Your business is probably already on facebook. Maybe even twitter. But let us guess: You have no real idea what to do next. Fear not! Flok university to the rescue.
The dreaded time has come when even your grandma has a facebook page and your neighbor’s dog has a twitter handle in which he reviews different kibble brands. And that’s how you know you really should be on board when it comes to marketing your business through social media. So, to help you jump on that ship, and make the most of it, we present you with all the basics needed in order to utilize social media platforms for your marketing purposes and personal enjoyement. But mostly marketing. Ok, let's do this.
Conversation over advertising
If print marketing is the cocooned caterpillar, then social media marketing is the blossoming butterfly. There are many an article about what the best approach is when it comes to using social media platforms for commercial purposes but all agree on one thing: the one essential thing about using social media to market a business is to not market a business. If you want to generate the kind of social engagement everyone is talking about, you'll have to think less like a business and more like a person. A social person.
Social Media Marketing in a nutshell
It's easiest to consider two main channels in your marketing efforts: Audience building and Audience engagement. Paid solutions aside, the best way to grow and engage an audience is to simply be active within your online communities of choice. Wether you choose to post on facebook, write a weekly blog, share photos on Instagram - your goal is to generate consistent, creative and valuable content that people would want more of. If they want more: They will like, subscribe, follow, or any of those other words in the thesaurus. If they truly love your content, they will even share it, a miraculous event that gets you exponential* growth (not really exponential, but math terms make us sound smart). So regardless of anything else you might hear, being popular online is just like being popular in real life. America is 73% social, so social media pretty much covers it all.
Mirror mirror on the wall, which social media solution is the fairest of them all?
Have you ever tried counting social media sites? Because that sounds like a boring thing to do. There are SO MANY platforms and software tools associated with social media, that it may seem like it's a hard choice to make. Uncle Flok says: It isn't. Play it safe and choose the big ones: Facebook, twitter, Instagram, or all of the above. You're welcome. Let's discuss:
Marketing your business on Facebook
Do we need to talk about how Facebook is a business and all they want is your money? No? Good. Because there are a ton of things you can do to run a successful facebook page before paying for advertising. Despite us not having been invited to the coronation, it seems that content is now king, so content is what you should fill your facebook page with. A piece of content you put up on your facebook page is called a post. Here are some precious tips for posting:
Tip #1: There’s a fun little tidbit called the 80/20 posting rule and you should totally abide by this: 80% of your posts should have inherent value and be totally not self-promotional. Repost interesting things from the internet, ask an interesting question, host a fun contest and give out cute little prizes, wish your Facebook friends a happy holiday or post a photograph of something funny, that people would enjoy sharing. This is where we make our usual plea: PLEASE HAVE A PERSONALITY. Don't just copy what other people are doing. Other people are boring. Be you. When you wish us a happy 4th of July, please consider something other than attaching a photo of the American flag. We love the stripey pattern and the starry blue rectangle is to die for, but we've kinda seen it before, like once or twice. Maybe more. Try harder.
So this leaves us with the remaining 20%. Good news: this can be all about your product or services. Entice people to ask questions about your business, or post a question, targeting your demographic. People like to interact, but be sure to always keep it short and sweet--attention span has decreased a crazy amount since the invention of social media.
Tip #2: Don’t clutter people’s feeds!!!! No one wants to see the same facebook page popping up every 5 minutes infiltrating their newsfeed and interrupting their stalking habits. Keep your posts limited to somewhere around 2 a day.
Tip #3: Response time is key. The quicker you can respond to a customer commenting or asking a question, the better. Customers appreciate that you are on top of your customer service game not only by emailing or calling you but through social media as well.
Tip #4: Take advantage of your page insights and analytics. You can measure your success by seeing which of your posts are the most successful, by amount of times clicked, liked and shared.
Tip #5: Tagging popular pages or people on facebook is a neat trick, as it might get someone's attention and spread the conversation beyond your own audience. Hashtagging on facebook is just like reading your daily horoscope: pointless yet adictive #ResistTheUrge.
Marketing your business with twitter
Twitter is definitely the most vocal in the social media world. It's also a fickle mistress, and can go from awesome to awful in under 140 characters. It's hard to describe what makes twitter tick, but what we can agree on is that tweeting effectively is an art. An interesting question to ask is 'why do people go on twitter?'. That is not a good question. A better question is: 'If people are already on twitter, what can I post that has value to them?''. Think of your twitter profile as a channel that people can tune into. What kind of content can you provide to make people go 'yeah, I'd like to occasionally read a few sentences from that guy'. It can be funny statements related to your business, it could be relevant pictures you found online, it could be timely commentary on current events... as long as its short and clear - it belongs on twitter. On to the tips.
Tip #1: First of all, your Twitter bio should be on point. Make sure your profile is branded well, and include the website, contact info and other important basics.
Tip #2: Retweet, follow and spread the love. When you give attention to other twitter-users, they tend to give it right back to you. It's all about Twitter-manners. You never know who follows the handle you just retweeted...it could be Warren Buffet and maybe, just maybe, he’ll follow your business because of that simple retweet! (he won't).
Tip #3: Use Twitter-related software such as TweetDeck or Hootsuite. TweetDeck is awesome because you can create customized columns of your search tactics. Think of it as a master dashboard. If you own a bar, you can keep an eye on your competitors by including their handles on this dashboard. When they post, you’ll see it right away. You can also use TweetDeck to schedule tweets, which saves you precious time.
Tip #4: Use Twitter analytics to see what resonates the most with your followers. You can also view demographics you’re attracting and the best days to tweet!
Tip #5: For all you lazy people out there (yes, this means all of you): link your Twitter account to other social media accounts. This will post your twitterisms to your other pages automatically and save you 9 precious seconds, which you may or may not be spending in the bathroom anyway.
Marketing your business with instagram
Photosharing platform Instagram is the extremely attractive cousin of Twitter and the super cute progeny of Facebook. It’s disturbingly addicting, quick to use and fun for your eyes, plus you get to play with different filters and look at amazing photos of food and shoes and adorable puppies and Paris. We could go on...but this isn’t about why Instagram is fun--it’s about utilizing the platform for marketing your business.
Unlike facebook, instagram is ALL about hashtags. Your two options are to create your own hastog or leech on to popular ones, with varying degrees of relevance to your business. If you create your own, make it unique so it only applies to your business. Use it EVERYWHERE. Your followers will get the hint and follow suit. When you view your tagged section, you’ll see every person who has taken a photo of your product--sort of like a portfolio-- built by your loving customers. But the big opportunity here is asserting yourself into someone else's conversation. Choose existing hashtags that are both popular and attract the right audience for your business.
Here's an example, in which you are the proud seller of sports helmets.
- Post a spectacular picture of a cyclist that survived a horrible accident without a scratch.
- Add the caption: "So life could go on" and mention your website URL.
- Choose around 10 different popular hashtags with a huge following, probably something like #ilovecycling or #foreverbuttphotos (safe for work).
Now anyone who follows or visits those hashtags will get to see your awesome photo post.
That's too easy, we hear you say. Just do it and see for yourself. Instagram rules.
Also - have some fun: Get used to all the cool effects Instagram offers. There are multiple filters and ways to edit any picture to make it more visually pleasing. These tools keep your business relevant, young and hot, plus people tend to gravitate towards pretty things. Take advantage of the superficiality.
So is social media marketing really worth my time?
And we ask you, what is more powerful than the connection made between people?
Wow. Sorry. Got carried away with the corn (a Chipotle reference!). But, hey, sometimes corny works! In order to successfully market your business, you must create effective connections, which ultimately lead to lasting relationships between your customers and your business. Growing your online footprint might feel like a 'marketing effort', but once that audience is built, those platforms will simply become one of the many touch points between you and your customers. They are on social media, and so should you be.
But wait a second, isn't there a way to automate some of these relationship-building practices?
Funny you should ask. That's exactly what Flok does! Here, take these 30 free days with Flok and never worry about customer relationships again. You're welcome, again.