Like it or not, an effective marketing plan is only complete with a well-thought-out social media plan.
But social media is a fluid beast, constantly updating and evolving. You either swim with the social current or sink to an outdated presence. Below are 5 basic tips that can help your business stay ahead of the social media curve.
1. Stay current.
Subject matter experts live their industry. They’d breathe it, too, if it were actually possible.To tout your knowledge, you need to be one of – if not the – first to share the latest and greatest nuggets of worthwhile information.
That means subscribing to blogs and news sites relevant to your industry and using the busy reader’s best friend, Pocket. to save articles for later and get recommendations as well. Also, be sure to check out blogs that write about, well…blogs. What better way to learn a few tips about blogging and social media best practices than from platforms dedicated to them in general?
Take it a step further and set up Google alerts so you can comment on, analyze and share the latest content you’re following before anyone else.
Becoming a true student of your industry leads to becoming a social media authority!
2. Hit your target.
This is the hardest part of social media (and advertising in general): Knowing with 100% certainty who your audience is. Getting this right will have the best ripple effect imaginable.
Take time to choose and learn your target audience. Lots of time. Hours of it. Be meticulous.
Create a list of their characteristics, which may include what they wear, where they work, their average annual income or how many children they most likely have. Then spend about 30 minutes each day interacting with the people who fit your target. Like and retweet their posts, or share their blogs. This is an excellent way to get your page seen while actually being social on social media. (Imagine that!)
There are fewer and fewer excuses to miss the mark with your audience in today’s world of connectivity and resources. A great social media strategy and active monitoring will only get you closer and closer to that “right person.” Never stop learning all you can about them, and be able to adapt to their ever-changing world.
Save relevant hashtags that you tend to repeat. Determining the best hashtags may be the hardest part. Vague hashtags clog social media (i.e. #marketing) while overly-specific tags may yield limited results.
Choose populated hashtags that generate fresh content, such as #b2bsales or #smallbiztips. See what influencers and industry leaders are tagging with their posts and engage with your own content.
A great rule of thumb: Vague “umbrella” hashtags will cast a wide net and pull from more general, over-arching communities; while more specific “niche” hashtags can help hone subcategories and followers that will be even more relevant to your brand.
4. Fund it!
Unfortunately, the big platforms like Facebook and Twitter have long since caught on to the free exposure and messaging opportunities that brands use on social media. They’re even able to detect advertising lingo within posts and limit the organic reach posts can achieve. (It’s the world we live in.)
Therefore, it’s wise to budget money each month for boosting posts. This is one of the best ways to reach your audience on social media and monitor engagement. When you boost social posts, you can choose exactly who to target, and continually learn more about what’s working and what isn’t — the type of content shared, the most effective times of day, messaging tone and more — it’s a constant but fun challenge.
The good news? Post boosting is still relatively inexpensive when compared to the amount of exposure you can achieve for your brand (a few Abe Lincolns as opposed to a thousand Benjamin Franklins).
5. Be open to new information.
Attend a conference where you can learn more from category experts. (Don’t forget to bring business cards; you never know who you will meet!) A few of us Stealthers recently attended a two-day marketing conference; read our takeaways to see how we navigated the panels, and generally what to expect should you venture out to a similar event.
Want to attend a conference but can’t make it? Follow the conference and speakers’ social channels and designated event hashtag for live updates. The attendees will most likely be posting their favorite takeaways as well.
Above all: Be flexible. Be authentic! Your followers are smart. They can tell when you’re trying too hard to sell.
See why your business needs an active online presence to connect with your audience.
Download our infographic to learn how social media marketing can help your business grow, increase brand awareness, establish thought leadership and generate leads.