Why do you need social media for your business? Let me count the ways. With so many best practices to implement, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and lose focus on your goals. Here are five key ways that you can leverage social media to help you jumpstart your marketing efforts.
Find Your Audience
If you haven’t already begun setting up your social media presence, or if you’re unsure if your current social media efforts are reaching the right people, it’s important for you and your business to understand where current and targeted audiences live online. There are few ways to determine who your audience is and where they are online.
Based on data, here’s a pretty in-depth look of who’s using social media and what channels they’re most likely to use.
If you have emails from customers, prospective customers and others, you can use tools that let you upload the email addresses to see what social media platforms are associated with them. Kind of creepy, yes, but very helpful. Of course, it’s only as good as the email addresses you have and if they are the same emails people used to create their social media profiles.
If you’re still not sure where your audience is — ask them! You can informally — when they’re in your store or you can send a survey to ask them or add a field at checkout. If you take the time to learn from your audience, the intelligence you gain will be invaluable.
Join the Conversation
If you’re new to social media or just don’t really get it— it’s okay! But if you’re willing to learn, there are things you can do to familiarize yourself with social media. Pick a platform — any platform — and commit to engaging with it regularly for 2 weeks. Start out slow. Sign up and create a social media profile. Then follow people you like — notable celebrities, brands, politicians, local personalities, media outlets — and then watch. Become a voyeur.
Establish a schedule. Each morning, take 15 minutes —over coffee or on the train to work, pick up your phone, or take out your laptop and start sifting through your feeds. You don’t need to do anything, just scroll.
Do this again for 15 minutes at lunch. Then again before bed or while you’re watching TV. Soon you’ll notice that you’re clicking on links, perhaps finding information you might not have discovered before, and more. After a few days of this, you might even be inspired to share the information you find with your networks — as I’m sure you will have gained some followers bit by bit.
Maybe by week 2, you’ll be inclined to reply to someone or mention someone or start using a hashtag. The more familiar and comfortable you become, the more at ease you’ll feel. You’ll start to understand the ebb and flow of information, and maybe even start to find it fun!
Now, for those of you who are already on social media, but are feeling a little stifled or uninspired, there are things you can do to find your mojo and get back into the swing of things. Participate in a live Twitter chat — either around a specific topic related to your industry — or around your favorite TV show or sports event. Engaging in real-time conversations may help you connect with new people, or discover new ideas and gain new insights.
And for those of you who are ready to take things to the next level — start creating your own content. Whether it’s publishing an original post on LinkedIn, uploading a video to YouTube or starting your own Periscope — your content can help engage others and inspire new people to join the conversation.
Go Behind the Scenes
Everyone loves an exclusive look. Thanks to platforms like Facebook Live, Vine, Instagram, Periscope and more, it’s easier than ever to provide your follows with a look behind the scenes. Whether you’ve received a new shipment, are setting up for a big event, or just hanging out at the office – if you can provide a quick glimpse, customers are sure to find it interesting.
Customers only see you when you’re in the store. And if they’re not in the store, they’re likely not understanding who and what you do. Give them an opportunity to put faces to names to further develop your brand’s persona.
Listen, Learn, Reward
Chances are your customers or prospective customers are already engaging with your content in fun and clever ways. Here are some ways you can monitor and listen to what customers are already saying.
On Pinterest: use pinterest.com/source/companyURL
You can see what people are already pinning from your site, even if you’re not on Pinterest.
On Facebook, Twitter or Instagram: type in your company name or location
Pay attention to the words users are using. How might you be able to incorporate them into your marketing, keywords, tags?
Perform random acts of kindness by randomly rewarding people who organically share your content with exclusive coupons, promo codes or other small tokens of your appreciation. Word of Mouth marketing will likely result, letting others know how great you are for rewarding customers for sharing your products or saying nice things about you.
As well, you can use social media to amplify in-store deals, flash sales and other “in the moment” promos simply by posting codes that can only be used by people following you on a specific channel.
By taking an active interest in your audience you can learn from their behaviors and establish a random rewards program that demonstrates that you’re listening and monitoring your audience online.
Give your customer something to talk about
By focusing on exemplary customer experiences, customers are likely share their experiences with their networks. Encourage users to share their stories on social. Train your employees to monitor social media to reply to questions, comments and concerns in a timely, friendly and helpful manner.
Integrate social media in to the customer journey as a way to add value — encourage customers to take video/photos in store, share their purchase after checkout and empower customers to leave reviews. Use social media to check in with customers after purchase.
Great customer service is hard to find and that’s why people share about their experiences with others. By providing a fun, helpful and valuable experience, your customers will have something wonderful to talk about!