The world today cannot operate without social media. A few years ago, social media was seen as a tool for social interaction. Social media platforms served as places where people could simply interact with their friends and families and share special moments.
But as social media gained popularity and became a part of everyday life, it gradually began integrating into the business world. As researchers turned their attention to the impact of social media, online and offline businesses slowly started to realize that these platforms could serve as great tools for marketing products and services.
Thus Social media marketing was born. Usually, a company will have a website or a blog which features its products and services. The company will then use its social media accounts to engage with and attract traffic to their website.
Some of the most popular platforms used for marketing today include Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, among others. Some of these are text-based, while others are image/video based.
What is the importance of social media marketing?
For your business to succeed, you need social media marketing because:
It provides a speedy medium for spreading the word about your products and services. A simple tweet, for instance, can be retweeted and go viral all over the world in mere minutes. If using traditional methods of advertising such as TV or radio, it will take time for people to notice.
Being on social media is one of the biggest trends of all time. Statistics show that people now spend more time per day on social media than on any other media, thanks to internet accessibility on mobile.
Research also shows that marketers now find digital media of advertising effective and most intend to allocate budgets to it.
It’s influential. Most companies now state that they find their customers online, especially on social media platforms. For example, LinkedIn for business has created a new avenue for companies to market themselves and find new customers.
With that said, below are some tips that you will find very useful as a beginner social media marketer:
Don’t generalize, specialize by limiting the number of platforms you choose. Social media platforms are many and it’s therefore not practical to gain a presence in all of them. Trying to be on every platform will only overwhelm you and spread thin your resources.
Start by choosing one or two platforms and focus on growing your presence on those. It’s important not to overthink this decision because there is no right or wrong platform. ask yourself these 2 questions:
Where does my target market spend their time?
For instance, if you are a real estate agent and the majority of your customers frequent Pinterest, you might want to market your business on Pinterest as opposed to say Facebook.
Which platforms are my key influencers using?
You can also base your choice of platform on the social media activities of influencers in your industry. If a key influencer is keen on using LinkedIn, create a profile on LinkedIn, connect with that influencer and start engaging with them.
Make sure your social media profile is optimized!
If you merely create a social media account and leave it at that, you’ll not be very successful at attracting visitors. A few things you can do to optimize your social media profile include:
Upload a real photo.
People will only give you their business if they trust you, identify with you and believe you are professional. A great way to get their trust is by uploading a picture that will show them who you are. A profile without a picture or with avatars will not look professional, nor does it inspire trust.
Describe yourself, your company, product or service.
Tell people what area you specialize in, your interests, your product, why you do what you do, etcetera.
Do not leave customers guessing what benefits or content they’ll get by coming back to your website. Let them know if, for example, you will offer white papers, lifehack tips, ‘how to’ content, static or video content.
Link your profile to your website or blog
If you have a website or blog, link your profile to it. This will allow you to use your social media account to boost your SEO efforts.
Embed social media buttons on your blog or website
Adding social media buttons to your website will allow visitors to share your content. If you don’t have these buttons, it means that visitors will have to copy content or the URL, log into social media and then share. Even if your content is great and worth sharing, the majority of people are simply not that patient.
Make sure that all buttons are visible; if you stuff them at the bottom of your page, it’s very likely they won’t be discovered. Also, ensure they are large enough to be noticed without distracting from the content on the page.
Identify influencers in your industry, connect with them and start following them. Influencers are individuals or brands that have established themselves as authorities in their industry or niche.
Usually, influencers drive opinion among a large number of followers. If an influencer says something in their industry, it’s likely to be believed because the influencer has already built a reputation as a credible source of information.
Building a following takes time, therefore, don’t expect people to notice you overnight just because you are following someone popular.
With time, and as long as you remember the following benefits of following influencers, you will build a good following of your own:
By following someone in a specific niche, Social media will ‘peg’ you as belonging to that niche and start making relevant suggestions of content you might want to read or people you might like to follow.
You will have access to the followers of the influential person and you can start nurturing relationships with them.
There’ll always be important information being shared by others, so you’ll get to learn from the influencers and his or her followers.
You will get a platform where you can contribute and showcase your knowledge and expertise.
Don’t follow everyone and don’t ask everyone to follow you
There’s always the temptation to connect with everyone, but you must fight this tendency because it could impact how many quality followers you get.
It’s better to have 1000 followers but engage with 700 of them than to have 10,000 followers and only engage with 1000 of them. Make sure you get as many influencers as possible to follow your profile.
Getting started in social media marketing shouldn’t be a complicated process as long as you follow these few steps. Once you have worked on the basics of your profile as discussed above, we’ll show you how to get started on the basics of social media marketing, which is what we’ll be discussing in our next post.