Social media encompasses various platforms that provide a playground to more than 3.4 billion users worldwide. Potential customers, spending almost two hours each day on social media, are now only just a click away, and businesses don’t have to break the bank to reach them. This lured a growing number of companies to social media platforms, but, at the same time, made standing out from the crowd a much more difficult task.
Using social media to grow your business might seem deceptively easy – you simply create an account, share content, and enjoy as people buy your products. But executing an efficient social media strategy is much more complicated than that. It requires choosing a relevant platform, setting goals, researching competitors and audiences, creating content, and running ads. Also, avoiding mistakes other companies make and learning from their best practices will help yield even better results. Eventually, all that hard work will be rewarded by loyal customers who’ll promote your business and ensure it thrives.
Social media can help you reach customers that are genuinely interested in your brand
One of the reasons why big and small companies alike should use social media is that it’s easy to start. All it takes is creating an account and sharing content consistently. It might be worth considering to dedicate a team specifically to social media, or even to outsource the job to marketing agencies. Relying on the sophisticated ad-delivery systems of social media companies and engaging influencers can help you reach customers who are genuinely interested in your product. And most importantly, you can do all of this for less money than you’d spend on advertising via more traditional marketing channels like TV or magazines.
The first step is choosing a platform that suits your goals and needs. For instance, if you plan to use social media to communicate with customers, Facebook and Twitter are probably your best bet due to their strong messaging interface. If you’re a business-to-business (B2B) company, LinkedIn is a good choice, as it generates almost half of the social media traffic for B2B firms and can provide you with relevant leads. Fashion and lifestyle brands often use Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest to reach customers, as these sites are image-heavy and rely on aesthetics more than other platforms. And if you’re into video ads, YouTube would be the ideal platform.
Key social media tactics to power your business
And while each social media platform has its own specific features, characteristics, and audience, certain strategies and tactics apply to all of them. For instance, it’s important that companies identify and analyse their competitors and the ways in which they manage their online presence. What kind of content do they share? What type of ads do they run, and how often? The gathered data presents invaluable input for crafting your own content strategy. After all, without knowing the age, interests, education, gender, income, and other details about your potential customers, it’s hard to create and implement an effective social media campaign.
This should ideally be data-backed so that it can result in relevant and shareable content that adds value to customers and is easy to read or watch. Content can consist of interesting articles, but infographics, videos, gifs, memes, and quizzes are becoming increasingly popular as well. And to get the best results, it’s highly recommended to analyse at what day of the week and what time of day social media posts have the biggest reach and to stick to a publishing calendar. To harness the full potential of social media, however, you’ll most likely also have to spend some money on ads. This can be a profitable endeavour as long as you create a well-organised sales funnel that efficiently turns website visitors into loyal customers.
Mistakes companies make in the social media landscape
Although social media has a lot to offer in terms of marketing opportunities, connecting with an online audience isn’t without its challenges. Companies make mistakes – such as letting inexperienced employees run social media channels. As Janet Fouts, the CEO of the social media management agency Tatu, points out, this can lead to the posting of irrelevant content, with unimpressed clients as a result. Another mistake is to think that social media works like newspaper ads or a radio commercial. According to Fouts, “it’s about conversation, not spamming people with the same old messaging.” For instance, a manufacturer of running shoes can do so much more than merely list the price of a product and the materials it’s made of. Talking about the lifestyle of the people who use running shoes, for instance, will create much more value and inspire people to engage with your brand. It’s important for your content to resonate with your target audience as this will eventually lead to increased sales.
Tricks used by businesses that have mastered social media
An example of a startup that knows how to get the best results from social media is Bloom & Wild, a London-based flower subscription startup. This company shares photographs and testimonials from their customers across Facebook and Twitter, and runs giveaway competitions to incentivise users to share content. Also, their beautiful products are the perfect fit for Pinterest, where the company has developed a thriving online community.
Meanwhile, Tails.com, a dog food subscription service, relies on social media to promote blog posts and occasionally show its behind-the-scenes office videos. It also harnesses the strength of different social media platforms by using Facebook for promotional activities and Twitter to directly communicate with customers.
Lucrative markets are just a click away
Social media is transforming the way companies communicate with their audience by offering easy access to over 3.4 billion people worldwide. New customers and lucrative markets are now just a click away, offering entrepreneurs a myriad of opportunities. And even though using social media to grow your business isn’t always as easy as it seems, consistency and time-tested tactics and principles can help you successfully leverage this marketing channel. Many companies have already done the same, and their hard work was rewarded with loyal customers and a thriving business.