Getting started with social media as part of your marketing strategy in 2022 may seem like trying to catch a boat that set sail long ago. Everyone in your industry probably already has thousands, if not tens or hundreds of thousands of followers because they created their social media accounts before you did.
However, you don’t need to worry about being late to the game. In fact, you can look on the bright side and soak up all the knowledge that’s not out there about the best way to market yourself on social media. No need for as much trial and error: all you have to do is follow the path others have already paved and deviate from it only in terms of actual branding, not social media marketing tactics.
Here’s what you need to do:
Ensure Your Profiles Look The Part
A lot of social media is about visual identity. You need to look the part if you want to attract your target audience. Here are some key considerations for getting started in social media:
- Brand identity: Use brand-specific images, colors, and keywords. You want social media users to recognize you instantly.
- Brand uniformity: Use the same branding across all your online outlets, including your website.
- Cross-promotion: Promote your other channels on each of your social media profiles. Some prefer Twitter over Facebook, so a link to your tweets from your Facebook profile is a very underestimated tool.
- Information: Provide as much data about your brand as possible. Fill out every segment of your profile and update it whenever there is something new to share.
Examples will speak much louder than general tips, so let’s look at some brands that are killing it with their social presence. Don’t be intimidated by their size: you can adopt the same tactics.
You may have noticed a lot of large brands have stopped being active on Facebook. Nike and Netflix, for example, have not posted anything in years. But this doesn’t mean Facebook is dead for brands. Innocent is a fantastic example of community building and staying on-brand. Their Facebook posts are so informatively quirky that you can’t help but follow them.
On Twitter, you can take a look at Burger King. They are active, helpful, and have a great mix of imagery and retweets. There are plenty of conversation starters, which the network is all about.
If you are a visual brand, Instagram will be your ideal home. It’s advised to mix user-generated content with tutorials, product-specific reels, and images. Dose of Colors does this magnificently, and their founder, Anna Petrosian, often demonstrates how to achieve specific looks with the brand’s products.
Finally, the most “serious” social network, LinkedIn, is reserved for the B2B crowd, where you need to be able to blend teachable moments with your brand’s agenda. Pumble does this masterfully, and they are great at engaging their audience with little polls and teaching them how to become better communicators and make the most of each workday.
Integrate Your Content Marketing Efforts Into Social Media
Social media is an excellent outlet for promoting your content. Whether you repurpose it or just share a link to your latest blog post, it’s a great way to boost its reach.
What you need to remember is that your own original content can’t be the only thing you are posting. You need to balance it out with non-promotional content. That can be user-generated content or simply a fun and helpful fact that does not come from your own creative kitchen. The 80/20 rule should still be a part of your strategy.
Let’s take a look at this principle in practice. FE International shared their post on affiliate website valuation on all three of their social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, ensuring their audience is aware of it. They’ve also chosen the right hashtags, and the facts they know will catch the eye of those scrolling through their feed.
Note that they don’t only utilize social media as a self-promotion network but also contribute tremendously to the discussion in their niche. It’s not all about converting someone. It’s also about offering value and building those long-term relationships that will create brand evangelists in a few years.
Pick The Right Platforms
A mistake many brands make on social media is trying to be active on all of them. Even well-established brands have blindly rushed to TikTok, although their audience wasn’t actually there when the platform started to take off.
Instead of spreading yourself too thin, choose a social media network that your audience actually uses. Even if it’s just one, it’s better to convert 1% of a large following than 2% of a tiny one.
Start by considering your audience demographics. Which social network are they using the most? Hootsuite has done some amazing research to help you understand each of them.
You then need to consider your own content: will it work best in image or video format? Do you prefer to share textual snippets? How do you want to communicate with your audience?
Here are some other helpful considerations for when your brand is getting started in social media:
- YouTube is the second most popular search engine on the planet, and video is the most popular video format.
- Twitter is great for having an honest chat with your audience. It’s fast, it’s immediate, and it’s digestible.
- Facebook has the best advertising feature and allows for amazing targeting.
- Instagram is versatile and offers you both video and image promotion options. You will need to do Reels or Stories, though.
- LinkedIn is great if you want to attract a professional, decision-making audience and if you work in B2B.
Interact with your Audience
Interaction is vital on social media, whichever platform you have chosen. If you just talk at your audience, they will not be nearly as engaged as they should be.
Whenever someone comments or shares your post, start a conversation. Every interaction is a chance to build a valuable relationship. Even if you just thank them for their comment, it’s essential to let your followers know they are seen and heard.
Injecting a personal touch is also important. Some large brands ask their social media managers to sign their names after each post, so their followers know they are talking to a human, not a robot.
As for how you can converse, take a look at MarketBeat and how they handle their YouTube channel. They reply to every comment on their videos, and they also take the opportunity to recommend other pieces of their content. It may seem too simple, but it’s also very effective.
Getting started in social media also offers you the chance to provide stellar customer support. Since your conversations on any network are public, you can make quite an impact by being kind and helpful. Your followers will remember it.
If you expect to get a lot of customer queries, you can set up a separate account just for support, ideally on Twitter, as it’s the most effective. Lots of large brands do it, Spotify included. Their audience knows they can expect to get an answer quickly, and the brand takes advantage of their large following to demonstrate how much they appreciate them even further.
Consistently Post Great Content
Consistency matters on social media. Posting often enough is important, but what you post is arguably the key.
What great content will be for your brand will depend on your audience’s interests and the message you are trying to communicate. As we have already established, you can’t just promote your own ends: you need to be of service to your community.
You can take numerous routes when you’re getting started in social media:
- Be funny
- Be informative
- Offer valuable commentary
- Teach your audience how to get something done.
You can combine all of the above, as long as you stay on-brand. Don’t get involved with topics that arguably have nothing to do with you. Stick to your lane.
Make Use Of Social Proof
Social media is also a great way to showcase social proof, aka your happy customers, and what they feel and think about a specific product.
Social proof is anything from reviews and testimonials to images of people using your product. And while you often hear just how important it is to share social proof from social media on your website, the exact opposite can be quite effective as well.
There are various options when it comes to presenting social proof. Kuru Footwear does an excellent job on their Facebook, where they have a reviews section. Here they can also offer some customer support, enabling followers to shop and get acquainted with their range without visiting the website.
They also go the extra mile and share some of their customer reviews on both Twitter and Instagram. User-generated content matters, and it’s often the best way to showcase the value of your product or service. Don’t shy away from amplifying it on social media.
Showcase Your Team’s Professional Profiles
Your brand is made up of all the individual people working to make it better. It’s important to show your followers who you are as separate entities, not just as one large brand.
Putting a face to a brand always pays off, as people can relate much more. You can let members of your team take over the socials of the brand for a day or a week, and you should promote them as often as is feasible and makes sense.
For example, you can show your staff testing out a new product and have them weigh in on the best ways to use it.
You should also promote their personal social media profiles as much as it makes sense. This often works best in a B2B setting, where each individual’s professional experience speaks highly of the company.
Digitarial, for example, links out to each of their team’s personal LinkedIn profiles from the brand’s About page. This is a great tactic, as it allows each to promote the brand, get some personal exposure, and showcase everyone’s strengths.
Pay Attention To Analytics
To find out how your followers are taking in your messages, you’ll need to utilize the built-in analytics features of each social network. You can, of course, also use a third-party tool, but all you really need is what’s already on the platform.
Here are some of the key metrics you need to monitor, whichever network you choose:
- Impressions: These metrics will tell you how far your reach is. It’s important to see steady growth here.
- Followers: You ideally want steady growth, except when you are doing something specific to boost your follower count: running an ad, doing a giveaway, having been featured in a news outlet, etc.
- Engagement: Likes, comments, shares, and other signs of engagement mean people like what they see and want to see more. Make sure you engage right back. Also, don’t get caught up in the number of likes you get. Use this data to gauge what types of posts work at what time of day and improve your campaigns from there.
- Conversion rate: You also want to keep track of the number of people who have performed the action you are looking for. For example, that action can be visiting your website or making a purchase.
All of the metrics you track should serve two purposes: to understand your audience better and to gauge the success of your campaigns. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Only compare what you have done in the past to what is happening now. You can never draw the correct conclusions from looking at a fraction of someone else’s metrics.
Getting started in social media isn’t as tricky as it looks. You will need to be consistent and monitor how your efforts are paying off. Last but certainly not least, make sure you strive to forge relationships instead of merely reaching as many random people as you can.
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