Building a strong social media presence is not rocket science. However, still, many businesses find it difficult to create a social media presence that their customers love because they underestimate its importance. Or they overthink their overall social media strategy. Either way, theyre moving in the wrong direction.
When it comes to finding success with social media marketing, theres little doubt that businesses need to have a real social media presence. No wonder many small and large businesses are doing everything they can to join every relevant major social media site.
According to a study conducted by Simply Measured, Facebook is used by a whopping 98% of marketers. Even a niche social networking site such as LinkedIn is regularly used by 64% of B2B marketers. This just goes on to show that social media is serious business for serious entrepreneurs.
But in order to do so, you need to go beyond the superficial aspects of social media. In other words, as a business, if you think that you need to invest a lot of money into producing great content or buy special camera equipment, think again.
The reality is, your social media content doesnt have to be uber professional or specially made to work. Because remember, social media networks are made up of real people, who regularly share real and truly raw content.
Your job as a business is to not appear artificial, but blend in with content that people can identify with. When your prospects and customers see you create real content, theyll connect with your brand at a much higher level. Which will help you establish a better social media presence.
In order to make your social media presence more fruitful and achieve a better return on investment, your business needs to understand what makes social media special in the first place. Why do people use it?
Is it because of the ads? No.
Is it because of the number of big brands using it? No.
Is it because it has hundreds of millions of users? No.
What makes social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter special is the fact that people can connect to other people that they know. Your customers are real human beings craving for real human connections, and thats why they are using social media networks.
If you truly want to create a social media presence that your customers love, then understand what these sites let you achieve as a business. And that is building a meaningful community. A community that lets customers:
- Have strong, relevant and deep conversations with other like-minded people.
- Share feedback (both negative and positive) about your brand, products and services.
- Consume your content and then share it with other relevant people in their own immediate network.
Keep in mind that social media is free, but its still a powerful medium to grow your audience and build a real business only if you use it the right way. Every social media network caters to a different kind of audience and offers a unique experience in itself. Which means, as a business, you have a choice to decide how and where you want to build your social media presence.
#1: Set the Right Goals
Being a business, you should know time is money. So when youre investing in social media, you not only want to focus on achieving a higher ROI, but also a good ROTI (return on time investment).
By setting goals, youll know if you are making the most of your time, or if you need to change things. But without any goals set, youre only setting yourself up for failure. Your social media activities need to be aligned with your marketing/business goals. There’s no other way around.
In order to set the right social media goals, and also increase your chance of achieving them, you need to ensure they are:
- Specific enough so that you can not only plan well, but to also ensure youre able to measure your actions as you move forward. Also, the more specific your goal is, the more clarity you will have. And with an optimum level of clarity, youll find it easier to take action.
- Not extremely difficult, and at the same time not very easy. There has to be a balance in the goal you choose because if your goals are not reachable, your efforts will go to waste. And if they are too easy then youll not be achieving something significant.
Remember, any brand can start posting content on social media. But without a real purpose behind it, the content wont help your brand build a social presence.
#2: Know Your Customer Well
Your prospects and customers have their own motivations/reasons for taking action. Now, unless and until you understand what pushes them or influences them, youll not be able to experience real loyalty from them. True relevance along with loyalty develops when your prospects/customers feel they have a connection to your brand, and are confident that they are being cared for.
If you want to build a strong social media presence, its important that you engage not everyone, but only your customers or potential customers. However, in order to do that, you need to find out:
- Who exactly falls under your target audience.
- Which social media platforms they use the most.
- What kind of interests they hold.
Every business that wants to effectively market itself using social media, needs to get in the shoes of their audience and truly know how they exactly engage with it. How do you do that? You need to
- Know What they Share
People share a wide variety of content on social media, which can give us deeper insight into who they are and their preferences. For example, if someone regularly shares videos and blog posts about startups, it shows that they are interested in startup-related topics. They might be an entrepreneur, an investor, a startup enthusiast or anyone. What matters is the topic they are interested, as it allows you to target them with relevant offers.
- Know Who they Follow
Now, given the amount of data you have access to on social media sites, its not difficult to find out who your customers are following or what kind of pages they follow. By analyzing your social media followers in terms of what they like to follow, youll be able to create intricate patterns that let you segment your audience into a relevant group of people that would be interested in your products.
- Know How they Engage
Building a social media audience is only one part of the equation. The other part is keeping them engaged with relevant content so that they can connect with your brand. Doing this isnt complicated. You can directly ask your followers the right questions through an email survey. Or you can also look into your analytics to get a better understanding. If you are unsure about how to do this, our team at LYFE Marketing can not only help you study/analyze your following, but also help you develop a loyal base.
Your social media presence will grow with time, given that you are putting in consistent effort. However, without knowing your prospects/customers, you wont be able to create the needed foundation for it.
#3: Develop a Multi-Channel Social Media Strategy
The importance of having a solid social media strategy cannot and should not be underestimated. Its crucial for building a firm social media presence. However, developing an effective strategy for social media is no longer a walk in the park. Gone are the days when you could simply connect with people on your social media page and everything would fall into place.
Today, there are multiple platforms out there, each with a different audience. Many businesses think that coordinating their social media marketing activities across multiple platforms is easy. But when they actually work on it, they realize that it can get complicated. Which is why it becomes necessary to coordinate and plan your social media strategy across various, relevant networks and platforms.
When your brand develops a well-integrated multi-channel social media strategy, youll be able to:
- Boost the level of engagement from your audience
- Spread more awareness about your brand
- Improve the quantity and quality of conversions
Heres how you can create multi-channel social media strategy:
- Select Platforms Your Customers Frequent
One of the reasons why businesses fail to make an impact on social media is because they choose the wrong social networks to start with. Eventually they end up spreading themselves too thin on every social media site out there.
You need to carefully select the platforms where you are likely to find your customers instead of randomly choosing one. Build your social media presence where it actually matters.
As you move forward, youll realize that some social media sites are naturally better suited for your type of business and the industry you are operating in. To help you understand better, here are a few great examples from our friends at Hootsuite:
- Companies in the manufacturing business should leverage LinkedIn as it is the best
social media site for effective B2B branding.
- Retailers should utilize the user base of social networks such as Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest because they are the easiest when it comes to sharing relevant visual content.
- Media/Entertainment companies need to build a strong social media presence on apps like Snapchat because thats where the Millennials (their target audience) hang out.
The idea is to match your business interests with those of your social media audience, and see what social network can help you achieve your goal of building a solid social media presence.
- Use A lot of Visual Content
Social media users are of all types, with different interests, at different ages. Which means the kind of content they like differs as well. However, one common and consistent element amongst them, whether they are on Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram, is the love of visual content. People on social media are more inclined towards images because humans are after all visual creatures. Which means you should share more of visual content so that you can get more likes/shares.
- Tailor Your Content for Each Platform
Having a strong social media marketing strategy will help you get better results from a social platform. And you dont have to have a unique strategy for every social media network you are on. However, if you truly want to build a real social media presence, you need to tailor your content for the platform you are focusing on.
If you look around, youll find that all social media platforms have different rules when it comes to content. For instance, the character limit you have on Twitter is different than that of Facebook. Which is why your message needs to be modified to suit each platform, keeping in mind its options & limitations.
#4: Humanize Your Brand
Regardless of the size of your company and your niche, you need to work on humanizing your brand on social media. Social media is about people having a relationship with people, not faceless corporations. Your brand needs to showcase a real personality, or else your target audience will have a hard time connecting with it.
If you think people will get impressed if you present yourself as a huge, busy company, think again. Today, in the modern times, transparency is everything. Especially knowing the fact that there are many scams going around. Which is why people want to know the human side of your company. They want to connect to it on a personal level.
Many successful brands using social media know the importance of humanizing. Youll find brands helpfully replying to customer queries, sharing useful information, and even cracking jokes with their followers. Your audience will expect your brand to have a human social media presence, or else they wont take you seriously.
Helping people connect to your brands human side goes beyond carrying out a relevant conversation. Many times its also about showing the face(s) behind the social media accounts. Create a firm connection with your followers and getting personal with them becomes easier when you share behind-the-scene photos from your workplace.
#5: Maintain Brand Consistency
Lets face it, one of the main reasons why you want to build your social media presence is to make your brand more recognizable. You want your target audience to know who you are and what you stand for. Which means mismatched photos and logos are a strict no no.
The different social media platforms you operate on may have a variety of features and unique layouts. But does that mean that your brand should try to be different on each platform? Of course not. In fact, its the opposite. Your branding should remain the same across all social media channels so that there is a level of consistency.
Whole Foods, for example, using their recognizable logo across their networks, such as Pinterest and Twitter. As youll notice, even their description is consistent.
Heres why you should take brand consistency seriously:
- When you create social media content, you want people to read it and share it. More importantly, you want people to remember you. Brands that are recognizable often get a better response to the content they post. And have a higher chance of being remembered in the future.
- Having brand recognition helps you stand out from the rest. Which not only gives you an edge over the competition, but also makes your brand memorable. If your branding isnt consistent across different platforms, youll have a hard time setting yourself apart from other competing businesses.
- Every serious business knows the importance of building loyalty and engagement amongst customers. If you want more of your customers to interact with your business, give feedback and connect at a higher level, then being recognized and remembered goes a long way.
Maintaining brand consistency is not at all hard, if you know what your brand stands for.
#6: Use a Content Calendar
Building a real social media presence is crucial for any business that wants to stand out from the rest. And the best way to ensure that youre on track to doing so is to use a proper social media content calendar. Why?
Because its easy to scatter your focus across all social media channels you are on. And having one can help you manage your business social media accounts in terms of creating and publishing content. It gives you the needed clarity without overwhelming you. The last thing you want to do is create content that delivers the wrong message about your business.
Having a social media content calendar not only helps you track your contents performance, but also lets you allocate your resources while being relevant to the interests of your target audience. Using a social media content calendar basically helps you:
- Save Time: In order to effectively build a social media presence, its important to manage time and use it efficiently. A content calendar gives you ample amount of space/time to do your homework and produce engaging content beforehand.
- Create Diversity: Armed with a social calendar, you can create and balance a diverse amount of topics according to what your audience wants. And brings down the chances of boring/overloading them with repeated topics.
#7: Post Consistent Content
If youre just starting with social media, you may not be getting many things right. Which is okay. But there are times when even businesses with experience in social media arent seeing results. This is despite the fact that they have everything in place, right from the display picture to relevant content. The real reason for their failing is they lack consistency in doing what needs to be done.
Just the way it is important to post quality and relevant content to your social media account, its also important to be consistent. You may feel that your random social media postings at random times is working, when it is not.
You not only need to be consistent in posting your content throughout the week/month, but also when it comes to engaging with your social media followers. Lack of consistency will negatively impact your brands social media presence.
In order to build a strong social media following, and to maintain it, you need to post great content on a regular basis. And once you have enough followers, you can tone down on it.
Whatever schedule you choose, daily, weekly or monthly, you need to stick to it. You may post more or choose to post less. How often you do it depends on the type of business you run and the niche youre operating in. Remember, the real key to making social media work is consistency.
According to Buffer, ideal content consistency is a four-part formula or a four-slice pizza:
- Consistent Volume
- Consistent Quality
- Consistent Voice
- Consistent Topics
This just goes on to show that proper consistency is more than just good timing. Its also about the value of your content, the choice of your topics and the trustworthiness of what you post.
#8: Focus on Helping, Not Selling
The biggest reason why youre building a social media presence is to grow your business. But that doesnt mean that you should go out there and hard sell your audience. Social selling is acceptable, but you shouldnt use your social presence to bombard your followers with buy it now offers.
Even if youre running an ecommerce business, it makes sense to push deals/offers along with valuable content so that your approach doesnt look salesy. More important than that, youll have to answer the burning questions of your followers by replying to their comments/queries in a timely manner. Or create more solution-based content that addresses the problem on hand.
When youre doing social media marketing, you have the opportunity to position your brand as a strong authority. You have the chance to impress your target audience and win customers for life. But that wont happen if you pitch one product after another. Offering real solutions to real problem makes you appear more helpful, and your products more genuine.
If you need help strengthening your social media presence, no matter which platform, our social media experts at LYFE Marketing will do just that. Contact us today to discuss a customized plan just for your business.