What does Disney’s Aladdin have to do with social media marketing you ask? Read on and you will discover why!
More and more time is being spent on Social Media and gradually business’ are waking up to this relatively new platform of communication. In this article we will discuss how to use social media and some specific ways you can get the most out of the major social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin & Pinterest.
One of the most important things to understand as a business engaging in social media is that it is a conversation. The days where a company could just blast its message over radio, television & print media are slowly dying. Consumers are becoming more savvy and importantly when they are not happy with something they will let you know about it. The consumer now has a voice and one of the best avenues to engage with them and build trust in your brand is through social media.
There are thousands of gurus out there and sometimes too much information is worse than none at all! What I share in this article is the methods I have used and those I have witnessed other successful businesses using.
As with all forms of marketing Social Media is all about consistency. There is no point blasting out 20 posts in two days and then going silent for a month. One of the best ways to manage your time spent on social media marketing is to dedicate 15 minutes a day. The afternoon is best for this, perhaps around 3pm when you are starting to glance at the clock! Get yourself a coffee, or a hot cup of tea (not energy drinks like I often stupidly do!!) and dedicate the next 15 minutes to one of the below social networks.
The most important thing is building the habit of spending 15 minutes a day, you will get used to it over time and it will become as natural a part of your day as checking emails.
Now let’s look at some specific ways of getting the most out of social media marketing
As a business owner what you want to create is a Facebook Page, think of it as your own mini website within Facebook. Be careful in choosing what you name the page, obviously your business name or your site’s main keywords are the obvious choice. You want to make it as easy as possible to be found in Facebook Search.
Fill out the About section in as much detail as you can. If anything you can copy and paste your website’s About Us section here. Be sure to include a link to your website.
Once you are set up I suggest making one or two posts a day, no more, no less. Test which times of day get the most engagement. As for what to post about it is very important not to self-promote too much here. Follow the 80/20 rule where 80% of what you post is information about your industry, questions to your readers about various topics and light-hearted banter.
Sharing funny cartoons & photos often work really well but above all BE YOURSELF! (have you worked it out yet???). As a way to build your Page’s likes be sure to participate in discussions on other pages where you can add value. Think about your ideal customer. What are his/her interests? When you have that in mind go to pages that share those interests and participate.
I could waffle on forever about Twitter but rather than that I know of no better way to get started on Twitter than following Bridie Jenner of Bridie’s Typing Services’ Guide to Twitter for Business.
In this free guide you will learn how to:
- Create & optimise your Twitter profile
- Find people to follow and how to manage them
- How to effectively use hashtags
Once again as with all social media accounts it is important to have your website address in the profile. Bridie’s Guide will go into more detail but some of the ways I have seen Twitter work for people is:
- Personally thanking every follower that follows you, even better when you can give them something of value for free, like a free ebook you have developed or just some useful advice that shows you care about the relationship being developed through Twitter
- Follow key influencers in your niche, when they tweet something you can add value to, reply with your comments and you never know you might get them engaged in a conversation with you. This positions you as an equal with other experts in your field
- Retweet posts of relevance. Similar to the above point, if you see something of value that someone you follow has tweeted, share it with your followers. Not only will you be giving your followers valuable information but it will also be appreciated by the person you retweeted and raises the likelihood they may reciprocate down the track
Linkedin is more than just an online resume. It is a great way to connect with other businesses that may be potential customers or suppliers of value adding services to you. Think of it as a less daunting way of networking than those horrible business card swapping functions!
Here are some ways to get the most out of Linkedin:
- Ask for recommendations – an extremely valuable way of building credibility is to ask for recommendations from past employers & customers. Having you endorsed by a third party adds credibility
- Complete your profile – the more complete your profile is the greater the likelihood you will show up in search results both in Linkedin and through the search engines
- Linkedin Answers – A great way of finding potential leads. You will find a lot of questions people ask here are just covert spam. They want people to answer their question so they can follow up by offering their product to you. Avoid that rubbish and look for people who genuinely want a problem solved for them. If you can solve their problem you not only build credibility with them but everyone else that reads that question.
- Join Groups – Similar to Linkedin Answers, Groups are a great way of finding potential business leads. Once again avoid the groups that consist of people spamming their marketing messages (why they think that works I will never know) and look for those rare gems of groups that are actually engaged in genuine conversation
- Link your twitter feed – Add valuable content to your Linkedin profile by linking your Twitter feed. You can choose to have all your Tweets appear or just those with #in. I highly recommend limiting it to only show #in tweets as your Linkedin connections will get annoyed by a constant stream of Tweets of conversations, which may often be social. Your Linkedin connections are looking for information, it is probably the least “social” of the social networks
Pinterest is a very recent phenomenon and has absolutely exploded over the last year or so. For those that don’t know pinterest is a visual way of sharing your interests and discovering those of your friends & family. Your profile is set up as a series of Boards where each Board is a particular interest of yours. Don’t be afraid to share personal interests here, just like Facebook, being yourself (still haven’t worked it out?) will get you the best result out of Pinterest. It may be cooking, travel, your children etc share your passion!
Further to the above here are some great ways to expose your small business on Pinterest:
- Pin your site’s content, pictures, video etc – Do you have a blog or some promotional videos, maybe some photos of work you have completed for customers? Share these links on Pinterest and be sure to have an image that will attract attention
- Engage with other boards of interest – There are presently three ways you can engage. You can like another pin, you can repin something you like to one of your boards or you can comment. Each of these are very similar to liking, sharing & re-tweeting described in the Facebook & Twitter sections above. The approach on Pinterest is the same approach you apply to those social networks.
We have covered a lot of information here. Of most importance is sticking to 15 minutes a day. Don’t be too stressed if you don’t get too far to begin with. You will get the hang of it over time. You will find particular social networks of more interest to you than others. That is fine because as I said above the most important thing to remember is to remember the lesson of Disney’s Aladdin & BEEEE YOURSELF!
If you need some help with social media marketing I suggest you check out Social Media in 7 Minutes. Could be a very useful way of managing your social media strategy.