Social Media: How to Make it Work for You

     
     

Published: May 28, 2018

Does social media really help small businesses improve their marketing results? That’s the question on many minds as marketing strategies are created and budgets divvied up. The good news is that social media marketing can be an effective channel in itself while also boosting the return on your other digital marketing efforts, too.

If your social media marketing doesn’t seem to be working, or you’re new to the game, follow these tips to start rocking the social-sphere and see real results to your bottom line.

Start With Photos
Photos and other images are essential when crafting the perfect social media post. Consider that tweets with images get 150 percent more retweets than those without and Facebook posts with images see more than double the engagement than those without. Plus, social media channels like Pinterest and Instagram rely almost entirely on photos and images. 

When selecting photos, graphics, and other images to share on your social feeds, it’s important to choose images that are related to your business. Kittens may get you tons of likes and shares, but if they’re not connecting your followers to your core business, kittens will not help your bottom line. You should also try to use colors, fonts, and other themes that stick close to your branding. That way, your messaging is consistent and your customers will be able to easily recognize your posts.

Including Text
Most social media platforms allow for at least a bit of text; some can accommodate several hundred words. In most cases, however, it’s best to keep it short and to the point. Remember, people are scrolling through dozens or even hundreds of posts and they’re not likely to stop on any one post for very long. Between 60 and 100 characters is ideal, and that’s a maximum of 15 words.

Once you complete your brief message to accompany an image, there’s a bit more you can include in the text area to give your posts a bit more power. First, hashtags are a great way to gain visibility with your posts and join in on popular conversations. To explore hashtag ideas or find active tags related to your messaging, free services like Hashtagify can provide some insight on what’s hot and what’s not.

Links are another way to get a little more action from your social media posts. You don’t want to overdo promotional posts, but the occasional link to your website, review sites, popular products, or other interesting information that your audience might like to see will be helpful. You can also use your social platforms to promote website content such as new blog posts or industry research.

Get Visible

There are two ways for a business to get their posts into the news feeds of their audience. The first is through organic reach, or having your posts show up in the feeds of people who like or follow your brand, along with anyone connected to people who like and share your posts. On many platforms, especially Facebook, business posts don’t get quite the same weight as personal posts so only a small percentage of your audience will see your posts, and very few people will see everything you post.

Paid posts are another way to increase your visibility. Not only will you be able to increase the percentage of people who already follow your brand that can see your posts, but you can also reach beyond that audience into new groups. 

Usually, the best results are achieved from a mix of both. Newer brands and pages may need to dedicate a bit more to paid visibility as the audience is built, and established brands with many followers who are engaged with the brand and like, comment, and share posts frequently can rely more heavily on organic reach.

Make Connections
While your objective on social media is marketing, remember that your followers are typically engaging with these platforms to relax, connect with friends, and find entertainment. People are expecting a bit of promotion when they engage with brands, but will quickly become disengaged if you overdo it.

To strike the right balance, make sure your promotional posts provide something that’s valuable to your readers in addition to advertising your products and services. For example, a B2C retail or restaurant establishment can offer a discount for anyone who uses the check-in feature of many social media platforms. Or, create a shareable coupon or discount code that can be used in-store or online.

There are many ways for brands to build a rapport with their audiences, drive traffic to websites, and boost revenues. The key is to find the intersection between entertainment and promotion, and give your followers something of value in return for their attention.


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