Let’s be honest… We are not, nor will we ever be, Beyonce. But, mere mortals can learn from the Queen Bee’s impeccable social media marketing strategy. She certainly did not build her empire of 78 million Instagram followers by sporadically sharing (or oversharing) on social media, without giving a thought to the platform, her brand, and her objectives. Building a social media presence that will drive new leads to your company, introduce the public to your service or product, and provide fast and accessible support to your current customers is a long term commitment. First things first, and contrary to popular belief:
Social media marketing is not just tweeting.
Social media marketing means dreaming up, planning, and executing full scale marketing campaigns. Join the 89% of marketers who have increased exposure and site traffic by stepping up their social media marketing strategy (Social Media Examiner). Follow these five best practices to get started.
1. Don’t forget that social media is, first and foremost, social.
Many a small business and tech company have fallen prey to a robotic social media personality. Don’t be one of them. Potential customers visiting your social media accounts want to know that they are interacting with a human being, so don’t be afraid to sound like one. Engage with others and actively respond to comments and questions with humor. Do talk about what happened on Game of Thrones last night (but proceed with caution, no one likes a spoiler). Do use emojis. Do reference pop culture. This is your opportunity to build relationships, so take advantage of it. Use a tool such as Tweetdeck to help you identify others who are interested in what your company has to offer, and start conversing.
2. Establish a voice.
That being said, your social media presence should have some consistency. Consider your demographic; who are you marketing to? Parents or children? Millennials or retirees? Your voice should be relateable to your ideal buyer persona and use language that is familiar and comfortable. If your desired crowd is on the older side, it’s best to be a little more formal in your online interactions. Younger people are used to forming new relationships through social media, so feel free to get more personal. Be unique, but always remember that you are representing your brand.
3. Engage with negative AND positive feedback.
Okay, Beyonce probably doesn’t deign to respond to online negativity, but as we established, Beyonce you are not. Until you reach that level, consider negative feedback on social media an opportunity to improve your company and meet the needs of your customers. Fight the urge to delete negative comments. Instead, offer a solution to the commentator’s problem with a smile. Someone may encounter the same the issue in the future, and your response will not only be helpful, but it will demonstrate how much you care about the experience of your customers.
However, in the midst of responding to constructive criticism, be careful to not let positive feedback go unacknowledged. The customers who are taking time out of their schedules to tell you how much they appreciate you are the customers who are likely recommending your product or service to their friends and coworkers. Give every bit of positive feedback that comes your way a personalized and genuine thank you.
4. Know the platform.
For the most part, the theme of each social media post should coordinate across platforms. However, that does NOT mean all posts are created equal. You alter your behavior to be appropriate in different settings everyday. You behave differently when you are at home with your family, at work, or going out on the weekend, and social media is no different. Although you may want to convey the same information on every platform, the information must be customized to be appropriate for the setting:
- LinkedIn should be professional, always. Avoid exclamation points, jokes and puns. Post only when necessary; keep your posts to once or twice a week.
- Facebook is your opportunity to do some storytelling. The character count is more lenient than any other platform, so include relevant details you would otherwise be forced to exclude. Always use a picture or graphic to catch the scrollers attention.
- Twitter has a very restrictive character count, so one-liners and attention grabbing headlines are crucial. If you can’t impress the scroller in less than 140 characters, they are not likely to follow the link to the extended content.
- Instagram is your space to have fun and take risks. Its users are younger on average and more accustomed to informal online interactions. Be sure to take advantage of hashtags; they are the number one strategy for gaining relevant followers.
- Google+ is often neglected by businesses, but it has the second highest amount of subscribers behind Facebook. If you have multiple types of customers, use this platform to categorize your followers into “circles” and customize your content to be relevant to each.
Social media platforms are not limited to these five. Do your research to be sure you aren’t missing out on an audience that would be interested in what you have to say!
5. Monitor your social media platforms daily.
Mastering the art of social media will take a bit of trial and error, and like any valuable skill, mastery doesn’t just happen; you have to be willing to adjust. An abundance of free online tools exist to monitor your social media engagement for you, including Hubspot, Google Alerts, Buffer, and Radian6, to name a few. Here are a few examples of what you should be looking for:
- Company mentions: Who is mentioning or tagging your company, on what platforms, and how frequently?
- Influencers: Is someone in your industry generating a lot of attention? Closely monitor their social media accounts and learn from their success (imitation is the best form of flattery).
- Engagement trends: look for correlations between likes, days of the weeks, and hours of the day. Depending on the demographic of your follower base, they will be most active at specific times; these are the best times to post.
There’s no use fighting it. If you want your company to be relevant and accessible, an online social media presence is a must. Companies who have used social media for three or more years say it helped by improving search rankings, creating more partnerships, generating ideas, increasing traffic, providing marketplace insight, and reducing marketing expenses (Social Media Examiner). Not a bad list of benefits. You now have the tools to revamp your social media marketing strategy. Who knows, you may even be the next social media marketing queen.