s identity on your social media platforms is an important way to tie your social media into your marketing and brand strategy. For example, your logos, photos, descriptions, and business information should be consistent across your entire web presence, including your website, social sites, local listings, and more. Plus, this can give customers a stronger sense of your business’s message and goals, making it easier for them see how your business aligns with their needs.
3. Give yourself a social media makeover.
If you’ve already taken the dive into social media by claiming profiles in the past, it’s a good idea to take stock every few months to make sure that you’re presenting the latest information and details on your profiles. This is a good time to update visual content, such as changing your cover photo on Facebook or Twitter “cover photo” to align with current promotions or offers.. Make sure to replace low-resolution photos with higher quality versions. Make sure that you have brand consistency across all social media platforms.
4. Tailor your social media presence to what you can manage.
Having a presence on a variety of social media platforms is great, but it is important to be strategic when deciding what platforms are right for your business. Ask yourself: what can you realistically manage with regularly updated information and regular content posts? What platforms are right for your business? Consider your audience and your content to help you decide where to focus your efforts. For example, visually-based platforms like Instagram may not be the top choice for a plumber; but for a makeup artist or a photographer, Instagram is a perfect social media platform for regular engagements.
5. Publish timely, relevant content.
There are several types of content you can post on social media sites, but essentially, it breaks into two big groups – content such as blog posts, videos, and testimonials, that your business creates, and content that you share which has been created by others. It’s a good idea to balance both types of content to build relevance and provide value to your fanbase. For example, you can sharenews stories of timely events relevant to your business industry to engage your fanbase. Be mindful, sensitive, and tasteful when sharing content from other sources. And, make sure what you post is relevant. For example, a great time for a roofing company to advertise a special on social media would be right after a big storm that created some damage.
6. Cultivate a community.
Social media offers a unique way to create a community around your brand or business. In marketing theory and anthropology, consumer tribes are groups of people that experience camaraderie over shared loyalty to a brand, product, or business. Nurturing that loyalty by rewarding steadfast community members and being an active member of your own business’s community is an important way to get consumers to engage with you. Invite customers to share experiences, offer unique access and special moments for your social media fans and followers. Think about the brands you enjoy following on social media platforms and think about how to apply these to your own social media presence. Creating a sense of identity for customers or followers of your business will make them feel invested and proud to be supporting you.
7. Maintain consistency.
Posting consistency, message consistency, consistency of your brand’s voice: consistency is important on social media. This is especially important to keep in mind if more than one person is posting on behalf of your business or company. Everyone who contributes to your business’s social media presence needs to take the time to understand what sort of voice should be used when posting for your business. Plus, it’s important to establish a regular cadence for your posts – at least once a week is recommended, but daily posts will build more engagements and help better grow your presence.
8. Engage with other businesses, brands, and social media users.
While posting links to content is a good way to keep your social channels full of interesting things, it’s also important to be a part of ongoing conversations relevant to your business or industry online. For example, you can respond to or re-share social posts from users and businesses that you value. In the case of Twitter, this can mean re-tweeting posts from some of your favorite relevant businesses or blogs, or tagging other individuals or businesses that you admire through replies. On Facebook, you can tag collaborators or friends of your business when you post, or re-share posts from important influencers with your own audience. When you share other people’s content, it helps you build influence, credibility, and digital relationships.. It also means that people will notice and value your engagement with other members of the online business community.
9. Take part online.
It is so important to not only provide content, but to also engage as a member of your business’s community. On your own social media pages, this means asking questions and listening! Ask your audience what kind of content or services they would like to see from your business. Ask them what kind of specials they think would best benefit their budget or lifestyles. It is also important to, when appropriate, engage in online communities. Forums like Reddit can be great for businesses to interact with potential clients through participating in threads or hosting an AMA (Ask Me Anything). You can participate in Twitter chats on relevant topics, which allow people to follow a similar thread of conversation using a common hashtag at a specific time. Industry or location-based LinkedIn groups are a great way to engage with consumers who are interested in your business industry or topics.
By being an active member of these communities, you can build your business’s visibility online, grow your fanbase, and establish your credibility as a thought leader and contributor. These platforms are essentially a way for you to share your expertise and personality with a wide audience, many of whom will be local to you and will be more likely to use your services simply for having seen you taking part in their online community.
10. Ask your audience to engage.
An easy way to get people to engage on social media is by simply asking them to. Let your social media community know you want their feedback on the types of content you posts, offers you provide, or community programs you offer. Ask your audience to share an important post with their friends, or to leave a comment. This can help drive more engagement on your posts. It seems simple because it is. People like to share their opinion and take actions that will help your business when they already feel invested in your business.
11. Make content visually appealing.
Today, social media posts that are image-driven and brief tend to perform well. A relevant image that is humorous, moving, or informative will catch people’s attention when they’re scrolling through their feeds. Find a balance between posting images and text-only content. Also, think about what your audience will want to share and let that help drive you. Check out these tips for creating images to fuel your business web presence online.
12. Take advantage of analytics.
Once you get going with building your social media presence, you don’t have to play the guessing game forever. What really works to drive engagement? Pay attention to on-site analytics that most major social media platforms offer today, and consider using a universal monitoring program to help you keep track of results, mentions, and other important metrics.
You can also figure out which of your posts are most successful with some good old-fashioned experimenting. Try posting at different times of day, on different days, and take note of which posts are more or less successful. Consider any other variables that may have affected the success of these posts, such as the popularity of the content. Take notes so that you can measure change over time so you can refine what times of day your audience is best receiving your posts and what kinds of content they are most receptive to.
13. Recognize your clients and audience.
Don’t let the technology factor of social media let you forget that in its simplest form, social media is a way to communicate with your customers and prospects. Keep basic business practices in place, like thanking your customers, clients, and followers for their business. Share your online promotions and events with your social media fanbase as well. Showcase client success stories and photos of your work (with permission, of course)! On special dates such as anniversaries or holidays, offer specials to clients who perform an action such as sharing your page or calling with a special code. Make sure your active clients and social media audience feel appreciated and they will pay you back with new followers and lead referrals.
Building your social media presence is an important part of online marketing for today’s local businesses. How does your social presence stack up? What else would you add to this list? Share your thoughts with a comment!