While building a social media audience can be a useful marketing tool for any business, it’s essential to develop a game plan so your efforts don’t waste time, drain resources and generate negative ROI. Avoiding the following mistakes and pitfalls can help your social media strategies stay on track.
Building your social media audience requires a lot of patience. It’s easy to dive head first into every social media platform available and assume that the increased exposure will result in a larger following and, eventually, more conversions. But if you’re trying to be in too many places at once, the engagement you’re trying to cultivate will ultimately suffer.
The key is to start small and concentrate on just one platform. Trying to run a business and also find time to be active on every social media platform is a daunting task to say the least. Narrowing your focus, especially when you’re just beginning, will allow you to create better content and get the best return on your time investment. Through practice and experience, managing that one platform will become easier and less time consuming, allowing you to then move on to the next network.
If the idea is to start with a single social media network, it’s important to choose the right one. To do so, you first need to understand the benefits and downsides to each and decide which platform(s) will benefit your business.
With over 1.3 billion users, Facebook’s user list eclipses the population of China. While that sounds inviting, it can also mean a lot of “noise” interfering with your message. People tend to use Facebook to build relationships and keep contact with old friends, making it a good platform to build the loyalty of your existing customers. Unfortunately, due to its large population, your posts have a limited reach, even within your own networks, so it may be difficult to reach a new audience.
With its use of hashtags and trending topics, Twitter offers insight into what topics are currently being talked about. And because of its global reach, Twitter is an excellent platform to build brand awareness. You can also use Twitter to provide real time updates to your audience, and to announce promotions or events.
Since Pinterest is a visual-based “scrapbooking” platform, you’ll need strong graphics to entice users to “pin” your content to their board. It can be a great platform to promote photography, art, fashion, food, DIY projects and more. Generally, female users dominate the Pinterest demographic.
With over 1 billion users, and a reach that extends far past that, YouTube has become one of the world’s largest search engines. And, because you don’t have to sign up to view YouTube content, it’s a great platform to provide informational and instructional videos. Service industry businesses should definitely consider offering YouTube content.
People use LinkedIn to search for jobs and to network professionally. The audience tends to be older than other social media platforms, including high numbers among ages 30-49. LinkedIn is useful for B2B lead generation, networking, and recruiting employees.
Instagram is one of the fastest growing platforms, especially among younger users. Because it relies on visuals to generate conversation, similar to Pinterest, it can be a great platform to promote photography, art, fashion, food and more.
Because Google+ is linked to Google Search, it carries more weight in driving traffic to your website and can be a useful component of any SEO strategy. Typically, Google+ is known for an older male demographic.
Users are relying more and more on social media interaction to begin or further their relationships with businesses. Make sure you have a way of being notified about user communications on your social media accounts. When someone reaches out to you with a comment or question, you MUST respond quickly and professionally. Failing to respond to messages in a timely manner will only lead to customer dissatisfaction.
Social media is entirely about generating a conversation. If many of your posts are self-promotions, your audience may become bored or worse. No one likes the person who only talks about themselves, so it’s good to share the spotlight to keep the content interesting.
However, it’s important that you don’t go too far and forget to promote your own offers on occasion. Your audience follows you because they’re interested in your products or services. If you never post about yourself, users may begin to look elsewhere.
It’s important to develop the right balance of sharing external content, engaging followers, and promoting yourself.
It’s extremely important to know the content you’re sharing. Simply reading a headline or scanning the text is not enough. By sharing content, you’re making a recommendation to your audience. Since this can affect what customers think of you, make sure you’re not sharing something that can diminish your reputation.
Growing a social media audience needs to be a long-term strategy. When done effectively, your time investment will be rewarded. If you have any questions, or need help developing a social media game plan, please don’t hesitate to contact us!