NOTE: This blog represents Part 2 of 2 in a series on how businesses can optimize their social media marketing. To read our first blog in this installment, click here.
Social media marketing is quickly becoming one of the more prominent aspects of marketing. Whether through Instagram and Twitter or LinkedIn and TikTok, 91.9% of companies use social media as part of their marketing strategy. Clearly, the world is quickly becoming a digitally-connected community, and businesses are recognizing that in order to go where their customers are, they have to go online. But as this digital shift occurs, it leaves many business owners and marketing teams wondering how to interact and engage with their audience online. Despite what one might initially believe, running a social media account is much more complex than it might appear. It takes deliberate strategy, constant planning, and an accurate knowledge of your target audience.
So then, for those just starting out and those hoping to grow, how does one best go about managing a business social media account?
For us at SpeakClear, it is recommended that you start the process by asking five simple questions:
Who (i.e. What Types of People) Should I Target?
Establishing a proper online presence first and foremost depends on the identification of a business’ target audience as it is they who determine where the focus of sales and marketing efforts are to be directed. Identifying a target market breaks down the overall market into different segments determined by shared characteristics (i.e. age, ethnicity, location, interests, etc.) from which the most profitable market segment or segments can be chosen. Doing so more efficiently uses time, money, and resources for marketing, including social media marketing.
Consider current customers, who they are and their demographics, the insights they offer as to the major commonalties shared amongst the topmost customers. Further, contemplate who in particular benefits the most from the product or service. Even engagement in social listening, or monitoring relevant keywords and hashtags already in existence on social media to see what people and potential future customers are saying about the business’ brand and industry, helps in obtaining data pertaining to whom should be targeted. Narrow down the information collected into a particular niche of people who would best be targeted.
Once the target audience has been recognized, the specific platform to which they are drawn can be revealed and thus used by the business to engage with current and attract new potential customers. Most promotional tools on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, etc. allow parameters to be set around the desired audience so a business can target exactly for whom the brand is most relevant aka the target audience.
Where (i.e. On Which Platforms) Should I Post?
The topmost used platforms as of 2021, in order from greatest to least, include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Each platform offers a different purpose and audience to which a business’ account must be tailored. To determine which platform is most relevant to a particular business, view our previous blog post.
When Should I Post?
The key to determining when to post should strictly adhere to one thing: a posting schedule. No matter the platform, a schedule is very much needed in order to successfully manage a business account. A posting schedule differs depending on the business and the desired outcome of using social media marketing, but without one, there runs the risk of over-posting and becoming annoying or under-posting and becoming irrelevant. Generally, it is recommended that businesses post at least 1-2x a week, but depending on the size of the company and nature of their audience, some companies might post multiple times a day.
- Every Post Must be Purposeful
Although maintaining a regular account presence is recommended, be careful not to post needlessly and risk overwhelming your audience with irrelevant content. For instance, if you have developed a posting schedule that requires a new post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, yet struggle to find interesting and relevant items to post on that schedule, then simply move to a Tuesday and Thursday schedule. Instead of forcing a post that lacks quality or is off-brand simply to maintain your “presence,” it is okay to wait a few days or a week until you have more meaningful content to share.
- Learn Your Audience’s Online Schedule
A schedule has been established, quality has been guaranteed, leaving the time of day to be determined. The most beneficial time is during business hours, i.e. between 8am and 5pm. Doing so places the post on someone’s feed when they are most likely to view it, whether during their lunch hour, work break, or mid-afternoon scrolling.
What Should I Post?
When something is posted only holds so much power, though, if the content of the post is not of a good quality. What is considered a quality post, though? In the simplest of terms, a post that provokes engagement from followers, potential customers, etc. is one of substantial quality.
- Interacting with Loyal Audience
One way to provoke engagement is through keeping the already loyal audience interactive. Such can be done through offering exclusive promotional codes, discounts, inexpensive giveaways, etc. on only social media accounts. Brand loyalty is a crucial component to any business, and through continuous engagement with those who are already loyal and demonstrate such by following the business’ accounts on social media, the customers remain loyal as well as bring in other potential customers who are attracted to said engagement.
- Company Announcements, News, Etc.
Similarly, social media can be used for the revealing of exclusive news, current projects, etc. which are unavailable elsewhere. This allows followers to feel special and important because they know something no one else does. Thus, it makes existing customers more likely to further engage with the social media account and expand to prospective customers.
- Initiating Conversation
Another way to provoke engagement is through the initiation of conversation. Whether through calls to action, contests, advertisements, interactive captions, etc., initiating conversation amongst the online community increases brand awareness as well as the influx of potential customers. Doing so especially in the comments of a post assists in these increases through the sense of connection established amongst followers.
- Sharing Employee & Customer Successes
Establishing a connection or a relatability amongst customers and followers encourages further engagement as well. One means of doing such is through sharing stories of people who have used the business’ product or service and cast it in a positive light. People are attracted to stories, especially relatable ones, so thus, the inclusion of sharing positive experiences adds an attractive feature more likely to provoke engagement from customers.
- Consistent Personality
The most important aspect of any post on any social media platform is consistency. A business must remain consistent in how they showcase themselves online. Whatever personality the brand has adopted needs to shine through every post in order to remain attractive in the customers’ eyes. For example, if a business’ personality revolves around engaging with customers in a joking fashion, the business can respond to a comment in a teasing manner, but each response to a comment must be humorous as well, not simply pick-and-choose.
- Platform Tailored Posts
While a business’ personality should remain consistent, the post itself should differ on every platform. If a customer follows multiple platforms, they do not want to see on Facebook the exact same post they just saw on Instagram five minutes ago. Moreover, the audience for each platform often differs, so tailoring a post towards that particular platform, i.e. the younger generation of Twitter as opposed to the professional audience of LinkedIn, increases the chance for a more positive response.
How Do I Promote and Expand?
The post is of great quality, posted at the proper time, and yet the million-dollar question still remains: how does one promote? At a time when the average person is exposed to 4,000-10,000 advertisements a day, it is not always easy to stand out. However, this list of following tricks should help.
- Complete Your Profile
First and foremost, the post only matters so much if the account’s profile is not properly and completely filled out. Whether the “About” page on Facebook and LinkedIn or the profile on Instagram and Twitter, each platform should include all a business’ information, including their website, contact information, and other social media accounts.
- Cross Promote
In terms of promoting the social media accounts themselves, cross promoting is a crucial component. Cross promotion increases the likelihood of customers following the business’ accounts across all platforms. This includes a business incorporating their Instagram username on their Facebook “About” page, etc., adding the list and links to all of the accounts on their website, mentioning the accounts in their newsletters, and even featuring them in their email signatures. The continued reiteration of the accounts acts as a call to action for customers to follow the accounts and tag them in the pictures posted on their personal accounts for others, increasing brand awareness through expanding the audience to include those that follow the individual customers.
- Experiment with Social Media Ads & Marketing Features
Although many small businesses will have slim marketing budgets, investing even $8-10 dollars to promote specific posts on social media can garner thousands of impressions and a consistent source of new followers. Used by 83% of marketers, social media advertising was ranked second in success behind search engine marketing. Experiment with what works best, and then focus your spend on those types of posts to generate the most return on your budget.
- Partner with Other Businesses
Another way to increase brand awareness is through tagging or shouting out other companies that assisted in whichever project the post displays. Not only does this expand the audience to include the other company’s, but it also establishes a relationship between the two businesses and increases the likelihood the other company will also tag or shoutout in their next post.
- Utilize Hashtags
Using hashtags in captions further broadens a post’s reach. No more than one or two #hashtags should be included within a post to prevent potential overkill, and they should be the most relevant and important to the post as well as industry specific. A lot of businesses also like to create their own individualized hashtag to include in their profile and posts, which encourages customers sharing their own photos to use said hashtag, attracting their followers to the business’ page and thus broadening the audience and reach.
- Involve Your Employees
Another example of what to post which actually contributes greatly to promotion involves the inclusion of employees. Employees from various departments offer different perspectives as well as expertise or knowledge of how the business runs or the business itself. Posting about their experiences while working at and for the business at hand adds yet another sense of relatability to the customers. Further, it encourages the employees to share the post on their own personal accounts which promotes the post as well as broadens the audience of the business’ profile.
- Use Analytics and Insights
With specific regard to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn business accounts, these platforms offer the ability to view the analytics and insights of an individual post whereas Google Analytics offers insight into the overall social media platform. Using this features not only assists in helping the business understand which type of posts provoke the most engagement and traffic, but also the type of audience each post has reached. Knowing the date of what type of audience allows for a business to create advertisements targeted specifically towards the audience on that particular platform.
Social media marketing requires the strategy, understanding, and knowledge of where to, when to, what to, and how to promote a post. Once these have been learned and initiated, all that is lastly needed is time and determination, and social media marketing is guaranteed to meet whichever goals or desires established as the purpose for engaging in whatever platforms.
Lastly required for the practice of social media marketing is to assure that once brand awareness, loyalty, and all that was desired to be achieved has been established through the use of social media, the rest of a business’ online presence matches, including website design, copywriting, email marketing, etc. To guarantee or seek assistance, we encourage you to contact our experts for more help and advice.
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