Top 6 Social Media Practices For Businesses
Even after all these years, many businesses still seem to be apprehensive about how to get into Social Media with a purpose. Sure it can be daunting, but if you pare down this ‘public networking’ to its essence it makes it a lot more manageable. Here is a useful list of the 6 top social media practices for managing your business online.
1. Have a theme
Let’s say you’re a pre-owned auto dealer specializing in domestic vehicles. Your overarching theme could be endurance and American pride. Or maybe you market rugged men’s boots. Your ‘go-to’ theme could be the great outdoors and a second one could be protection. Blur the boundaries of your product or service so that it can encompass all sorts of qualities and inspire more topics for discussion–a diving board if you will–into the pool of conversation.
2. Create an Editorial Calendar
Once you know what you’ll talk about, plan the five specific associated topics within the theme to write about regularly. Say it’s American Pride. Then maybe plan every Monday talk about things that are made here which have stood the test of time. Note: it doesn’t have to be about specific American cars that YOU sell. Instead it needs to summon up pride in your reader for the topic that your business believes in too.
3. Limit your platforms
Be realistic as to how much ground you can cover. Managing content and conversations on social media platforms can be a full-time job. If you have resources, great! But if you’re adding this responsibility to your plate, consider how much time you can allocate on a daily basis. Creating social media social media channels that never get updated sends the wrong message–the same as an abandoned building. If you’re starting, pick one or two platforms to participate in (e.g. Instagram, Facebook and/or LinkedIn) and gage the commitment. Streamline your focus to the audiences that will present the greatest opportunity for your business, and focus on just that community.
4. Provide real value add
Don’t write about the weather or your cat’s furriness. Give your readers something to think about, learn from. Can you be a resource to them online? Do THAT. This is not ‘fluff’–this is getting yourself out there in front of your audiences and providing humor or new knowledge or insight–and letting that ‘feel good’ discovery help them appreciate your organization all the more for having provided it.
Social marketing eliminates the middlemen, providing brands the unique opportunity to have a direct relationship with their customers.BRYAN WEINER
5. Participate don’t just broadcast
Social Media is like going to a networking event–with a much bigger audience. And you type, instead of drink. Do you know those people who show up at networking events with a bunch of business cards and a fake smile? All they have planned is to give out so many cards as they can but have no interest in getting to know you or your business better… or at all! Don’t be like them. Thank your customers when they mention something positive about you or your business. Respond to questions quickly and with kindness. Be generous to a fault here. Recognize others. Bu vulnerable. And keep the conversations going. It’s when things get really interesting online. You’ll be top of mind the next time someone in that discussion circle needs a recommendation for a service or product!
You might wonder–how do you know if this social media stuff is working? There are ways to tell. Look into the platform provided insights for starters. It will tell you how widely dispersed your posts have gotten and/or how engaging they’ve been. Shorten your URLs using bit.ly, or another tool–and see the click-through stats from there. Check your Google Analytics to correlate website traffic with your posts.
Social Media can be one of the most powerful communication channels at your business disposal. Depending on the nature of your business (retail vs. professional services), social media will play a different role–From direct sales to being a culture gage. There is a marketing maxim that says: people move from Awareness to Interest to Desire to Action (AIDA). Social Media helps with Awareness and Interest. Understand how to engage your audience and participate. And most importantly, have a plan–approach it with purpose.
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