If you own a business, and it doesn’t have a social media presence, someone must have suggested you to establish one during this week. While it may have seemed a fad at the beginning, social media is here to stay. Moreover, since, regardless of your niche, your audience is present on these platforms, and are looking to socialize, it only makes sense to reach out to them on these platforms.
That being said, establishing a strong presence on social media is no joke. In many cases, the lack of results discourages businesses to keep investing in their social media presence. As a result, we have an abundance of dead Facebook pages and Instagram business profiles.
If you don’t have an endless budget for paid social media marketing, the truth is that results will be slow. However, there are several social media strategies and techniques, and some show faster results than the others. Let’s look at some techniques that will help you get your social media presence off the ground quickly and smoothly:
Hashtags are at the top of this list for a reason, they offer the easiest way to gain visibility, even if you are an absolute beginner. When you post something on social media and include hashtags, the post automatically becomes visible to everyone searching for that hashtag.
For instance, if you are a car mechanic in Manchester and upload a customer’s photo next to her car, along with their testimonial, and couple it with a hashtag like #CarsOfManchester, the post will become visible to several car enthusiasts (and owners) in your area.
This is just one of the many ways you can use hashtags to your advantage. Another great way to use hashtags is to search for the trending hashtags that are relevant to your niche and join in on the conversation. After all, social media is all about conversations. Moreover, if done right, casual conversations can be used to create interest in your brand.
For those participating in paid social media promotions, hashtags make it extremely easy to track the performance of your promotion. Moreover, hashtags can be kept same across platforms, making it easier to run campaigns, while supplementing your brand recall value.
Visual Content For The Win
It’s no secret that human beings love visual information. The reason behind this is also quite straightforward, it is easier to process and remember visual information. Even when we are reading, our brains are wired to receive information in form of visuals, and then process what it means.
37% of B2C marketers say that pre-produced video is the most successful content format. The mobile video consumption has increased by 100 million viewing hours within the last two years.
The derivation here is simple, if you want to move ahead in the social media domain, great visual content is the way forward. However, keep in mind, the web is swamped with video content. It is important to produce relevant and high-quality content in order to truly stand out.
Follow The 80-20 Rule
Probably the most common mistake that brands make on social media is to use it to promote themselves. Wait, what? Isn’t that what we’re talking about here?
Here’s the reality, while you and your business may be there to advertise your offering, other people (your audience) do not visit social media for the ads. Your audience visits social media to socialize. They use it to interact with their contacts, their favorite celebrities, and sometimes, to learn. In such a scenario, if your the mechanic from our example earlier simply keeps promoting his business, few people would want updates from him.
On the other hand, if the mechanic shares useful information, like the procedure to check engine oil levels in your car, there is a better chance that car owners (his audience) will find this type of content useful, and would follow him for more such content.
Getting to the point, the 80-20 rule of social media is simple, 80% of the content you share should not be promotional. Instead, that 80% should educate or entertain your audiences. Sure, you can use branded content for this purpose, but the content should not, in any way, be promotional. The 20% can be used for promotional purposes.
While this might seem counterintuitive at first, this strategy will help you establish your brand as a trustworthy entity. Whether it is because of the information you offer, or the entertainment value, your prospects will want to engage with your content and engagement will drive visibility. Eventually, they will start recognizing your brand and its services, and if your content is good enough, they would also want to associate themselves with your brand. This brings us to our next technique, user-generated content.
Let Your Audience Do The Talking
As you may already know, testimonials work great when it comes to building trust and a positive image of a brand. The only thing that works better than testimonials are probably positive reviews. In many cases, such as Yelp, the reviews are not under the control of a business owner, and hence, are generally trusted as true.
The same principle can be applied to social media. While a testimonial of a satisfied customer is great for generating trust, if the same testimonial (or in this case, review) is posted on your social media page by the customer, it will communicate a higher level of trust.
In a survey, it was found that 85% of customers trust online reviews as much as recommendations made by friends and families.
A review posted by a customer will also have the following advantages:
- Their activity will be highlighted on the feeds of their friends. This will get your page additional (positive) visibility.
- Positive social media reviews will supplement a better search engine performance.
User generated reviews are just one type of user-generated content. You can urge your users to interact with you using their content with the help of contests as well. However, doing so would entail a paid promotion of the contest campaign.
Another common mistake that brands make is to ignore the comments and posts by their audience. Unless the amount of comments and posts you are getting from your audience is absolutely overwhelming, you should make it a point to reply to every single one of your visitors. This not only helps you humanize your brand but also communicates trust and a positive brand image.
When you don’t respond to a visitor’s query on your Facebook page, they will turn to a competitor for the same information. Similarly, if a customer comments on one of your posts with a positive feedback and doesn’t get a response, you can rest assured that their feedback is no more positive.
On the other hand, when you solve a query of a visitor, you open a door for further conversation, which ultimately may lead to a sale. If you reply to a positive feedback with a personalized ‘thank you’ message, there is a probability that the customer will share this experience with their friends, prompting them to try out your services. 38% of customers post about positive brand experiences on their own social media, 88% tell their family and friends about the same.
Negative feedback also needs to be tackled, with respect and patience. Whether the interaction is positive or negative, as a brand, you should make sure that you use each interaction as a chance of showing everyone how good you treat your customers.
Over a fourth of all human population is present on social media. Instagram alone boasts of 1 billion users. These numbers show no signs of slowing down. If your business is not on social media, it is high time that you started.
However, keep in mind that simply being present and posting about your services is not enough. The modern consumers demand engagement, entertainment, relevance, and information.
The success of any social media strategy lies in understanding and addressing these demands.
Featured Image Credit: Pixabay
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