This week, we had some resources for any new, ambitious content-based project you want to get off the ground. (Or…
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A comprehensive social media strategy is imperative to business success in a digital world. 93% of marketers are using social media for business – are you part of the 7% that doesn’t?
Social media is more than simply making posts on Facebook and responding to customers on Twitter. A strong social media presence is a critical part of the purchase decision making process. 74% of consumers rely on social media to inform their purchasing decisions, with 47% of Americans saying that Facebook is their top influencer of purchases.
If you don’t have an active social presence that both engages and informs users, you are losing customers to competitors that do.
A social media campaign is about more than just posting updates and promoting sales. A well-rounded social media program will involve the following:
Whatever social networks you decide to be active on for your business, there are some best practices you should follow to achieve social success.
Post at the proper frequency
Make sure you are posting enough that customers are up-to-date on your products and services, but not so much that they feel as though they’re being bombarded with updates.
The frequency you should post greatly varies by your industry and audience, but these are general posting suggestions:
Follow the 80/20 rule of posting
You may be tempted to fill your social networks with news about sales, specials, and promotions. Fight that temptation. Users are far less likely to interact with brands if they feel like they’re actively being “marketed” to.
Instead, follow the 80/20 rule – 80% of what you post should be engaging (questions, photos, articles from third parties), while the remaining 20% should be about your company, products, or services.
Invest in a social media dashboard
You’re busy, we get it. Good social media takes time and effort, but a social media manager will help you use your time wisely.
Pay attention to what’s going on in your industry, as well as the world
Being in tune with your audience’s interest will help you engage with them and will build a strong customer relationship.
Monitor industry publications, competitor social media accounts, and popular blogs to stay aware of what’s important to your customers.
Likewise, pay attention to what’s going on in the world. Do not jump on a trending hashtag without first identifying what it means. That goes for scheduled posts, as well – an innocuous tweet posted at the exact wrong time could result in a social media disaster.
There are hundreds of social media sites out there, and obviously your business does not need to be on all of them. The first step is identifying which social networks will be the most beneficial for your business.
A few important things to note before you begin creating your social media profiles:
Major Social Networks
Secondary Social Networks
These social networks may not have the commonality or large user base of the ones listed above, but they are still worth having a presence if it makes sense for your business:
Local Social Networks
If you are a local business – meaning, a business with a storefront that caters to a particular area or region – there are a number of local social networks that can increase your visibility in search engines and help customers find you:
Niche Social Networks
Aside from the popular social networks, you may find that there are niche social media communities that make sense for your business to be active on (for instance, Birdpost for bird watchers and Ravelry for knitters).
While they may not have the audience size of Facebook, these niche social networks likely have a much more targeted demographic for your business to interact with.
Social networks have become a prime channel through which customers solicit customer service. 35% of consumers have asked a customer service question via social media, and 53% of users expect to hear back from the brand they’re interacting with within one hour. Businesses can simply not afford to ignore customer service requests on social media.
These tips will help you keep your customers happy as well as protect your brand’s reputation.
Answering questions and thanking customers for their patronage is easy, but what happens when someone slams your company? Whether it’s true or not, once it’s posted, there are a host of issues you have to consider:
53% of Twitter users expect to hear back from the company they’re interacting with within an hour. That doesn’t give you a lot of time to plan a response, so consider creating an action plan for responding to customer inquiries.
Create an action plan
You need to develop a strategy for dealing with negativity. Since customers will be counting down the minutes until your response, take the time to nail down your strategy now so you’re able to nip problems in the bud as they happen.
If you did something wrong, acknowledge it and apologize. Radio silence – or worse, denial – will alienate customers and often drags the problem on much longer than if it was addressed head on.
Don’t feed the trolls
Sometimes, people are just mean and there’s no way to make them happy. If you attempt to remedy a situation with a customer and they are rude, hateful, or continue flaming your company, it’s time to move on.
At the very least, request that they email or call you to continue the conversation so that it’s not publicly plastered all over your social accounts.
Learn from other companies
Unsurprisingly, social media crises are handled inappropriately all the time. Reading case studies about companies that have mishandled or successfully handled a social disaster can help you build your own strategy.
Most social networks offer some sort of paid promotion or advertising features to help get a brand’s social media account or posts in front of more eyes. While companies can rely on organic reach and word-of-month for increased exposure, paid promotion can ensure wide reach and help drive more traffic and leads in a measurable way.
Facebook ads are the most common and prolific social media ads due to their ease of use, hyper-targeting functionalities, and price. They are becoming even more popular as Facebook slowly drives brand updates out of users’ News Feeds in attempts to show what it deems more relevant content.
Facebook’s self-service ad platform offers a variety of products that can help:
Ads can be targeted broadly to a particular geographic area or industry, as well as more granulated demographics including specific interests, hobbies, and online purchase behaviors. Businesses can also create a Custom Audience using phone numbers or email addresses to help reach customers you already know.
Twitter has a similarly easy-to-navigate self-service platform and provides a robust analytics section to measure the effectiveness of ads.
Twitter’s product offerings can help both businesses and individuals:
Much like Facebook, targeting on Twitter ads is very precise. Users can be targeted by their geographic location and interests as well as by similar accounts that they follow.
LinkedIn’s self-service ads are fairly limited, with the more robust products offered only to marketers with a sales rep at the company. Regardless, businesses can use the self-serve ad to put content – and existing posts – in front of the right audiences.
Because LinkedIn caters to professionals, there are a variety of handy targeting options including job title, industry, and company size.
We love tools here at Internet Marketing Ninjas, and we’d be remiss not to share some of our favorite social media tools.
Measurement and Insights
Read further: 6 Social Media Analytics Companies To Keep An Eye On
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