Are you using social media for business to widen the reach of your company or brand and increase the size of your digital footprint?
-Not even just a little?
-Are you aware of how using these channels can help you generate leads and win over old and new clients?
-Want to get started?
We've gathered some key advice on using the superpowers of social media from the two of our absolute favourite marketing blogs – Hubspot and Kissmetrics, and added our own two pennies worth as well based on our own experience.
Using social media for business
1. Only have a presence in the social media channels that truly make sense for your business
When you're just starting out and see other companies with a social presence on every social media site that exists, it’s hard not to be tempted to do the same. But, as Kissmetrics points out, the truth probably is that those companies typically have an army of social media experts manning each channel. Don’t think your company needs to be everywhere online; pick one to three social media channels that are most relevant to your business and focus on those. If you are not familiar with the social media platforms or do have one or two accounts for personal use already, but not sure which one is suitable for your business, do a little research.
- Investigate where your target audience is?
- What are they interested in?
- Try to start or continue to grow the number of your social site followers
- Produce content that you know they will be interested in
- Post and test it
The most common social media platforms include Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn, however there are many other social sites like Instagram, Pinterest and many more, so no wonder picking the right one can be a bit daunting task!
For businesses and business people one of the most populated social sites is LinkedIn. In LinkedIn there are groups which connect hundreds of thousands of people and businesses with the same goals and interests to share content, ideas and information.
LinkedIn could be very useful tool using social media for business as this platform is very business concentrated from using new connections to looking for a job, or perhaps employees? Whatever you are looking for don’t forget that you can get connected to the new contacts just like in any networking event. When researching other social media platforms such as the Facebook, Twitter, and the Google+ have in mind that in the different platforms people do behave differently.
Twitter you have only 140 characters for your message, it could be a bit daunting when deciding what information is important, or how can you say something important in only few letters. It could be challenging, but if you could and are able to produce striking message in few words this might be the one for you. The down side of Twitter is how quickly the message board is chaging due to the high traffic. If you would like give Twitter a try read these great tips on do’s and dont’s from John Paul Aguiar.
Facebook is the platform that many uses the most, actually if you would google this question right now the answer would be something like 500 miln. A lot of people, but how do you engage and most importantly choose this site for your brand awareness, customer engagement? Have a look at this article for some ideas form Aaron Lee keep in mind Facebook is very visual site, where people do enjoy sharing funny videos and engaging images.
Where on the other hand Google+ is dominated by the blog post and various discussion boards. This is definitely your site if you like to write and share professional experience in a version of an article/blog, but most importantly like any other social media site you get to connect to the other people and spread the word about you and your business.
2. Do not be discouraged by not having time to post.
Social media can be very time consuming. It takes time to find or produce the content for the starters. Something else to remember is the importance of the publishing time which could be crucial to your business as well. This whole process can be time consuming but it doesn’t have to be! There are however, various software programs that can help you to schedule your content which will save a lot of time. By optimising the use of such a program you can make your business seem omni-present on the social media sites, but you will still be able to concentrate on other things, without worrying that you are leaving your business voice unheard. One of the programs that is available, for the management of social media for business, is the Hootsuite, the one we use in-house to schedule PARiM Software content.
3. Create an “outreach” mentality and get your followers involved
A personal connection is important. Kissmetrics states that ideally, what you want to do is create a bridge between conversation and lead, and from lead to customer. One way to do that on social media is to reach out and let customers know what you’re working on. Give them a behind-the-scenes look at your work, business, or the people that make your company great, have a look at the ParimSoftware Facebook team page. This is also something we agree with Hubspot on, that it's nice to see when brands are being social on social media by engaging in dialogue. Engaging content will help your social media page stand out from the competition. The more you can keep audiences interested on social media, the more traffic and fans you’re likely to generate.
Here's just one example of follower interaction - General Electric might not be the "sexiest" company out there, but that doesn't mean they can't produce good social media content. This tweet contains relevant information, a fun fact and a question for the followers.
Also, another good point Kissmetrics has is about active social marketing through your clients - if you can get customers to share an image (or a review...or any other information) of them using your product, you’ll increase the chances of making a sale for that product. A person seeing a friend wearing your shirt or using your product will almost always convert better than a generic advertisement that barely draws eyeballs.
4. Don’t only post links to your content
Of course you should link to your own content, however, don't stop there. If you find anything at all out there that might entertain or inform your target group with or relate to their interests, share it. They'll come to you for more relevant topics and interesting new finds. Nonetheless, you will be connecting to other trusted sources that could repost your article for potential new customers. For example if you do manage to get journalist to write an article about your company then post/tweet/share with your audience, to optimise trustworthiness of your product or company.
Like Kissmetrics said in their blog post, sharing others' content is especially important if you are simply using social media channels as RSS feeds for your content, then you’re missing out on the benefits that each platform can bring to your business because of its uniqueness. For example, Twitter is a powerful tool for connecting with influencers. One way you can “connect” with them is to do so by sharing their content and engaging in conversation with them.
5. Don't underestimate the power of a large following
It's not like all social followers end up being clients. Absolutely not, however, Hubspot pointed out something we couldn't agree more with, and that is - indirect exposure to your followers' personal networks can be an invaluable source of business. Even if they're not potential clients for whatever business you're running, they have connections that also have connections...and so on. If you make an impression on your followers on social media by sharing interesting and useful information by both your own sources and outside ones, you'll get them engaged in what you're doing and there's a good chance they'll spread the word about you as a versatile and useful source. And who knows how many potential new clients could hear about you that way?
6. Analyze your results and data in a useful way
Hubspot knows that when approaching social media, you should know what your goal is. Is it new leads? Is it to increase the reach of your content? Is it to reduce customer support calls? Whatever your goal is, measure the progress toward that goal. Measure how many leads came from social media. Measure how many visitors came to your blog from social media. Measure the number of customer support phone calls against your social media activity. Figure out your metrics, and track them. This way you have evidence of your tactics working, and if they don't, you'll see where you need to improve. Write it down.
You can track the most relevant information that you need with Google Analytics. New to it? Fear not, Kissmetrics has written a very handy article on resources that will help you get the most of Google Analytics., However if you do not own a website where social media is the main platform for your business have a look at the Hootsuite software and don’t forget that LinkedIn and Facebook have their own analytics platform, why not to look at them as well.
A few short bonus tips
Here are a few quick bonus lead generating hacks by Kissmetrics:
- Tweeting links to your content directly to influencers (but only if it’s relevant to them!)
- Asking influencers (with whom you already have a relationship) to tweet your content to their followers
- When you post a link to content on your Facebook page, tag relevant influencers (or anyone mentioned in the article)
- Post your content in relevant groups and communities in LinkedIn, Facebook & Google+ Groups
- As well when thanking new followers post a link to your content that would be useful to them.
Regardless of whether you're new to social media or have been using it for a while now - don't be afraid to try new things and expand your knowledge. The whole point of using these channels is to engage your customers as well as anyone else who might just be interested in what you're up to. Find the best social media channels for you and make sure that you're sharing both your own content as well as anything else that you think might float your target group's boat - it's all about building a communication bridge, exchanging relevant information between you and your clients and getting the word about what you do out there. Have fun!
It is a brief introduction about the social media for business to start you thinking when engaging in it.
If you like us to expand on the subject let us know by commenting on connecting via social media!
Originally written by Elen Veenpere