This post is part of the series Improving Your Brand Online
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Improving Your Brand Online: Making Social Media Work
“I saw it on Pinterest.”
“I saw it on Facebook.”
“I read it on Twitter.”
“I saw it on Instagram.”
The list goes on and on. There are so many different Social Media Platforms out there today that it can make your head spin. How do you keep up? The big question often becomes, “Do you need to?”
The simple answer to those questions is both yes and no. The not simple answer is that it is a hard decision to make on what you personally are going to do. You have to do what works best for you and your business. It is well known that having a social media presence can drive traffic to your business. The key is to using it correctly.
The reason that social media works is through the concept of what is commonly known as “tribe” or “hive” mentality. According to Wikipedia:
Tribalism is the state of being organized in or an advocate for a tribe or tribes. In terms of conformity, tribalism may also refer in popular cultural terms to a way of thinking or behaving in which people are loyal to their own tribe or social group.
And according to Wikipedia we also find:
A hive mind or group mind may refer to a number of uses or concepts, ranging from positive to neutral and pejorative. Examples include: Collective consciousness or collective intelligence, concepts in sociology and philosophy. Culture A collective of knowledge, art, artifacts, symbols and social ritual.
Social media platforms are perfect mediums for fulfilling the basic level of both tribalism and the hive mind. These bring together people with common interests and a common “way of thinking or behaving” and give them a place to voice their opinions and share their experiences. They also bring together people together into a “collective” so to speak. People can share their knowledge and other things across the various forms of social media.
As a result of the very nature of social media, it can be helpful in a lot of ways. It can be a powerful marketing tool for your business if used correctly. It can drive traffic to your blog and website with very little effort on your part if you have a strategy in place. It can also help drive traffic to your brick and mortar stores if you find a way to entice your target audience to stop by.
Know your target audience
In order to best utilize the power of social media, you must first know who your target audience(s) is. These are the users you are catering to, so to speak. These are your ideal customers or consumers of your products and/or services. To best target these users, you must first know who they are.
It is important to ask questions about your target audience(s). Remember that all of this is for them, not for you. It does not matter what you are interested in, it matters what they are interested in. You have to catch their interest. Once you do that, you can catch more potential sales leads and hopefully convert more to paying sales.
Know your target audience. Know your platform.
Once you know who your target audience(s) is, you need to know which social media platforms they are using. There is no reason to use a platform that your customers and target markets are not using. If your target market is never going to look at Pinterest, do not waste your valuable time learning the ropes on how to market your business on Pinterest. It makes not sense whatsoever. If on the other hand, your customers are savvy Facebook users, make sure you have a Business Facebook Page. That is a smart business move. It would even be in your best interest to learn the value of Facebook Ads and other valuable tools available on Facebook itself.
With Twitter you have the potential to get your business in front of 313 million active monthly users, but the average tweet only lasts approximately 2 hours so it is a very fast moving platform and you have to be committed to be an active daily user to be seen. This means more than 1 tweet per day. It means closer to 1 tweet per hour to be seen in the big ocean of active tweeters. Do you have that much to tweet about?
On the other hand, Twitter can be used as a great tool to find out what things are trending in your given industry. These are things that your potential customers and ultimately your target market is interested in or could have questions about. Used correctly it could be a helpful tool in building your blogging strategy.
Facebook is the most popular social media platform. It has nearly 2 billion active users per month. It has multiple ways to help you target your potential customers and grow your online brand. It is an online marketing dream come true in so many ways. Use it to your advantage to drive traffic to your blog and website and you can increase your sales leads and hopefully turn them into final sales.
Do not immediately dismiss an online social media platform simply because it is not as big or popular as the larger and well known platforms. You need to be where your customers are.
Committing to social media
Once you make the decision to use social media, whether it be one platform or three platforms, it is important that you:
- Produce quality content over quantity
- Be consistent
It does not matter if you have a social media account for your business if you do not use it. Posting is extremely important. You need to be social on social media. Posting is how you are social. The beauty of the various platforms is that you do not need to come up with 100% new and unique content 100% of the time. You are free to share other people’s content as well. I recommend you at least sharing links to the content if you are doing this and not copying and pasting. There is an level of sharing ethics you should follow when doing such. Do not steal, share. The key is to post stuff that is useful and valuable to your users – your target audience(s).
It is important that you share and produce quality content. While it is important to use the platform if you opt to have an account, it is more important that the content you share and produce yourself be quality over being of great quantity. It does not matter if you make 100 posts per day if your target audience can only use or only find 3 of them of value. The key is to find a happy medium point where what you share/produce is of value and usable to your target audience most of the time. Remember quality over quantity.
Following along that same line, it is important to be consistent. Consistency helps drive traffic. If you are consistent, your users are more likely to come back and check for more. If you have a set schedule, they are more likely to come back and see what else you have to offer. If you release coupon codes on Monday, they will know to check for those on Monday. Consistency makes it comfortable for users.
Unify your look across all platforms
Your look and branding should be consistent from your storefront, website, blog, and all social media platforms. It is not always easy to do this with the limitations of some social media platforms, but it is important to try to unify your outward appearance across all platforms you use. Give your users something they can trust.
Go and be social!
Make sure you have a strategy!
See also: Have a brand, Start your blog or website, Create your content, Making Social Media Work, Making social media efforts matter, Share!, Email marketing, More on content, Give something away, Online marketing is not a one time deal.
Continue reading this series:
Improving Your Brand Online: Making social media efforts matter