This article was originally posted by Iron Summit Media Strategies.
Greetings Bank of America Small Business Community. My name is David Miller and I am the owner of a small digital marketing agency based out of Orlando, Florida. We get asked about effective social media marketing a lot, and decided that we would share some of our tips with the community. This was originally posted to our blog, but we repackaged it specifically for the BoA community forums. We hope you get some value out of this article, and if you have any questions you can feel free to contact us through our website.
It has been shown that using social media as a way to promote your business can be very beneficial. A strong social presence can do many good things for a business such as: building and maintaining brand awareness, improving search engine rankings, increasing brand loyalty, bringing in referral traffic, and much more.
Since social media is such a hot topic in today’s marketplace, we wanted to share with you some helpful tips that will help you enhance your business with social media. The following tips are things that we share with our very own clients, and if followed, are the beginnings to a top-notch social media marketing strategy.
Tip #1: Have Consistent, Properly Sized Profile Pictures and Cover Photos
When it comes to your company profiles, make sure all of the images are sized property. Having stretched out or squished profile pictures and background photos portray a negative image.
If you’re having trouble making the images look good, the best thing you can do is resize images properly before you upload them.
We use this handy cheat sheet for sizing up photos social networks, and we recommend that you use it too!
If you don’t have the know-how or correct program to re-size images on your own, find someone who does. Maybe someone on staff, a friend, Or a hired professional can help!
- An example of a well-built Facebook profile
Tip #2: Never Stop Building Connections
With social media, the ‘if you build it, they will come’ mentality is a flawed way of thinking. Just because your handful of company profiles look great doesn’t mean potential customers will come flocking to your pages.
In order to succeed in social media, you need to have connections. Building connections can be difficult at first, but you need to get creative with it, and you need to keep doing it. It helps if you’re already active on a social network personally, that way you can leverage your current connections as potential connections for your new business profiles.
After you’ve tapped out any source of connections, keep looking for new ones. Have links and sharable content on your company website, promote your social profiles in your store, on your products, and on printed materials, and provide incentives for people to connect with you. Here is your chance to get creative: offer deals, hold contests, and most importantly – create awesome content that is worth viewing/sharing.
Once you’ve built up a good number of connections on any network, don’t stop!
Okay, so I’ve built my social media profiles, and I have some connections, now what?
Tip #3: Utilize Social Media by Posting Useful, Interesting, and Engaging Content
We touched on this in the previous tip, but this the most important aspect of making social media work for a business. When it comes to posting content, make it useful. Here are some examples of useful content:
- Sharing information about an upcoming deal/sale
- Responding to a customer who posted on your profile or mentioned your company
- Helping a client with a problem (feedback)
- Something interesting that promotes your product/service (funny, exciting, thought-provoking)
- Sharing important updates about your product/service (i.e. introducing a new product line)
- Communicating a change in your company to customers (i.e. special holiday hours)
Whatever you do, don’t beg your fans or followers to share your content, and don’t guilt them into doing anything. This is a great way to lose customers.
If you are using your social pages to promote your business, communicate with customers, attract new business, and promote repeat business, then you will begin to unlock the value in social media marketing. A common pitfall for many companies is that they go into the social media world with the plan to setup their profiles and then build connections, but they don’t have any plans after that.
If you don’t plan to utilize your social networks as a marketing channel, setting them up in the first place won’t be worth the time investment.
Tip #4: Be Careful with Controversy
There are a few examples where companies have benefitted from taking sides on a controversial issue, but we generally recommend (especially for small, local businesses) that you stay away from controversial topics. In your personal life you may feel strongly about something, but using your business social profiles to take sides on an issue can do more harm than good. If you’re ever in a position where you want to leverage your business connections to promote a controversial viewpoint, ask yourself if you’re willing to lose or alienate an entire consumer demographic. Be careful.
Tip #5: Track Results
There are a number of tools that you can use to track the results of your social media initiatives. Some tools are built-in, like Facebook’s build-in analytics tools. Google Analytics can show you how many website hits you are getting from social media referrals. There are also some free tools like SharedCount that can give you some sharing statistics. Use data to your advantage! Track the effectiveness of your posts, and test out new ideas!
Social media can be a powerful tool for promoting your business, but only if you go in with a plan in mind. Sure you can build a great looking profile, and get a bunch of followers, but if you don’t use it as a tool to communicate with customers then all of the work you put in will be for nothing.
If you aren’t utilizing social media at all, it is worth putting in some time to learn the ropes, at least to understand what is going on. After that, if you plan to tackle the social media beast yourself then there are a tons of good resources out there for you to take advantage of. Otherwise, there are plenty of professional companies, like our digital marketing agency, that can manage social media marketing for you.
David Miller is the co-founder of Iron Summit Media Strategies – an Orlando based digital marketing agency.