Having a strong and active social presence is a critical part of any comprehensive marketing program for any business that wants to stay competitive. But if you want your business to be successful in this marketing channel, just keeping track of how many people “like” or follow you isn’t going to cut it. Instead, you’ll need to focus on optimizing your social pages, posting interesting and engaging content, and responding appropriately to comments. Not sure how to get started? Try these quick tips:
- Think like a customer. Your social pages are not the place for blatant advertising. These sites provide unique opportunities to truly interact with your target audience, developing a better understanding of their needs and the issues that concern them. The primary function of your social sites is to develop trust by serving as a helpful and informative resource for your readers; brand recognition – and loyalty – will follow.
- Think visual. Elements like photographs and videos – even colorful charts – are more likely to draw the eye and attract readers’ attention than plain old text. Visual elements also help break up white space. Enlist the aid of a graphic design pro or take advantage of one of today’s user-friendly image-editing tools and try doing it yourself. There’s even image editing tools specifically developed for social network sites. Check out these 6 Simple Tools for Creating Social Media Visuals.
- Think like a search engine. To increase your chances of being found organically, be sure to fill out your site profile page completely, including sections on name and address, category, description and about us sections. In addition to making it easier for your page to be found, complete, well written and professional-sounding profiles help your business appear more established and hence, more trustworthy.
- Grab some hashtags. The use of hashtags is an increasingly popular way to increase your site’s visibility. Initially developed for Twitter, hashtags are supported now by most social networks, including Facebook, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest. Just don’t overdo it – too many hashtags in a single post can make a post difficult to read. Also be sure to use hashtags that are truly relevant. Use popular keywords that are easy to recall and make it specific to drive the right audience to the conversation. A great place to look for popular hashtags to use is http://www.hashtags.org/ . Check out their Popular Hashtags section which breaks down the most widely used hashtags in tv/entertainment, technology and business, just to name a few.
- Interact! Remember, they don’t call these “social” sites for nothing. Use your social presence to engage your readers, respond to comments, host polls or contests, and even share user-generated content. These are all great ways to build a reputation of being customer-centric as well as to increase customer satisfaction with your brand. Some interactive activities like contests can even boost your visibility on Facebook’s Newsfeed. Several companies offer easy-to-use contest-building platforms to help you develop the ideal contest for your site. One of our favorites is Offer Pop . They even let you try out there product free for 14 days.
Social networks can play an important role in your overall marketing strategy, but remember: Having an effective social presence begins with a commitment to maintaining that presence. A Facebook page that’s not updated regularly with some type of relevant content can make your brand look unresponsive and behind-the-times. If you don’t feel 100 percent ready to undertake the additional time required by social networking, it may be a good idea to postpone it until you have the resources to devote to it. Just don’t wait too long; most customers have come to expect an ability to engage with a business on some type of social platform. Delaying for too long could wind up costing you customers and revenue.