It’s 2015. Time to get social. As a business owner, you’ve probably heard lots of talk about the importance of social media marketing—you may even believe it by now—and I’m not going to rehash those many reasons here. Social media isn’t a fad and it should be treated as marketing. Harnessing the power of relationships online can increase sales and profits. Okay—so here’s how you start.
- Pick which social media platforms your business will be active on.
No, you shouldn’t be active on every social media platform you can think of. That’s a waste of time and resources. A dental practice doesn’t need a Pinterest account. Think about your business and which platforms make sense. Facebook and Google+ are great for sharing content, original or curated, and fostering a loyal community. Twitter is a good place for building relationships and sharing links to great content. Pinterest is obviously fantastic for anyone with a visual aspect to their business—photographers, designers—but can work equally well for clothing stores and restaurants.
- Write down your social media marketing goals for each platform and an overall goal for all your social media marketing.
What are you trying to accomplish with your social media marketing? Are you trying to bring people through the doors of your brick and mortar store? Are you trying to build authority in your area of expertise? Increase brand awareness? Increase online sales? Be specific about your major goal (say, bringing in new clients) and your goals for each platform (Example: Facebook: increase content consumption by directing followers to my blog, Twitter: Making real individual connections with potential clients, LinkedIn: Identifying B2B opportunities).
- Set up your accounts.
Go to each social platform and set up your accounts. You should be walked through the process on each platform. Make sure that you use a business email that you have access to for setup. You will receive activity notifications to that email.
- Add relevant and interesting profile and cover photos.
Make sure these are created to the proper dimensions. You can use your logo as your profile photo, but make sure that it is crisp and clear. Have fun with cover photos but keep them relevant to your business. If you aren’t sure about creating profile and cover photos, hire a designer to make some for you. You want your profile and cover photos to be strong—these are often the first impression of you that your potential customers or clients will get. Here’s a great guide to sizing your profile and cover photos properly. http://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-image-sizes-guide/
- Start following others.
You should begin growing your community by following others (or circling them, or liking them—whatever the case may be). Use the search functions to find people of note within your industry. Then search for your target audience and start forming those connections.
- Engage and be engaging.
Now that you have your social networks, don’t let them sit there empty and lonely. Post content that your audience and community will be excited about. Share fantastic content that adds value to their experience. Comment on posts, like, retweet, start conversations, jump in on conversations. Show your community who you are and why you are the one they want to do business with.
- Keep it up.
Social media marketing is constant. This is not a one-and-done situation. You have a community to build, foster, and grow. It’s not going to happen overnight. Keep working at it. Keep posting, keep commenting, keep creating great content. Use analytics to measure your success. If you do it right, you will see results.
Cyla Panin is a content writer, social media manager, and owner of Scribe Marketing & Communications. Find out how to make content and social media grow your business here: http://scribemarketing.ca/blog/