John has established social media account on popular platforms like Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, google plus, hoping that he can grow business with social media. He tries to be active on social media, post content that he likes once in awhile. But he wonders how will he succeed in his mission, everyone is doing the same.
Any business owner who understand the importance of changing marketing trends has established his business page on social media. Many join the herd because everyone else is present there. But what to do with it? How to use social media to bring awareness about your products and services, build your business brand, grow business?
If you are like John, a passionate business owners who likes to keep up with modern marketing to beat competition and grow your business, this article will discuss some strategies that can help you grow business with social media.
I will discuss principles that business owners should be aware to use their social media presence to grow business. When you know and follow these principles you can save hundreds of dollars spent on your marketing budget and improve your ROI.
Grow business with social media: The Principles
1. Be consistent
Brand building is about remaining in top spot on prospect awareness. You can follow any social media strategy, but will not get satisfactory response unless you are consistently posting on social media. When you are consistent on social media, you remain in their mind.
But here I am not limiting consistency to only regular posting. Along with regular posting on your social media accounts you need to keep your message tone, images, and wording consistent with the brand image you want to build.
We humans have personality–our actions are consistent for a given situations. We develop behavioral patterns which we reflect in the way we talk, we walk, we dress etc. that’s what we call personality. Right?
If someone is introvert, he is introvert. If he behaves as introvert one day and as extrovert other day, people will start to call him jerk.
The same thing applies to business brands on social media. When you post content on similar topics, you build a consistent brand perception in your consumer’s mind.
Make a plan of types of content you want to share as a business brand on social media and then stick to it. Reflect your brand persona in the way you interact with your followers.
2. Present on social media where your target audience be.
Many businesses attempt to create effective presence on multiple social media, but they often fail. Why?
Because business owners have limited time to devote to social media after their hectic schedule. When they try to manage multiple social media accounts, they hardly manage to do any so called management. Things become chaotic and business owners wonder why even after devoting time and efforts, they could not build a community around their brand.
Like any community building exercise, social media community building takes its time.
People don’t trust your businesses in a day or month. To win their heart, you need to believe in real relationship, respond to them, initiate real conversation, which you cannot do for all the social media platform present on internet.
You need to prioritize social media presence based on where your target audience spend time. The largest social media may not be the place where your customer spend most time. It will vary from industry to industry, it will vary by your user location and it will vary with demographic profile of your target audience.
Choose 2-3 social media to build your brand community, interact with users, let them enjoy real conversation. Over time you will build a real fan following for your business brand.
3. Integrate your marketing effort on and off social media
Imagine when you hear about latest offer or scheme running for a business you are following on social media, you think–ok that’s great. I will walk into the store and see what they have to offer. But as you close the mobile app on your smartphone. You just forget about it.
But when you see the same offer in newspaper, billboards and hear about it on radio. It all reminds you of your plan to visit the store. This synchronization of marketing channels is known as integrated marketing approach. And you guessed it right, it is very effective to derive sales.
When a business broadcast the same message in physical media and social media, it create synergy for marketing efforts and increase likelihood of prospects becoming customers.
But, unfortunately. This integrated marketing approaching is missing from the marketing strategy of many small and medium businesses. Many a times they air a different message in their traditional advertising while discussing entirely different things with their fans on social media.
Social media are powerful marketing platforms, but to take its advantage you have to have a strategy in place and stick to it.
4. Make balance between popular content and business.
When I discuss about social media strategy with clients, almost always they want viral content on their social media accounts, they want likes on their post, retweets and all. When I ask them why do they want it? I receive the same reply—everyone is doing the same.
I question, “does that popularity brings business results for you? Or is it just a fame agenda?”
I do believe there should be shareable content on your social media account, but it should not be the only kind of content.
Shareable content will bring engagement, but it may or may not add value for your customers. For example: If I have pet care accessory store and I share a viral dog playing with children video on my social media accounts, It might brings hundreds of likes, but will it add some value to my fans?
If I share videos explaining how people can take care of their pets with some products or services I offer, it will add value to my fans who like pet care and may brings some new customers. People may not share that video on their own account, but they will thank you for such content.
When you draft your social media strategy, remember to make a balance between shareable content and value addition content which we, digital marketers, call editorial content.
5. Use social media analytics to guide your future strategy
Social Media marketing is effective not only because you can reach to a wider audience, but also because it provide valuable user insights about your audience– how do they interact with your content? What offers they like, what they don’t? When they are most active? etc.
You can predict your fans liking with social media analytics data and craft your future strategy to engage with your audience. Check the content which your audience liked; don’t hesitate to share it multiple times over a period of time.
You can run different marketing campaigns and analyze their data to know the best performing campaign and optimize your Return on Investment (ROI). With analytics data you can tell which advertising campaign worked, which didn’t, what mistakes you committed in your campaigns.
6. Don’t hesitate to give a helping hand to your existing customers on social media
These days, people go to business social media accounts before checking their website contact details. Don’t disappoint them, when they contact your business on social media for help. It solves two purposes:
1. You solve their problems at the contact point.
2. When they find a real person interacting on social media, they easily become a part of your social media community.
Many businesses take advantage of social media automation tools like Buffer, Hootsuite etc to automate their social media posting. But posting alone on social media will not build your online brand, for that you also need to interact with your audience.
Interacting with audience, when they are actively seeking your help, will leave a lasting impression on your audience and strengthen your relationship with them. Nothing can damage your reputation more than a dissatisfied customer on social media, don’t forget to focus on reputation management.
7. Be responsive/ take part in conversation
As discussed in earlier point, social media is not only about posting sharable content, it is about conversations, opinions, being social. If your audience only receives new posts from your business in their newsfeed but no human interaction, they are going to treat you like dead. Who like company of dead?
But by conversation, I don’t mean sales pitch. Social media is not the place to ask people directly to buy your products and services; it is for making connections with people. When these people will have a problem, which your product or services can solve, they will come to you because they trust you. People like to buy things from people they admire. Isn’t this common business logic?
8. Don’t hesitate to outsource
As a business owner, you have to take care of so many things to run business successfully from finance to product availability to customer support etc. Taking out time for social media from this busy schedule is difficult, but you do it.
I appreciate your dedication. But are you satisfied with your performance?
If not, you’re not alone. There are thousand business owners who want to strengthen their social media presence but cannot due to shortage of time.
Successful business owners understand the value of their time and capabilities– they know that they cannot do everything on their own and become successful at the same time.
I recommend outsourcing social media management, not because I am a digital marketer, but there are obvious advantages of it:
1. When you outsource Social Media Marketing, you can use spare time to focus on your business / family.
2. Social Media Marketing is a rapidly changing field, where tactics and strategies, which worked in the past may not produce fruitful results in future. You need to keep up with changing trends, which is routine work for Social Media agencies.
3. Consistent posting in the primary requirement for successful social media presence, which you as a business owners may find difficult to maintain, but when you outsource work, you can demand for consistency of posting.
4. Outsourcing work to an agency ensures professional management of your social media account.
5. Social Media Advertising (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram Advertising) requires training and professional advertising skills, which you can easily use for your marketing efforts by outsourcing work.
Social Media Marketing is not a holy grail of Business Growth. Business comes with connection and social media has given us the power to make those connections. It is up-to us to build trust and relationship with our social media followers to translate our marketing efforts into sales.
To develop this trust you need to be open with your followers, respond to them, be there when they need your help. When followers see your post in their social account regulars, they become habitual of it, they know your business, they trust it. That’s why consistency is the most important principle to follow on social media.
But don’t forget to strike the balance between popularity and business. Have fun on social media, but remember your mission of build trust.
If it requires outsourcing, don’t hesitate. It is an investment which will reap results over time.
Let me know, what do you think about these principles with comment. I don’t mind if you don’t agree with them.
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