Once you’ve launched your website, worked on a SEO and branding strategy, the next step is to take a look at social media. Social media is an essential part of online marketing these days and if you’re not on it, you’re probably missing out.
While social media posts won’t turn into automatic sales, they can go a long way towards brand development and visibility. They can help boost traffic to your site in the form of links to your blog, which can then lead to conversions if they stay on the site.
Not entirely convinced by the power of social media? Here’s why your business website needs it to stay ahead of the game:
That’s where your audience is
Whether you like social media or not, you can’t deny its popularity. It seems everyone you meet has at least one account somewhere.
This is a great opportunity for you. Social media is a window into consumer behaviour and trends. For example, Twitter is useful because you can see what topics are trending in the world and jump on them (where appropriate).
Show you’re more than just a company
People tend to find it harder to identify with companies who hide behind a logo and don’t engage with the general public.
Social media accounts that have conversational posts, share tips and advice and get involved in discussions help to show more personality.
This helps to build brand loyalty and consumer trust for you, which may be the very thing that makes them choose you over another company.
Increase traffic (and sales)
The main aim for any kind of marketing is to get people onto your website so they can buy from you. Social media can drive traffic to your website which can increase sales as well as boost your SEO efforts.
One way to do this is to have posts with links to your blog articles that may be of interest to your target market or to advertise deals or competitions you’re running.
Just be careful not to overload your accounts with sales posts and make sure you’re mixing them up with interesting and helpful posts too.
Open a dialogue
One of the downsides to businesses that operate mostly online is that you miss out on the conversations from people dropping into your store.
This is where social media comes in. The upside to using social media instead is that you’re not limited to people popping in only from the local area, you can connect with anyone, anywhere online.
Social media allows you to open a dialogue and engage with individuals and other brands. This can help build trust and familiarity with your brand which can in turn help sales and recommendations.
Ready to get started with social media?
With so many platforms, which one should you choose? We’d advise that you don’t spread yourself too thin and get an account on every site. It’s difficult enough to manage one or two accounts without adding another 4 or 5 to the mix.
We’d recommend that you pick one or two to start off, based on how you want to present your business and also where you’re target customers actually are.
Facebook and Twitter are largely seen as the default options for a businesses. They’re easy to use and are used by most people with social media accounts.
For those who want a business-like, professional profile, then LinkedIn is perfect. Think of it like Facebook for professionals. You can connect with others in your industry which is particularly useful for B2B (business to business) companies, for example accountants work with business owners rather than the general public so will benefit from LinkedIn.
If your business could benefit from showing off visuals, for example business likes salons or interior design specialists, then Instagram or Pinterest might be a good fit for you. Make sure your visuals are top quality as there are a lot of professional accounts out there to compete with.
Ideally you want people to come across your profile and know exactly why they should follow you. A big mix of different subjects could be confusing and off-putting for new followers.
If you want to be the go-to business in your industry, keep your social media accounts consistent and relevant to your industry. Think – what would my typical customer want to see on social media?
This is why we’d recommend setting up a different account for your business if you already have a personal profile. Having a separate business account helps you to keep the channel focused and keep posts relevant for your audience.
Quick dos and don’ts of social media
– Post regularly – would you follow someone whose last post was 3 months ago?
– Research your target market/consumer behaviour – you’ll be able to meet their needs better
– Engage with your audience and other brands – to become more visible and memorable
– Keep it conversational – save the stuffy corporate speak for boardroom meetings
– Post every five minutes – people get tired of seeing the same thing and will unfollow
– Post only sales pitches – would you follow an account with nothing but sales pitches?
– Post anything controversial that may alienate people e.g. politics or religion
Getting it right on social media will take a bit of experimenting and research. What’s good for one account might not work on another. Different audiences want different things.
When creating a social media marketing strategy always keep your audience in mind. Don’t just post what you’d like to see, when you’d like to see it. Post things of value to your audience if you want to get their attention, increase website traffic and boost sales.