Social Media is a really powerful marketing tool,

After all it is where most of your customers spend their time online – no matter what line of business you are in. Unfortunately, very few businesses, whether B2B or B2C get their social media strategy right.

 

Ineffective social media is at best a waste of everyone’s time and, at worst, bad for business.

So how can you be more social media savvy?

As with any form of marketing, a good strategy is needed and with a few tweaks along the way it’s what can set you apart from your competitors.

 

What are your goals?

First of all, what do you want to achieve with social media? Is it to raise awareness of your brand? Do you want to increase traffic to your website? Improve sales or encourage customer loyalty? Most likely you will want something of a combination of all of these, they’re not mutually exclusive! However, in order to be clear about your message you should focus on achieving one or two simple goals. If you use the scattergun approach to try and tick all the boxes you will end up with a confused audience who will pay less attention to  you as your communication to them isn’t clear.

 

Set Objectives

One place where many businesses go wrong with social media is by not setting clear enough objectives. It’s not good enough to simply post whatever you feel like to social media (as you would on your personal profile) is you expect to see clear business gains.

 

Try using SMART objectives (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) based on the goals you thought of earlier. Make sure you can measure the goals you set. There are dozens of different online tools available to do this, many of them free. If you find that something isn’t achieving the results you want then tweak it slightly and keep track of the changes you see.

 

Know Your Customers

The key to any successful social media strategy is understanding your audience. There’s no point in curating a beautiful Pintrest page full gorgeous images if your target audience are more likely to be sharing cat videos on Facebook.

 

If you really have no idea about who your customers are and what they like then you could run a survey of everyone you serve just asking what sites they use and what they like to see online. From here you can start to build up a detailed profile of who your perfect customer is and tailor both your content and where you post it accordingly.

 

What Are Your Competitors Doing?

Social Media is a very open environment. What’s great about this is that you can clearly see what many other businesses in your niche are doing. Spend some time searching for businesses similar to yours and see what they do on social media. Find out what seems to be working for them and see if you can adapt something similar for your own business. You don’t have to stick close to home either, look for successful competitors in other cities, or in other countries and find out how they are interacting with their customers. The customers they are trying to appeal to are the same people that you want to win too, so what works for them might work well for you too.

 

Choose your Platform

Don’t ever feel like you have to have a profile for every single social media site that exists. Different social media channels suit different people and different businesses, so it’s likely that not every site will suit you. For example, Linked in is very good for B2B relationships, while Pintrest is more visual. You can’t post the same content on those two sites and expect it to work. Think about what is best for your business – for example my business doesn’t have a Pintrest page because we don’t produce enough images to really engage with people there. We do use Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter though because each of those sites fulfils slightly different roles for our Business (Click the links and follow us to see for yourself!).

 

You might also find that using too many sites will stretch you too thinly and you aren’t giving the quality attention to each group of followers that they deserve.

 

Plan your content

There are two important things to consider with content. First, the frequency. In order to really build up a relationship with your followers you need to post regularly enough to stay in their minds, but not enough so that people will become annoyed and unfollow you. There’s no right way to do this, it depends a lot on your own style and message. There is a wrong way way though, and that’s to post tons of stuff all at once and then forget about your page for 6 months. If in doubt, post consistently a few times a week and build it up from there.

 

Secondly, you need to deliver a good mix of content to keep people interested. Whilst everything you post should be in line with the objectives you decided on earlier, you should try and mix the formats up to speak to people in different ways. For everyone who loves an infographic, there will be others who only watch videos and all of those people could be your potential customers, so don’t forget to speak to them in different ways. Mix up your own blog posts with interesting items from other sources, local news and events or fun snippets.

 

Finally, remember that no matter how good your content is you need to engage with people to get results. Start conversations, offer advice and don’t try too hard to sell. It’s about being social!

 

If you’re not sure where or how to get started then check out our Social Media Packages!

 

What are your top tips for social media? Has something worked really well or not worked at all? Leave your comments below!