As technology advances and eventually brings us into the digital age, businesses will need to adapt. Gone are the days of snail mail, telemarketing, business cards, and brochures. All that’s left is social media marketing in today’s world.
However, this doesn’t automatically mean that you can simply breathe a sigh of relief and sit back, expecting your business to succeed with minimum effort. Even though social media has become an excellent platform for any industry, you have to know how to properly use it to achieve the success you’re hoping for.
Here are a few proven strategies for promoting businesses on social media:
1. Show authenticity
Show that your company is a real person, not just a faceless business entity. This means being honest about your mistakes and successes on social media outlets. It also means having an active presence in one or two places rather than flooding the web with meaningless content on various platforms to see what sticks. This is truer for companies that sell a product or service.
If your business is a person or a group of people who work together toward a common goal, then it’s essential to focus on developing that relationship with your audience. It’s also important to remember that this doesn’t mean you need to give away all of your secrets and “behind-the-scenes” information.
It’s all about balance and finding the right tone to strike with your prospective customers.
2. Show off your customers
Great businesses use social media to promote their product or service by showing how much their customers love them. The best way to do this is to ask for posts on social media with pictures and messages about why they like your product. This helps customers get to know your business on an emotional level, which naturally leads to more sales.
3. Create a daily or weekly schedule for posting across all networks you’re on
Or use a social media management tool that offers a content calendar and the possibility to schedule the posts across multiple platforms. This way, you’ll save time and build up an ongoing presence without having to think too much about what to share.
On that same note, if clients and stakeholders are involved in this process, you might need to report your progress. Powerpoint presentations and mockups are messy — however, there are tools that can help you present your social media work in an appropriate format before it gets the greenlight.
Moving on, make sure to tailor your content for the specific audience you’re trying to reach, and don’t be afraid of using paid ads. It’s an effective way to catch the attention of people who might not have found you on their own.
By the way: there is such a thing as “over-posting” which happens when you’re posting too often. Although there really isn’t a set number that will work for every type of business, you should always aim to post quality content on a regular basis instead of simply posting for the sake of staying relevant.
4. Use social media to be of service
Ask yourself, “What are my customers’ biggest problems?” Good social media marketing involves solving people’s problems — not pitching your products or services. When you help others with issues they care about, they’ll turn to your company for the solutions.
5. Take your followers behind the scenes
Give your followers a behind-the-scenes peek with images and videos of the people who work at your company, what goes on behind closed doors, and even things you wouldn’t normally share publicly, like office shenanigans. Use live video to let users see how the sausage gets made!
6. Offer exclusive deals to followers
Offer exclusive deals and coupons to your followers just for them. This will bring people to your social media pages, where you can then post about other services you offer that may be less appealing than your current offers. You can also encourage these potential customers to work with you by sharing their unique referral links on social media so all of the friends they refer can also get in on the deal.
7. Use social media as a lead-generation tool
Use your social media pages as a way to generate leads, so you’ll have a new batch of warm leads ready when it’s time to run another promotion. For example, if you have an eCommerce site, post pictures of people wearing or using your products and ask for their feedback on your social media pages. Then, reach out to these potential customers individually to see if they’d be interested in working with you.
8. Pay attention to what your customers want and how they interact with your content
If a business wants to get the most out of its social media campaigns, it needs to pay attention to what kind of posts its customers engage with.
Take a look at your social platforms and analyze which posts have the biggest impact on your bottom line. If you see a particular news article or blog post that’s been attracting a lot of attention, consider sharing it again.
Look at which posts have been getting the most engagement. These popular posts are good candidates for sharing across other social media networks as well.
9. Create shareable content
Everyone likes to pass along information that they find valuable. Write articles, blog posts, and social media updates that add value for your audience — the more valuable the content is, the more likely it will be shared with others.
A great way to do this is by creating infographics or videos — even YouTube videos, if you have the time and resources — that people want to share with their friends and family. You can also offer valuable tips and advice on your best-performing social platforms.
10. Cross-Promote Your Social Media Accounts
If you have multiple social media accounts (for example, one for your business and another personal account), make sure that all of them link to each other. You never want to tell someone about a great article that you wrote and then have them click on a link that takes them to the wrong place. This will result in less traffic to your social media pages and ultimately less followers.
Cross promoting will also help to grow your audience faster and increase your presence.
11. Manage your online reputation
If people talk about you, they may not always say nice things. You can’t stop people from saying bad things about your company or brand, but you can monitor what’s being said and respond quickly when necessary. By staying on top of negative comments and working to resolve any issues, you can keep your online reputation in good standing.
12. Choose a social network that reflects your business and audience best
It doesn’t make sense for a dentist to be on Snapchat, but perhaps she could make a Facebook fan page or Instagram account instead.
Focus your efforts on a few social networks decided upon with research and input from your team. While casting as wide a net a possible is a viable strategy, spreading yourself too thin can backfire.
Plus, some products or services simply don’t lend themselves to certain platforms. A small, boutique business that makes custom wallets, for example, is more suited to Instagram than, say, LinkedIn. Choosing the right platform also goes a long way towards creating the right content. Which one of these sounds better: a color-coded Instagram Grid with your handmade wallets or a boring gallery of Facebook photos?
13. Influencer marketing is also a viable option
Influencer marketing is a great way to push your message out into the right circles, and it can be a valuable tool when done right. It’s important to find influencers in your industry who have an audience similar to yours and collaborate with them. Remember though, if their followers aren’t interested in what you have to say, don’t waste your time or theirs!
14. Don’t shy away from Reddit
Using Reddit ads is another way to promote your posts. With these paid posts, you can target specific subreddits relevant to your business and show up at the top of search results or right in people’s feeds. You can also see who has viewed your ad, which is a great way to judge if it’s working for you. Just like with influencers, if the people who see your posts aren’t interested in what you have to say, it’s time to try something else.
There’s also something to be said about Reddit engagement groups. These are communities of people who help promote your post to get it noticed on Reddit. It’s essential to be genuine and helpful when participating in these groups. Offer valuable posts that others can benefit from, not just self-promotion. You can find Reddit engagement groups through Google searches like this: “[your industry]” + reddit + engagement.
15. Join the conversation
There are many different social media outlets that you could join, but not all of them are necessary. If your company is small or struggling for funds, you should limit your focus to only one or two platforms instead of spreading yourself too thin.
It’s also important to engage your audience. Although posting new content regularly is just as vital, if you don’t take the time to interact with others who are using the platform then you’re missing out . If someone takes the time to mention your brand or create a post that mentions your brand, it’s important to respond appropriately.
16. Take advantage of analytics
No matter what kind of social media platform you’re using, each one will come with its own set of analytics which means that you’ll be able to see how many people are interacting with your content and whether or not they’re finding it to be informative and compelling.
Finding success in social media can be challenging, but it’s totally possible. You just have to find the right platform for you and stick with it. Remember that the most important thing is providing your audience with valuable content that they’re interested in. If your posts are always sales-related then people are going to get sick of seeing them after a while and they’ll stop following you.
If you want to be successful in social media, focus on building a community that is interested in your industry and genuinely wants to help you grow. Making sales is great, but it should always be the secondary goal of your posts. If you stick with these tips then it’s likely that you’ll see an amazing turnaround in your social media growth in no time at all.