According to a report by Social Media Examiner, 97% of businesses use social media for marketing purposes (pdf). But with all the social platforms available, and the seemingly endless ways to use them, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and confused. Here are five tips to help you dial in your social marketing strategy to make it more effective for your business.
1. Take Advantage of New Platforms
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+ are now well-established social media platforms. But there are always new players coming on the scene, and it’s worthwhile to try a few out to see if one resonates with your audience. Vine is an option, where you can post short videos about your company. And if you’re targeting a younger audience, consider SnapChat – a platform where images can be shared for a brief period of time before they’re deleted forever.
2. Respond to all Comments
It’s important to respond to your customers when they reach out to you through social media, even if their comments are negative. Your interaction shows your customer base that you’re engaged, available, and interested in their feedback. Even if you simply respond by offering a quick, “Thanks for your comment!” it shows your audience that you care.
3. Use Images and Video
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Google+ have all made it easy to post images and video to your accounts. According to HubSpot, a marketing software company, Facebook posts including photos generate 53% more likes and 104% more comments than those without. Pinterest, Instagram, and Vine are all centered on visual content, further emphasizing the importance of using visual marketing to target your audience.
4. Create an Interactive Experience
Don’t forget that social media is meant to be social. Make your accounts more sociable by introducing polls or surveys. If there’s something you want your audience to comment on, consider offering a raffle for a $10 Amazon gift card to those who respond to a particular post. You can even give away company swag or other promotional items to increase interactivity.
5. Monitor Analytics
Without monitoring your statistics, you can’t know whether your efforts are paying off. Google Analytics and HootSuite both offer free tools to monitor your social impact. Track to see which platforms are helping your business generate traffic, then focus your efforts on these platforms. It doesn’t make sense to spend lots of time on a platform that isn’t helping your business grow.
Social media is an excellent way to market your business, but if you feel overwhelmed by the process, don’t feel the need to go it alone. There are lots of freelance social media experts willing to take on your social project. Post your opportunity on sites like Guru or Freelancer, then select a professional with proven experience and knowledge of the field. Just because social media seems “simple,” doesn’t mean that it’s simple for everyone. If it’s sapping your time and leaving you frustrated, enlisting help can free you up to focus on the tasks you enjoy.
Eric Zink is a social media specialist and writer who covers topics related to marketing, technology, and small business.