Social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest offer an excellent opportunity to grow your business. Everyone uses social media, so your business should too. With social media, you can collect valuable data, build a large audience for your brand, and let your audience know about important updates to your business. You can also stay up to date with your competitors and analyse how they connect with their customers.
Social media is undoubtedly one of the most effective means of marketing today. Considering eligible social media users aged 13 and over, more than 58 percent of the world’s population is on social media. (Backlinko)
One of its greatest benefits is that it lets you communicate with your customers. Remember that communication is not only about what you say. It is about how you say it. The way you deliver your message influences how it will be received. To effectively and appropriately deliver your message, you must understand how your social media platform of choice works.
If you’re not on social media, now is the time to set it up. Here we have outlined some ground rules for your social media strategy. Whether you’re a social media beginner, or have a business account already but are looking to grow, consider the following to get the most of social media for your business.
Understand Your Platform
Each social media platform requires a different approach. It’s essential to understand what works and what doesn’t for each platform. For example, Instagram is an image-based platform, so Instagram success requires compelling imagery. Users scroll through their feeds and see hundreds of images, so you need to grab their attention.
Facebook facilitates discussion and conversation. You can post questions, updates, and even polls to begin a discussion and get your audience talking. Your Facebook presence offers an opportunity to connect with your audience on a human level.
Twitter is short and sweet. Posts are limited to 290 characters, so you need to be direct and concise with your tweets. Twitter is a great place to share your humour and wit, and it also allows you to keep your followers up to date on your latest ventures.
Pinterest is another image-sharing platform. If you sell products such as clothes or jewellery, Pinterest is for you.
LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool. You can connect with other businesses and professionals on LinkedIn, share ideas, and find others with whom you can collaborate.
Understand your Audience
Recent research by HubSpot investigated the ways people use their chosen social media platforms. The researchers found that Facebook was primarily used for communication and discovery. Discovery is an essential aspect of Instagram, along with B2C bonding. Twitter is used for discovery and bridging. (HubSpot) LinkedIn was not included in the research, but it is still an excellent platform for B2B discovery, networking, and bonding.
Form Your Strategy
To play by the rules of your social media and succeed, you need a strategy. A great social media strategy takes a collaborative effort. Gather your marketing team together and brainstorm ways to reach your audience and convert them to customers through social media. Remember to document your strategy. The majority of successful B2B marketers document their strategies. (ContentMarketingInstitute)
Use the Tools Available
Each platform has features you can use to maximise the efficacy of your content. For example, Instagram and Facebook allow users to share stories for 24 hours at a time. You can share ‘behind-the-scenes’ footage from your office, events your team attend, community projects, and business updates on your story. Stories cultivate a more intimate and exclusive relationship with your audience.
Twitter and Facebook allow you to create polls. You can learn more about your audience’s wants and needs by asking them directly with a poll. Give them a handful of options and see which are most popular with your audience. From your poll results, you gain insight into how to move forward with your strategy.
You can use hashtags on Twitter. Hashtags make it easier for potential audience members and customers to find your business. Tweets that use hashtags get 100 percent more engagement than those that don’t. (Twitter)
All social media platforms feature a comments section. Don’t dismiss the power of comments. This is where you can really listen to your audience and even engage in discussion. Allocate a real person, not only a bot, to work on B2C communication in your comments sections. Your audience will appreciate the human touch and will be more likely to communicate with you further.
Etiquette varies between platforms. One to two posts a day is enough for Facebook – more would be oversharing. Three to five posts per day is appropriate on Twitter, given that tweets are typically short. One post per day on Instagram and LinkedIn is usually enough.
Be mindful of offence and insensitivity. Create shared content with trends and current affairs in mind. If you are too controversial or insensitive with your posts, you risk damaging your reputation. Be mindful, inclusive, and compassionate with the content you share.
Above, we have outlined how to play by the rules of your social media platform. Bear in mind that there are vague rules, but you have the freedom to experiment and even make up your own. For example, one Instagram post per day is a general rule, but that can be broken if you believe you have two good posts and want to share them on the same day. As you move forward with your strategy, you will learn valuable lessons and discover many unwritten rules. Remember them, and keep learning!