It’s safe to say that Facebook, Twitter, and the like are here to stay, and while many people may assume that social networks are just places to hang out and chat with your friends, social media has become the new face of marketing. Where else can you find built-in, targeted audiences of billions who are already in a consumer mind-frame—for free?
Consider these facts:
- Each month 1.15 billion people visit Facebook, 359 million log on to Google Plus, and 215 million go on Twitter
- Consumers spend more than 34 hours per month browsing the web or using apps on their smartphones
- 93% of business marketers use social media and 70% have gained new customers because of it
- Almost two thirds of social media users check social sites at least once per day from their computers
- 70% of people will choose a business that has a strong social media presence
In this ever-growing digital age, you don’t want your business to be left behind in the analogue dust. Take advantage of these simple techniques to immediately improve your business’s social media presence and start driving traffic to your website 24/7.
customize your profile on each platform
Make no mistake—potential customers and clients are looking you up on Facebook or LinkedIn, and may go elsewhere if these social sites are lacking in information, current activity, or a clear sense of what your business is about. All your social media sites need a customized and consistent business profile in order to promote your brand.
Update your social platforms by using the same profile picture (such as your business logo) on each one, and fill out the “About Me” section with your mission statement, brief description of what you do, and your contact information.
interact with your audience
One of the benefits of social media is that consumers can now interact with brands rather than simply being given the message, as with traditional marketing (TV or magazine ads, for example). So be sure to take advantage of this and engage your audience in a way that is immediate, thoughtful, and honest.
And don’t limit yourself to one social network; communicate with your audience through a variety of channels. Host a live forum with Google+ Hangouts. Reply to comments on social media sites. Tweet a company photo for Throwback Thursday. Thank blog commenters for their suggestions. Ask your fans and followers questions about what they want, need or prefer.
post consistently and intentionally
Consistency has a cumulative effect on social engagement, so you’ll want to post at least once a day throughout the work week. As viewer numbers increase, you can adjust frequency based on analytics. And don’t just post sales-oriented content—share customer testimonials, photos of the people in your company, answer common customer questions, post funny photos or inspiring quotes, and re-post content from others in your industry.
The best times and days to post are:
- Facebook: Thursday and Friday, early afternoon
- Twitter: Monday-Friday (B2B), weekends (B2C), noon or 6pm
- LinkedIn: Tuesday-Thursday, business hours
- PInterest: Saturday, 8-11pm
- Google+: Monday-Friday, 9-11am
invest in facebook ads
The number of Americans who say Facebook is their number one purchase influencer has almost doubled since 2011, going from 24% to 47%. But now that Facebook has changed its algorithm, the best way to reach your audience (i.e. actually be seen on their news feed) is through ads and boosted posts (another type of advertising).
Facebook ads get your business seen to an audience that is as large as a TV advertising audience, allow you to specifically target who sees them, are quite easy to implement, and are very affordable—the minimum daily spend is just $1.
give something away
In his book Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is About Help Not Hype, Jay Baer explains the benefits behind giving away informative, educational material with no strings attached. Creating no-pressure touch points gets your name in front of prospects, and when they need your product or service, they’ll already be familiar with your brand.
Create inspiring blog posts about key people in your industry or geographic region. It only takes a few minutes to craft an IFTTT recipe that gets information into the hands of potential customers they can use today. Generate some feel-good moments by posting a funny or otherwise engaging YouTube video. Create an entertaining or informative infographic about your business or industry.
optimize and analyze
Don’t build a website and then forget all about it. Take advantage of the analytics provided by each of your social media platforms to identify traffic patterns, key entry points, most popular posts, and keywords. With this information in hand, you can try posting at different times, on different days, or with different content. Pay attention to which posts inspire the most engagement in order to refine your posting schedule and duplicate that formula.
You’ll also want to optimize your social media by ensuring that specific keywords are included. The majority of people use keyword-based queries when looking for a service or product, so increase your chances of being found by using the same words and phrases that your target demographic is using to find you.
build relationships with major social media influencers
Engage social media influencers. Keep an eye on who shares your Twitter content, then follow them, favorite their tweets, and retweet them. You don’t want to be known only among consumers, but among your business peers and within your industry, too, so be sure to follow this protocol for both customers and other organizations. Share other business blogs and remember to tag them so that they’ll be alerted to your “shout out.” When you speak favorably of other businesses, they’ll respond in kind.
expand your sphere with google plus and linkedin groups
Join existing groups in your industry in order to be a part of the conversations that people are already having. Ask and answer group questions. Can’t find a relevant group to join? Start your own, then post the link on your other social networking sites. Become the go-to resource for people looking for information in your industry.
create tips and lists with foursquare
Foursquare is all about community and helpful information. Create lists that readers can use to find favorite eateries, real estate agents, organic markets, or anything you think might be helpful. Build authority by posting tips on your business location and contributing to conversations on other business sites.
As you can see, building a strong, thriving social presence isn’t that hard once you know what to do. Most of these techniques don’t take long to implement and you can start reaping the rewards almost immediately!