Social media has become a global phenomenon over the last decade, as well as connecting people it gives businesses tremendous opportunities to communicate directly with potential and existing customers, build brands, and ultimately grow.
With all these new found opportunities seemingly at hand it’s far too easy to get over-excited and try to do everything, all at once. However, despite all the ads you will see on a regular basis telling you how to ‘Double your Facebook/Twitter/YouTube/add name here following in 1 week’, unless you have unlimited resources it can be a lot of work to achieve the goals you set.
Incidentally, the vast majority of these ads are after one thing far more valuable than anything they are offering you i.e. your e-mail address. There really is no such thing as a free lunch.
I’ll also add here that in many instances the number of followers is more about vanity than sales. You could have 200k followers but if you've bought 90% of your list or they are just after a refollow then your efforts will be wasted.
The reality is, if you want to really succeed with social media, you will have to put in some hard work. Where you can really save time is setting yourself proper goals, researching the social media channels, and then deciding which are the best for your business.
Be great at one or two, rather than overstretched on many.
There are a number of options available now, in this blog we’re just going to stick with the obvious ones you are most likely to consider.
With 330 million users, Twitter is the channel of choice for many companies. Although relatively low on the list of active users compared to other channels where it excels is the number of posts generated. The latest figures suggest 500 million posts every single day, which represents a great opportunity but also a risk of being buried in the avalanche. The need for eye-catching messages, targeted to specific groups is absolutely key to visibility.
Whilst you want to target your list of followers for your account, the use of hashtags means you can hit a far wider audience who are genuinely interested. Give them the right content and they will become followers too. For small, local businesses it is often useful to find small local networks operating at specific times during the week, usually for one hour. These are a great way of announcing yourself to your most likely customers and quickly building up a follower base.
Recent statistics show that Facebook now has 2.07 billion active users which makes it an obvious choice. The use of specific user groups means it is easy to find your audience and interact with them. Be aware though that many of these groups do not allow posting of ads, so you will need a more subtle approach. Build relationships in these groups, once they trust you they will seek out your page and more likely than not, follow you. It takes time but it’s worth it…people buy from people they trust.
Seen as far more the business to business social network, LinkedIn is a really good fit for many companies wishing to raise their profile on social media. It has long been the social media channel you use to ‘put yourself in the shop window’ and is a particular favourite with recruitment agencies for that reason.
However, it is far more than that and can be a great tool for getting a greater understanding of the companies you want to do business with. Once you have a contact in a company, you can read their profile, and more importantly have a look at their contacts list. More often than not you will see their work colleagues, and from that be able to build up a detailed organogram of the company.
LinkedIn is also becoming a popular choice for launching new products, once you have established a list of contacts any ads you post will go directly to them.
Although it’s often seen as the poor relation to those channels previously mentioned, there are good reasons to look more closely at developing your Google+ strategy.
Firstly, it’s a part of Google and anything you post there is likely to get indexed far more quickly than posts elsewhere. Posting blog articles on Google+ is good SEO practice, it definitely won’t do your page ranking any harm. Google+ uses communities which are usually highly specific, meaning anything you post to these groups will hit your target audience.
There are numerous other channels to consider, particularly YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest which are also worthy of consideration depending on your business and your target market.
The key to starting out on social media isn’t much different to the way you would initiate a regular sales and marketing process. It’s all about understanding your target market, understanding your options and building your strategy and goals around that. Once you’ve done that, engage and build those relationships with the people that really matter.
Yes, it can be hard work, and can take a considerable amount of time, but there really are no shortcuts without spending significant amounts of money.
For recommended reading on social media marketing, please click here
Delta Blue was formed to provide support and advice to start ups and SME's.
Disclosure: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, which means, at no additional cost to you, we will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.