Go anywhere these days, in fact don’t even leave your home, and what do you find? No, it’s not infomercials for the next great cooking gadget that solves a problem that never existed. It is references to social media. Every company, business, person, dog, cat, and mythological creature has a social media presence. A few years back parents were mad at their kids spending countless hours on a certain social “space”. Well it has expanded from that and now the parents and grandparents aren’t questioning kid’s social media usage, they’re sending the kids stupid jokes and photos.
Yeah that’s right, social media has spread to the masses. You have it, your grandma has it, your nephew has it, your employer has it, and your favorite store has it…notice a trend? A recent article by Fast Company about social media usage statistics provided some staggering figures. Some of the facts like “Social Media has overtaken porn as the No. 1 activity on the web” are just funny, while others like “93% of marketers use social media for business” show us the direction commerce is going.
Regardless of if you are using social media for personal usage, to promote yourself, or to promote your business, it is an interracial part of the way people relate and communicate and is here to stay. So how can you use one of the most powerful communications ever to your benefit? Read on and find out.
20 Tips For An Awesome Social Media Strategy
1. Integrate your web presence with your social media content
Let’s face it, you have your email address, perhaps you have ten email addresses. They are easy to get and free. You also have a web site. These days you can build it yourself for free, no knowledge necessary, or you hire an HTML expert to do lots of confusing stuff and build a site that dominates all. So how exactly do you get the customer or client from your email or web site, to your social media? Let’s face it; you and your business don’t look so stellar with only 12 followers. People judge this stuff, if a teenage girl has 300 followers, than your seemingly successful business should have tens of thousands.
Establish an email newsletter, or if you have one, great. Now be sure that each issue not only provides links to your social media content but also references it. Tell the readers that if they go to your page and complete some function there is an incentive. Say this “visit us on ____ (insert your page info) and comment on _____ (whatever creative thing you come up with) and receive a 30% coupon code.” Now you are enticing them to go to your page and rewarding that effort. Try it.
2. Open up your perspective
You’re not dictating to the board of directors here, you’re talking to the everyday average Joes and Janes that frequent your business. Sure they’re smart but social media is about being social, not suit and tie stiff in the board room.
3. Give them a path to follow
Add buttons and links to your site. Every social media provider has predesigned HTML buttons that you can customize and pop in your site in seconds. Don’t hide them on some random subpage. Put them right there on the main page of your web site. Go ahead and do it, I’ll wait.
All done? What you have just done is invited your customers and clients to join you. People love to feel like they belong. Getting them to join in on your social media content makes them part of your business and not just a client. And think of it this way, if one person likes your page their friends will see it and be lead to check you out as well. They are called followers for a reason.
4. Relate, don’t dictate to your followers
Nobody will ever doubt the power of advertising. However, social media is more of a relaxed media. Relate to your customers. Be one of them, not a dictator. In fact, Social Media Examiner talks about accessing and knowing your audience. Seeing as they are not just a number, make people feel welcome at your business and make them want to return.
Let’s say you own a restaurant, if you actually own one even better. Ads talking about your new dish or sandwich are great. However putting up a post about it and discussing it is better. Tell them the process behind it, where you came up with the idea. Show them a video of you making it. And post photos! People love photos, why else would Instagram exist? Get creative with some photo editing and include power words in your photo. Show them the sandwich with bold words talking about its attributes.
The point here is not to lay down a sales pitch; people know when they’re being baited. Relate to them, imagine you are your customers and share with them.
5. Involve your entire workforce
Are you a one man (woman) show or do you have an entire staff at your disposal? Your social media content should always be fresh and up to date. Who has gone to a page for their favorite restaurant or store only to see their last post was six weeks ago? If you are too busy to stay atop it then consider enlisting a social media content person. As a primary or additional job function they will make daily posts about sales, specials, and everything that’s breaking news for your business. People enjoy fresh content and they enjoy interaction.
6. Know what they know
There is a chance that people on your staff have special skills you didn’t even know. Is the guy in the mail room a part time filmmaker? Well enlist him to make some video content. Does your waitress dabble in graphic design? Ask and you may be surprised. These are assets you already have on hand and it can be vastly cheaper than hiring outside professionals.
7. Know when you need help
What if you are not a writer though? Yeah maybe you can cook a gourmet dinner with just water, salt, and a mint, yet you are far from a wordsmith. The internet has a solution to everything, even to your social media content writing problems. Before you think it sounds crazy, check it out. Having someone do the leg work for you is way better than a Facebook page that looks like a ghost town.
8. Give your customers/followers their 15 minutes of fame
Imagine this scenario; a woman patronizes your coffee shop every morning. She is a dedicated customer to you and your brand. Grab a picture of her and post it online. Not only will it make her day, but it tears down that wall. Social media content is all about tearing down the walls of society. It’s about letting others into your world. Customers will feel valued if you make them feel like they are part of the family and not just a client.
This is also a perfect opportunity to reward your social media followers. Hold contests and include them. Make them earn some great stuff but make it fun.
9. Stake your claim
About twenty years ago it was a popular trend to buy up popular names as domains. You could have scored WalMart.com for a few dollars. Wal-Mart would have to come in and pay you to get their name for their web site. Maybe you bought it for $10.00 and now can ask the moon for it. Unfortunately, those were the days when the internet was just emerging as a powerhouse. Nowadays domain and now social media names are getting snatched up. Go to Facebook or Twitter and try to find your friend Bob Smith. You’ll have to sift through Bob Smiths until next Thursday before you find him.
10. Get unique and stand out
People need to find your business as fast as possible and they can’t do that if they’re sifting through 500 similar names or some obscure name that has nothing to do with you. Consider this:
- Grab up your company name as soon as possible. Don’t be stuck after the fact because someone else grabbed it up.
- If your name is taken then get unique. Why do you think so many celebrities go on Twitter as @TheReal____ (insert your favorite singer/actor). If you’re restaurant is called Sanchez Mexican Grill it may be taken. So become EatSanchezMexicanGrill. Adding the simple word ‘EAT’ sets you apart.
11. Hear the voice of your followers
You decide the image and voice of your business, as well, you should, it’s yours! There is a flip side to that though; you have to give the people what they want. Ask opinions and ask for ideas. Let your customers have a voice and suggest things. Do they want more gifts always from your Facebook page? Do they want to see photos of your daily specials on Instagram?
Jay Baer a social media expert on Convince and Convert says it best when talking about an 8-step social media strategy: “Listen and compare.”
12. Stay up on what’s up
A few years back it seems like Myspace was poised to take over the world. Then along came a startup social network known as, anyone? Yes, Facebook. And, it literally blew Myspace out of the water. Coke and Pepsi have battled it out for years; the internet though is proving ruthless. What is popular this morning may as well be a ghost town by tomorrow night. Look at it this way, if people can become overnight millionaires using the internet, the empire can fall just as fast.
13. Get the jump on trends
Stay up on what the new developments in social media content are. This is a time when trends are worthy. Get on board with whatever the next big thing is because people want to find you. In fact, register accounts and reserve your name over all platforms just as a safety net. After all, it is free; if the site fizzles then all you lost was five minutes and a few key strokes.
14. Get interactive
One of our recent blogs on social media writing tips mentions using a call to action. Think about your own Facebook or Twitter usage? Do you read each individual post or do you scroll through and just browse. Success in business is all about being seen and exposure. You are losing exposure if you’re just a random post in a long scrolling line.
Reach out and grab your audience. Require them to click links to your site. Make them stop to watch a You Tube video. Post a crazy picture that begs attention. If your customers and fans need to complete tasks and be interactive, then you are a speed bump in the scroll.
15. Never be without
What, no sale going on? No new dish at your restaurant? Then what is there to talk about? As stated before, don’t let your social media content dry up and look like a ghost town. Make a list of alternative posting materials. How about a poll? One of my favorite nutritional supplement companies often goes on Facebook and asks their fan base what they are working out today. “Who has a leg day today?” As silly as it sounds it gets people talking and is better than nothing.
16. Acknowledge the die-hards
We are talking about that guy or gal who is on your company Facebook all the time liking your photos and participating in your polls. They retweet all your big news; they share your voice just because they love your brand. Well give them their due. Establish a Fan of the Week. Showcase their photo, give them an incentive, etc. Come on, show them the love back.
Just as you shouldn’t let your social media content hit a standstill, you shouldn’t ignore the people who are trying to be social. If you get messages be sure to respond to them personally. Answering questions and addressing concerns mean a lot to people.
18. Censor yourself
Sure, freedom of speech is good – but to what extent? Keep commentary about politics, religion, and personal opinions out of your posts. If you wouldn’t say it to customers in your store, don’t post it online.
19. Weigh the cost
If web design and hosting isn’t in your budget then guess what? Social media is free. Within the last couple of years Facebook and Twitter pages are visited more frequently than actual web sites. It is perfectly fine to maintain your web presence through just social media.
20. Have fun
Social media is a powerful online tool for your business. Don’t get overwhelmed by it. Just have fun with it. The more fun you have putting into it, the more fun your followers get out of it.
Now go implement these things and see what it does for your business.