Getting started with social media marketing

If your business is new and unknown, it’s unlikely that your followers will be coming to you. Instead, you will need to invest time and effort into making your pages and profiles interesting and start interacting with others. Remember that social media is the route to your business, not the end destination and the objective is to generate more work for yourself and your business.

What to post?

1. Photos

You could post your own photos or use stock photos. For some great free stock photos, have a look at our post 15 great websites for free stock photos. You can improve your photos, not only by using special visual filters but also adding a bit of text. There are many free web platforms that will allow you to edit your pictures – I use www.canva.com and it’s extremely easy to use.

2. Infographics

You don’t need lots of data to create an infographic. Pick a niche enough topic and instead of writing about it, see if you can make it visual. Again, I will point at www.canva.com as I used that one in the past, but there are many other helpful and easy to use web based platforms you could consider.

3. Visual quotes

You can either quote others or come up with your own – you could even pick a sentence or two from your blog or website. Or, a client testimonial is a great way to share what other think about your brand.

4. Quizzes

Quizzes are fun and engaging, and there is always something new to learn. You can make these relevant to what you do or completely random. Go creative on the categories and visuals; just make sure they are short enough to keep your follower`s interest.

5. Competitions

Games and competitions are designed to not only create, but keep the players interest for longer. Think about a competition that your followers might enjoy – it could be a one off “tag someone” or a continuous challenge with a compelling reward for the winner.

6. Short knowledge shares

The reason why you are successful at what you do is because you have the knowledge that not everyone has. Share it! Of course not too much of it, but consider doing a short “did you know..” or “how-to-guide” posts. They have the potential to get your followers curious and increase their interaction levels as they will want to know more. These can be as simple as status updates or simple visuals.

7. Polls

If you can think of an interesting topic that would get your followers engaged, try running a quick survey to capture their views. For a free easy survey tool, try https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/ . Once you have their responses, you’ll need to present the new findings so you can demonstrate that you listened – you might even want to consider an infographic for that.

Where to post?

1. Google+

Given that it is Google’s very own product, it naturally pushes your content up the search engine ladder. The more your content is shared, the easier it is to be found via the search engine. It works for both B2B and B2C and there are many ways you can interact with other users. As a user, you can set up as many pages as you like and you can co-manage them with other users. For more reasons why use Google+, read our post Why use Google+ for your small business marketing?.

2. LinkedIn

If you are targeting senior decision makers, this is definitely the type of social media that you should be using daily.  The place to be for all professionals is a great place for your business and yourself to be seen at as it is your virtual marketplace where you can connect with your peers and potential clients, join relevant groups and is a great way to keep in touch with your target audience. Even if you don’t have your own content to share, you can build up your influence by re-sharing useful insights– your connections will associate the quality of the content you share with you and your business.

3. Twitter

Twitter is a universal platform that works well for all businesses, irrespective of size or industry. The thing to remember is its high velocity, which means that things get lost quickly. You can form some great networks as there is no need to approve connections and users follow each other based on the interest in the other person’s tweets. For more tips on how to make the most out of Twitter, see our post The complete guide to Twitter marketing.

4. Facebook

One for B2C, but always helpful if you can get your friends help to promote your brand even if it’s in the B2B space. For your campaigns, you can get your audience to like, re-share or tag a friend – that way you are extending your brand’s presence onto their connections. Visuals work well with Facebook, even better if supported by catchy wording to go with it. To learn more, read our post Facebook marketing guide for small businesses.

5. Pinterest

Given its visual nature, it is more effective with B2C, but you can’t go wrong with using it for visual demonstration of data such as infographics, for your B2B audience. You will need to download a plugin and then start pinning things to your boards. For a step-by-step guide see How to use Pinterest for business.

6. Instagram

With over 600 million users globally, Instagram is the fastest growing social media network and one with the highest interaction rate per follower. Over 300 million people use it daily,  making the platform an ideal place for brands to interact with their potential and existing customers. Instagram’s visual nature and mobile functionality is great for digital storytelling, allowing you to share in-the-moment experiences and tell your brand’s story. For more tips read Instagram marketing tips for small businesses.

7. YouTube

For any business who uses video to market themselves, there is no better place to be than YouTube – no matter if you are targeting consumers or businesses. Videos are a very powerful tool to get your brand noticed and this platform provides an easy way to create your profile and upload videos. As always, tagging them with the most relevant terms is key. It’s quite a lot going on in there, so you will need to make sure your profile stands out.

How to be seen?

It all depends on what you are sharing, however sometimes great posts get lost due to the high volume of social media updates. Using some basic tactics can help to improve the visibility of your posts and ensure they reach the right people:

1. Visuals

Visual posts look better and attract attention more than text only posts. You still need a description to go with your visuals but including them will definitely increase the visibility of your post.

2. Hashtags

Readers will find your content via hashtags so use them on each relevant word in if you are posting on Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+. Using hashtags in your Google+ updates will not only make your posts visible on the platform itself but will also help your posts to show up in Google searches.

3. Regular posts

As posts get lost in the mix, it’s important to keep your social media activities regular. Focus on quality of your posts, but if possible try to post at least once a day to remind your existing followers and attract new ones.

4. Timings

You will find that some times and days work better than others. Keep track of different times and focus on those timings that are most effective. There are some best practice studies out there that can recommend ideal times for posting on social media so starting with those is a good idea.

5. Community

Ask your friends and colleagues to share your updates – the more your posts get shared the more often and higher they will appear. If you are using LinkedIn, by posting content in relevant groups you will be able to reach a large amount of people who are interested in the topic you are posting about and it will help you to build your online profile. The more you interact with others on social media,  the more visible your posts and your own profile will become. Follow others, share and like their content and they will be more likely to do the same.

How to measure impact?

Once things are all set up a running, it’s important to monitor what is and what isn’t working:

1. Web traffic

Measure yourself not only on the follower numbers of the specific platforms but also on the number of hits coming through referrals from social media. Set yourself a month on month growth target – and monitor how you are tracking against your goals. In addition to the number of visitors, set additional criteria around the time spent on the page, forms submitted, etc. – anything that matters to your overall business goal is worth your attention.

2. Brand exposure

The more people know about you, the more likely it is that they will remember you when they are looking for products and services you provide. Capture your month on month growth rates on specific platforms – and focus on the gradual growth of your audience.

3. Audience engagement

It is not just about how many people follow you, but also about the number of social interactions they have with your business and how much they share. Set yourself some success criteria around the different types of social interactions such as mentions, shares, as well as number of views on your platforms and measure how you are tracking against those goals.

4. Lead generation

This is tricky to monitor, however you can keep an eye on referrals through social media that link to relevant pages on your website or by including the “how did you hear about us” field in your forms. Generating leads that have a potential to be turned into new business opportunities is your top goal. So having measures around it will keep your efforts focused on what matters the most – clients.

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