With over 1.7 billion people on Facebooks, and hundreds of millions on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, no e-commerce retailer can afford to ignore social media. If you are hesitating, understand that your competitors are already there and are connecting with the same people who could be your customers. The great thing about social media marketing is that it is free, and SME’s can target and nurture the same potential customers that a huge corporation does. But it has to be done right. Here are nine tips that can maximize your social media marketing.
One of the mistakes that small and mid-sized business owners make is trying to be on lots of social channels. They just don’t have the staff to do this well. So, pick just a couple to begin with. Facebook is a given, considering the sheer numbers, but beyond that you will have to choose.
Make that choice based upon where your target market hangs out online. There is plenty of research to provide this information, based upon age, gender, and geographic demographics of your target customers. Of course, this pre-supposes that you have created a customer profile, so that you can use that profile as you study the research.
Social Media is Social
Never forget this. It is not the place to engage in hard selling of your products or services. It is the place to be social and develop relationships and followings. The goal of a social media marketing campaign is to delight those who land on your page. In that delight, they will like and share your posts with their friends on that channel. This is what spreads your brand and makes your social media pages a place others want to visit. When you delight people, they are far more inclined to link to your site and blog. Entertain and inspire first, promote your products/services second – always.
Spy on Your Competitors
If you are seeking topics for your social media posts, one of the best pieces of research you can do is to take a look at what your competitors are doing. Access their ages, read their posts, check out the comments and feedback they are getting from followers. This will give you great ideas. Study their most popular posts and fashion your own that are even better.
Visual Rule Social Media
You only have to reflect on your own social media behavior to know this. When you see memes, photos, videos and such, you naturally stop and engage. As you create posts, remember that people respond to visuals more than to text. Whenever you can say something through a visual rather than with text, do so.
Great Content Begins with Great Headlines
For as long as journalists have worked, headlines have commanded the key role in engaging readers. When you craft a social media post, your headline can intrigue and compel. It can drive readers/viewers to a great blog post you have written that will educate them, solve problems, and entertain/inspire them. Ultimately, it can bring about the conversions you want.
Great Content Continues with Great Writing
Once you have managed to drive social media followers to your site/blog, what are you offering and how are you offering it? Every landing page and every blog posts must be created with your target audience in mind. What are their needs and wants? How are you providing value to meet those needs and wants? And how is that content actually written to keep readers engaged? There are lots of rules for content – divide it up into small chunks with headings and subheadings; use bulleted pointed lists that can be scanned; break up content with visuals; be creative in your writing.
If all of this is a bit daunting, and if you are not in a position to employ full-time content creators, then you should outsource this task to professional copywriters who have the skills and talent to produce for you. Pick Writers is an example of a writing agency that produces creative content for lots of small business owners. Check out your options.
Hold Contests, Post Quizzes, and Promote Giveaways
You have probably participated in quizzes and contests on social media. They are fun and always attract a large audience – an audience that shares content it finds to be fun and interesting. If you do hold contests, make the prizes worthwhile and valuable – the more valuable the rewards, the more that contest will be shared.
Promote Your Social Responsibility
One of the things that builds relationships with today’s consumer is the belief that the companies with whom they do business have a social conscience. One of the best things you can do on social media is publicize your participation in important causes and invite your followers to participate with you. Most people want to feel good about their consumption choices benefiting others. This is why Toms Shoes and Headbands for Hope have one-for-one programs. For every item purchased, one is donated to someone in need. And other companies have adopted this model because it skyrockets business and profits.
Monitor Your Social Media Channels
This is one of the hardest things for a small business to do. Comments, discussions and feedback on your social media pages should be monitored daily. You need to participate in those discussions; you need to respond to negative press and resolve issues quickly rather than just let them hang out there. Fortunately, there are now plenty of social monitoring tools that will help, and many are free. You will be informed any time your brand is mentioned on social media or on the web as a whole. You can then check out what is being said and respond accordingly. If someone has a complaint or an issue, you can resolve it and do so publicly. This demonstrates to others that you care about your customers, and that establishes a lot of good will.
Eye on the Goal
The goal of social media marketing is two-fold – establishing trustful relationships with your target audience and spreading your brand through the sharing of your posts. It is not to increase sales. Those come naturally as the other goals are achieved. So, use social media correctly. Engage, entertain, delight, and inspire your audience – when you do this, they will think of you when they are ready to buy.
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