Social Media for Business
How to Effectively Use Social Media to Grow Your Brand's Online Presence
If you haven’t been using social media to grow your business, it’s time to get on it! Or perhaps you’ve already created a business account on a particular social media platform, but aren’t exactly sure how to make the most of your content.
Don’t worry - you’ve come to the right place.
In the sections below, you’ll learn how to effectively target the right social media users to achieve successful online growth:
- Using Social Media for Brand Awareness
- Positioning Your Company as the Expert
- Expressing a Human Side to Your Business
- The Power of Social Media Advocacy Campaigns
- Should You Use Facebook Ads?
- Building a Booming Social Following
Using Social Media for Brand Awareness
Today, more people are using social media to engage with brands than ever before. In fact, studies show that more people follow brands than they follow celebrities on social media. Can you believe that?
Brand awareness is typically the first goal for any business on social media, which involves informing the public that you exist – and teaching them about the products and services that you offer. Your end goal is to get your potential customers to not only buy from you, but to stay loyal and recommend your company to others who are interested in what you have to offer. With that said, raising awareness about your brand isn’t only your first goal, but rather, an ongoing effort.
Social media provides us with the opportunity to connect, engage and inform the public (more specifically, your target consumers) about who you are as a company. On your social media journey, you’ll want to be creating content that is true to your brand’s personality, voice, and message. You’ll also want to ultimately position yourself as the expert of your industry – which brings us to the next section...
Positioning Your Company as the Expert
Take a look at your company’s current online presence. What does your website and social channels say about your brand, about its products and/or services? Is your website clean, attractive, informative and easy to navigate?
Now, take a look at some competitors in your industry. Have they been more active on their social channels? How does their website appear to you, and more importantly, when you compare it to your own?
Your company’s website and social media channels have a significant influence on how others view your business. You’ll want to work to position your company as the expert of your industry – and you have all the power to do this through the branded content you share.
On a daily basis, post about what’s going on in your industry, share knowledge and tips, and even feel free to share informative and interesting blog articles with your followers. Twitter is an especially great platform for helping to establish your company as the expert of its field.
Expressing a Human Side to Your Business
Who are the special people behind your brand?
Consumers connect with the relatable, human aspects of a business – and social media is a great place to introduce your target customers to the people and personalities behind your brand.
Use your Facebook and/or Instagram account to post exclusive, behind-the-scenes photos and updates of your team happy and hard at work. Share what goes on at the office or store, on fun business journeys, or share inspiring success stories of your team members helping your clients and customers. Use your Twitter account to engage in one-on-one conversations with your followers.
The bottom line is: stay real, stay professional – and have fun!
There’s a lot you can do to show your followers why your company is reliable and trustworthy. People don’t like secrets – and today’s consumer especially values transparency and honesty when it comes to brands. Believe us - letting your followers in on the human quality of your brand will go a long way, especially in growing your following.
The Power of Social Media Advocacy Campaigns
It’s time to explore the power of word-of-mouth marketing, or, a very useful tool to accomplish this: social media advocacy campaigns.
Google discovered that 60% of technology customers rely on Google reviews when making a purchase decision – and a Forrester Research Inc. study found that a whopping 92 percent of consumers trust brand advocates. So, what does this mean? It means that your business will (and should) benefit from brand advocates!
The Advocacy Advantage
Now, you might be wondering, “how in the world do I transform total strangers into brand advocates”? Good question. First off, your advocates don’t need to start off as total strangers! Start with your employees; the people who know your brand the most. Next, create a social campaign with a catchy and relevant hashtag, encouraging others to share content of their own using your hashtag. Ask your followers an intriguing question, or encourage them to post a photo related to your campaign. Ask them to tag another user to really spread the word about your company.
There are many ways you can use your social content to engage with others through social media advocacy campaigns! For example, in 2013, Starbucks was able to pull off a successful social campaign using #TweetACoffee on Twitter – encouraging users to tweet the hashtag along with the handle of a person they wanted to tweet a free coffee to. The campaign garnered an impressive $180,000 in direct sales in under a month – and naturally, a lot of happy brand advocates. (But of course, this can be done without having to give away free cups of Joe – you just need to use your imagination)!
Should You Use Facebook Ads?
So, you’ve established a plan with regard to organic (unpaid) marketing via your social media channel(s). Next, it’s time to think about paid advertising to give your company’s online presence that extra boost. And with over 2 billion users, Facebook is the perfect social platform for the job.
Precise Targeting = Better Results
Facebook Ads is an incredibly beneficial marketing tool for any business, and its popularity might have a lot to do with the vast range of targeting options (demographic, geographic and psychographic) that you can customize in order to reach the right people. Advertising should never be like casting a wide net to attract any and every person who may happen to need your services – this will simply waste away your ad budget without delivering results.
The most successful marketing always aims to target a specific group of consumers who will most likely be interested in your company’s offerings, and this is determined through research. Facebook Ad’s targeting options include factors like location (as specific as postal code), age, gender, education, career, relationship status, specific hobbies and interests, “Liked” Pages, activities on or off of Facebook such as device usage and shopping behavior, and more. Incredibly useful stuff.
Building a Booming Social Following
One of the greatest challenges brands have with their social media is, you guessed it – actually acquiring a substantial following. It certainly takes a lot of consistent effort – sharing relevant and eye-catching content daily, targeting the right social users, using the right hashtags and… of course, using the right social media channel(s) to begin with.
That being said, let’s talk about the different social channels and what they’re ideal for, so you can ensure you’re directing your focus in the right places(s):
Facebook – this by far the largest social media platform on the web. As mentioned in the previous section, Facebook Ads is an excellent tool for precise targeting to build brand awareness. And, of course, businesses benefit from the organic/unpaid promotional efforts on Facebook as well, since there are so many active users on the platform to view (and hopefully share) your content.
Instagram – this incredibly popular photo sharing app can really be used by any business, but is quite ideal for smaller businesses or brands that offer products or services that can be beautifully visualized or photographed.
LinkedIn – LinkedIn is more of an online network for working professionals who want to connect with other professionals and organizations.
If your business is in the industry of providing specialty services for other businesses, LinkedIn can be a great channel to connect you with other professionals who are looking for your expertise.
Twitter – Twitter is an excellent social channel for just about any type of business. Twitter allows you to share fun or interesting content in the form of both text and images, and also gives you the opportunity to teach people about your products/services, answer questions, share opinions and have conversations. It’s one of the most optimal tools you can use to connect with your target – so if you aren’t currently using it, we recommend you get to Tweetin’ ASAP!
No matter what social account(s) you’re using to promote your brand, the good news is that any piece of content you create can be formatted for each channel – so you don’t need to create an entirely different post for each daily. In other words, it’s the thought that counts!
Virtually every social media user today is following, liking, posting or sharing content daily – and it’s this very behavior that businesses need to capitalize on.
Establishing a healthy online presence truly is a requirement for any business that wants to succeed in today’s competitive, heavily-saturated corporate world. And while creating a generous following online will surely take a lot of patience and hard work, you can ensure that your efforts aren’t going to waste by keeping all of the aforementioned tips in mind.
Good luck, and stay engaging!
Virtually every social media user today is following, liking, posting or sharing content daily and it’s this very behavior that businesses need to capitalize on.
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