If you haven’t joined social media yet, don’t worry. It’s never too late to get onto social media and leverage the power of those platforms to market your business. But if you still
feel that you’ve missed the boat, here’s something to consider: Many companies are still doing it wrong and failing to engage and retain customers.
Here are five ways to ensure that you get started on the right foot and don’t miss any more opportunities.
1. Provide value
It can be a little daunting when you start out on social media and have zero followers – how do you go about building a community of followers that are organic, relevant and engaged? The first step is by introducing yourself to the community and getting them to notice you. Start by following other accounts and engaging with them. Comment on key
influencer accounts and offer genuine input, feedback or expertise. Help your followers find what they’re looking for online. Answer their questions and engage with them online.
Take a few minutes every day to comment on key influencer accounts and offer your honest opinion, and not just a generic ‘like’. If you do this genuinely and intelligently, you’ll start capturing people’s attention and building your network quickly.
2. Optimise your time spent on social media
Social media marketing can be addictive and a time-consuming process, so it’s a good idea to use tools like HootSuite to tie all of your accounts together and schedule posts to appear at pre-determined times. This will allow you to create your content as you see fit, and have it automatically posted, without having to manually do it multiple times a day. The additional benefit is that it can help if you have audiences in different time zones. Posting something at 10pm EST may work in some time zones, but most of your UK audience will be asleep.
Develop a calendar of the best times to post based on the audience you would like to interact with and let the scheduling tool do the rest.
3. Create unique and compelling content – with third party validation
Your social media account should have its own unique ‘personality’. What makes you different from your competitors and why should customers care? Creating your social identity includes coming up with your own style of posts, unique hashtags, running competitions and giveaways, developing memes, and ultimately, thinking outside the box to make people want to follow you and be engaged with whatever you decide to post next.
Not only should your tone of voice, visuals and overall content be unique, but you should aim to further validate and amplify your USP by posting links to blogs and articles that are talking about you, highlighting your accomplishments, promoting your news, etc.
Third party validation is one of the cornerstones of a successful social media marketing strategy.
4. Be authentic with followers
People respond to authentic content – they want to interact with real people, not bots, and are very savvy when it comes to knowing which of the two they are dealing with. People also don’t want to be spammed with irrelevant or self-promoting content; they want to feel appreciated for interacting with you.
Always remember to acknowledge and thank followers for posting and sharing your content. Moreover, return the favour whenever you can and watch your community grow. Slowly you’ll start to see a rise in followers and engagement.
In most small businesses, it’s usual to have the owners or founders manage the social media, but as the business grows and the social media marketing efforts are outsourced, it is critical to remain true to your followers and always ensure an authentic connection that is grounded in ‘real’ conversations.
5. Leverage the power of your connections
Social media is more than a way to generate sales – it’s a great tool to create a wide global network that can be galvanised into action. It’s also an opportunity to get to know people from your industry that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to access. So, ensure that you purposefully create relationships with thought-leaders and people of influence that have a wide group of followers in their own right.
There is great power in collaborating with influencers, who, in turn, can have a significant impact on the social media success of your brand. A retweet or a shout-out from the right influencer can ensure your brand or content gets in front of a whole new legion of hundreds of potential customers.
Zaib Shadani is the managing director of Shadani Consulting