Marketing your brand can often seem like one of the most difficult tasks a business owner faces, but it shouldnít be. Building a reputation for your brand should come naturally, especially with the multitude of social media options available for businesses to utilize today.
If there is a golden rule to marketing within Facebook, Twitter, and their contemporaries, it is to be yourself. Don't try to push your product all the time. Social media is about engaging. When you inspire conversation, you build an engaging brand.
Whether you've just incorporated or are restructuring your marketing efforts, the key points behind these five steps will help you ensure that every moment you give to social media marketing is time well spent.
1. Decide Your Purpose and Target Audience
What is your motivation to market yourself on social media? This may seem obvious to generate more business. But think about how you do this. If you own a shoe store, it would help if people thought of you when they needed advice on the latest trends or designs for a specific purpose. To find this information, they'd likely look for reviews online, ask a friend on Facebook or find a third-party website with blogs about hiking boots or high-heels for bridesmaids whatever it is they are looking for.
Think about how you can enter this conversation and speak with authority to reach the types of people you want to attract to your business.
2. Determine which Social Media Outlets Suit Your Goals
Although a shoe store might find Pinterest immensely useful, pinning new designs throughout the day, a temp agency would probably struggle to find enough images to pin to keep their page active. They would, however, have plenty to say on Twitter, posting tweets about the types of work their contractors are doing at the time.
Most businesses can find a purpose for Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Pinterest is excellent for any company that can visualize their product or service and make it attractive and worth spreading. YouTube may be the most effective way to get the word out, but it requires extensive legwork to create a video that's worthy of sharing. Almost everyone can have a blog, and both Tumblr and WordPress continue to grow.
3. Develop Personalities
People trust individuals more than companies. On your social media pages, it's better to be Karen from Fisheye Graphic Designî than just your company name. When a post comes from an ambiguous source, people are less likely to ask questions and spark conversation. If they're talking to Karen,(even if several people fill her role from time to time), they'll form a relationship and humanize your brand.
4. Post and Respond
It's common for a company to assign an employee to handle social media, in addition to other tasks. That person might post their one required update each morning and then leave it alone. Thatís a big mistake!
Posting should occur in real time. If you have a few trusted employees, give them each access to the account. Whenever something work-related occurs that excites them, encourage them to post. Most importantly, make sure that they respond when people leave comments. It's the back-and-forth that makes social media engaging and creates trust-based relationships.
5. Only Speak When You Have Something to Say
This final step goes hand-in-hand with step four. Social media should never be boring. If you're feeling dull and nothing is really going on at work, don't post for the sake of posting. Most importantly, don't throw blatant marketing material up and expect people to Like it. If your Twitter feed or Facebook page is little more than a string of advertisements, you'll discover that people will un-Follow you or just ignore your page altogether.
Itís worth adding that social media outlets from Tumblr to Facebook now allow companies to highlight their posts by paying a fee to reach more followers. The update becomes sticker, remaining on news feeds higher up and for a longer period of time. If you've got a sale or special event coming up, this can be an enormously useful tool. At the same time, if your post is boring or comes off like an ad, it could backfire. When people are forced to look at a post theyíre not interested in multiple times, theyíre that much more likely to un-Follow your brand's page than if they only see it once.
The solution is to always be relevant. When you post, ask questions. Be excited. Engage your customers!
Today is a guest post from Anita Brady who has overseen strategic marketing and other efforts for many different companies. She is the also President of 123Print.com, one of the foremost suppliers of online business cards, and other office supply items for small businesses and individuals.