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How to get the most out of your social media efforts

Set up your page properly

This is an extremely important, but often overlooked aspect of your social media. Many pages simply have not got the correct information about their business. Phone numbers, email addresses, location, short “about us” blurb all need to be up to date. It’s vital to ensure that you have secured your vanity URL. The vanity URL is essentially the link for your page for example www.facebook.com/yourbusinessname  without a vanity URL your business page will be www.facebook.com/54512484122454512, which isn’t particularly useful. Make sure your images are optimised for your particular channel. With Facebook for example ensure that your cover photo and profile picture are the right dimensions and adhere to the Facebook terms and conditions – http://www.facebook.com/help?faq=%20276329115767498

Have a clear strategy and objectives

All businesses enter into social media for three reasons:

  1. Generate / Increase awareness
  2. Create insights
  3. Increase sales

It’s not just one of these reasons but a combination of these. As an example a company may enter into social media with the focus being 70% awareness, 10% insights, and 20% sales. This is also not an absolute strategy and focus but is a fluid system which will change as the business goes through its business and marketing lifecycle. During peak periods such as Christmas sales the focus may shift to 40% awareness, 10% insights, 50% sales. The focus must change in response to the information the customers are looking for.

Don’t get too caught up in the numbers game of how many likes you have. Don’t count the people you reach but reach the people that count.

Understand your customers

You really have to understand absolutely everything about your customers and the way they live their lives in order to reach them in the optimal way. Think about what your target market is doing at various points during the day and on different days. Although your business may not be operating on weekends your customers are still engaging in social media. The best day to post for many industries is ironically Sunday.  The content must be relevant for your target audience in that particular frame of mind. A customer viewing your post on Sunday is going to be in the “relaxed, family time” mode rather than “decision making, business” mode, so keep this in mind when deciding what to post.  If you know you cannot make a post on a particular time or day don’t worry there are programs such as TweetDeck that can automate your posts.

Research your competitors

The great thing about social media is that there is so much shared information on people, products, businesses and ideas. Use this to your advantage, see what you competitors are doing. How are they engaging with customers? What type of customers are they targeting? How often are they posting and with what content? Some channels such as Linkedin even provide some analytics of groups and pages which you can use to understand much more about your competitors.

Create engaging content

Good content is the key to a great social media profile, having a mixture of content types; statements, questions, quotes, images, video, links etc will give your channel variety and keep it fresh for your community. You should have a deep understanding of your keywords you use for your website and use those as a foundation to creating your posts. To make your content more engaging use words that encourage interaction such as; “post”, “comment”, “like”, “submit”, “tell us”. This will prompt your community to engage in that particular post.  Engaging content also goes back to understanding your customer, this helps to create engaging, relevant posts.

Monitor your analytics

Most social media channels provide free analytics and metrics for you to monitor your community. Facebook has an amazingly powerful “insights” dashboard which gives you a snapshot of your activity and provides feedback on each of your posts. There are many other tools which can be extremely powerful including; TweetDeck, sproutsocial and even Google.

Analytics in some cases can be integrated.

Whilst it is important to gather all of this data, it’s more important to convert it into useful information which will give direction to your future social media efforts. You must learn from each of your posts and experiences, this will help you better understand your community and post the most relevant and engaging content at the best times.

Integrate into your overall marketing

The social media landscape does not operate in its own little bubble you must integrate it into your overall marketing. Link to you social media channels on your website, email signature, marketing collateral, car signs, TVC’s, billboards, and any other touch point you may have. You also need to make sure that it’s not just a one way street and that you direct traffic from your social media channels to your website, or encourage them to take direct action by contacting you via phone or email or even in the channel.

Advertise

If you want to build up your community quickly or you have exhausted your organic growth options advertising in the platform is an effective way to build your numbers. Most of the platforms have effective advertising systems which allow businesses to target specific individuals based on a number of factors including; age, sex, education, interests, marital status and location. With this you can create a number of different ads for different niche markets. It’s important when creating ads to do split testing, where you test a variety of images, copy and targeting in order to get the highest conversion rates and lowest cost per acquisition.

Sweepstakes, deals and competitions

Having sweepstakes, deals and competitions is a great way to create buzz around your channel and your brand. It usually creates a large amount of organic and viral traffic and increases your engagement considerably. This gives customers a reason to engage in your page, keep in mind the prizes for the competitions should be exciting and relevant to your target market otherwise they will have no interest.

Create a communication strategy

Many businesses worry about what people are saying about their business, and they should be concerned. Your brand is your most valuable asset and should be protected. It’s so important to have a process in place to monitor and respond to posts in order to maintain brand value. Having a “response protocol” will ensure that whoever is responding to comments there is consistency with the branding and your business always looks its best. Remember it’s not about what you say, it’s about what other people see.

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