Social media isn’t going anywhere any time soon. And because it allows you to share news quickly and engage with customers in real-time, social media has significant marketing potential for brands and businesses.
But while social media is more fun than, say, writing a sales letter, it should be approached just as strategically as any other marketing effort to ensure maximum return on the investment of your time and effort. It’s also important to remember that everything you share online is a reflection on your brand.
With that in mind, here are some tips for creating a strong social media presence for your brand, whether you’re just entering the social media waters or want to evaluate your existing strategy.
- Choose wisely. There are many social media sites, and unless you have a large, dedicated social media team, you can’t realistically participate in all of them consistently and effectively. It’s better to focus your efforts where your customers and prospects are, so poll you customers to see which sites they use. It’s also a good idea to research which social sites your competitors are active on, and look at what they’re posting and how much engagement they get.
- Share strategically. Don’t just post about your brand and your products. Instead, focus on providing value to, and engaging with, your target audience. Share links, images, and news they will find useful. What do you want to be known for? Maybe you can be the brand that encourages conversations about key industry issues, or that runs a fun trivia contest every month. To boost engagement, ask open-ended questions, run polls, and ask people to “like” your posts.
- Include images and graphics with your posts. They stand out more in the news feed and are more likely to be shared by your followers. Professional product photos with key facts, scenic or humorous images, informative slideshows, and compelling infographics are all highly shareable. There are a number of free image sites, or check out sites like Canva that make it easy to create attractive graphics for free. This article has additional visual content resources.
- Be human and genuine. Social media provides brands with the opportunity to show their human side and “personality.” Post pictures of your staff, video and pictures from a company picnic or community service day, or a video tour of your office or factory. Thank people when they comment on or share your posts.
- Be consistent. Social media is about engagement, so pages that haven’t been updated in months create a poor impression. Many brands create a content calendar to help them plan their social media posts weeks or even months in advance. And of course you can (and should) add in posts about breaking news or industry developments as they happen.
- Respond quickly. Brands that take days to respond to comments and questions from followers create the impression that they don’t care. Schedule times to check your accounts every day and respond quickly to comments, questions and posts.
Many people now expect to find brands on social media. Careful thought and strategic planning will help you get the most out of this valuable marketing opportunity.