Understanding Useful Social Media for Business 101
In the past 10 years social media has vastly taken over our social culture in a way we would have never imagined. It gives people the ability to connect with any other person or place in the world and is a constantly changing medium that has made itself a necessity to our technology-obsessed culture. Social media presents new opportunities to anyone willing to master its potential. Because everyone is interacting primarily through social media today, a new avenue is created for business’ to connect even further with their customers. A business that has a strong social media presence is able to tap into their consumers key interests, thus creating a more personal experience for their current and future consumers. But the question is, is the business’ marketing with social media implemented correctly? If so, you’re guaranteed to bring remarkable success to your business.
WHAT’S SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING?
Social media marketing (SMM) covers all activities from the social sharing of content, to posting videos and images for others to see and share. (SMM) is implemented through various social media networks or channels in order to achieve marketing communication and branding goals. The key to starting a successful business marketing campaign through social media is to consider your business’ goals and create a solid plan.
Questions a business needs to consider when creating a successful SMM plan:
- What are you hoping to achieve through SMM?
- Who is your target audience?
- Where does your audience go and how do they use social media?
- What is the message that you want to send to your audience?
The possibilities on social media are limitless. There’s always new features and aspects being created, new ways to post content and new content becoming available. Getting your message lost in the mix is highly likely and very possible. Building your plan will help keep you on the right track, along with keeping a number of other things in mind.
CONTENT IS STILL KING
Content is a major priority when it comes to SMM, as it does with other areas of online marketing. Offering valuable information that your consumers will find interesting through implementing social media images, videos and infographics in addition to classic text-based content is key. Keeping a consistent voice throughout your business’ different social media platforms is also very important. Utilizing blogs and links are ways to create unique incentives for visitors with a wide array of information and relevant content about your business specifically and your industry. Tracking competitors and measuring analytics are great tools to see what other like-business’ are doing right, and what they’re doing wrong, as well as the same type of information for your business’ platforms. Find what consumers love, what other businesses are doing and do it in a more unique and better way.
WHAT CHANNEL? WHICH NETWORK?
Now, for a brief overview on how to use SMM specifically for some of the major platforms environments. We’ll start with the social media network that holds over a billion constantly active users, Facebook.
Facebook requires an active social media marketing strategy. Paying careful attention to the layout on your Facebook Business Fan Page and the visual components of your page is a key aspect. A major component of Facebook revolves around furthering your conversations with your audience and creating constant, unique variety of content. Facebook’s tone is very relaxed, so keep in mind to hold a light and friendly tone.
Twitter holds over 200 million monthly active users. Twitter is the social media platform that enables you to broadcast your updates across the web and create a stream of industry or related field users. Twitter revolves around dialog and communication, so interaction (retweeting, clicking “favorite” and following) is key.
Google+ is a newer Facebook-similar platform that promotes the same type of atmosphere. Google+ allows you to segment your followers into smaller groups, which in turn gives you the ability to share specific information with specific groups. There’s also the Hangout feature which gives the ability to host video conferences. A great example of this feature being used in a business standpoint might include creating “how-to’s” and discussions about industry-related topics.
LinkedIn is the more professional side of the collection of social media marketing sites. LinkedIn Groups is great for business’ entering in professional dialog with similar industry people and companies. The “Recommendations” feature is a great way to make your business appear as a credible and reliable to consumers.
YouTube is the number one place for creating video content, which can be an incredibly powerful social media marketing tool. The focus on YouTube is to build your channel with creative, useful, or instructive “how-to” videos.
Pintrest is an image-centered platform that is great for retail, but can be utilized for any business to showcase their own product offerings while developing a brand personality.
There are also a number of location-based social media platforms, such as Yelp, FourSquare and Level Up, which are great for brick and mortar businesses looking to implement SMM.
Lastly, there are a number of social media platforms focused on sharing compelling content, such as Reddit, Stumble Upon or Digg. The trick with these sites is that the readers (which is over 2 billion a month) are looking for only the most unique and interesting content, so anything less could easily be rebuked by this extremely tech-savvy community. So with fair warning, and the right content posted, these types of SMM could provide your business with tremendous benefits and contribute in earning beneficial traffic.
Social media marketing proves to be extremely valuable for any business looking to expand their presence and consumer reach. Social media creates a valuable venue for better understanding and learning from target audiences. Social media plays a huge role in our society today and will only continue to grow. The right content produced can set a business aside as being a truly unique asset to their industry. Delivery that content at the right time is even better. Interaction with consumers’ shows that the business is listening to their audience and that alone can set a business aside from any other in their industry.
Understanding the popular social media platforms and how to get the most out of them is a valuable tool. A social media marketing plan can make or break a business. Create your business’ voice and personality and keep it consistent, and you are well on your way to a successful social media presence for your business, which will in turn guarantee success for your business.