Social Media Marketing Best Practices
Using social media to market your brand requires understanding how the online, mobile, and digital tools and networks facilitate interactions between people. Social media tools encourage content sharing, collaboration, and participation. These activities help you engage with others in conversation and information exchange.
Social media marketing starts with listening to, then stimulating, conversations with your customers and prospects as well as the general online public, the media, and other audiences. The best approach to social media marketing is to acknowledge that most people use these tools for personal connections and self-expression. Many people use social media for social interactions and not always for business communications.
As a business owner, start by using social media to find out what others are doing, thinking, and saying based on what they publish online and share publicly. Perform organic market research by paying attention to what people post and comment on using social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
While most companies use social media to sell products and services, most experts agree that social media is not a direct selling tool. Social media can be effective to:
- Generate awareness of your company, organization, product, or service.
- Build your brand and enhance your profile and credibility.
- Provide insights into consumer behavior and preferences.
- Engage customers and prospects to build loyalty for your brand.
- Identify customer issues and provide customer service.
- Drive traffic to a website or online store.
- Enhance traditional websites with interactive features.
- Turn loyal customers into brand evangelists.
Here are a few important ways to use social media tools:
Listen. Anyone who is a great conversationalist will tell you that the secret to a good conversation is listening. With social media, listening means reading or watching what others are saying online to understand what they’re thinking and to identify how you can enter online conversations thoughtfully.
Respond. In social networks, people often post because they want to be heard, and they expect a timely response. Monitor social media feeds to be aware when people are reaching out to you and respond appropriately. If your participation in an online conversation is honest and transparent, you can gain a positive reputation online.
Engage. Engagement consists of getting the attention of others first but then involves prompting reactions (like, favorite), interactions (comments), and actions (sign up, share, buy). Look beyond broadcasting your messages, and instead, find ways to start conversations and get others to participate.
Connect. Social media tools let others follow you, fan you, friend you, and otherwise connect with you, but then what should happen? The connections you gain in social media aren’t just numbers to accumulate. Look for ways to provide value to your following so they want to connect with you and stay connected.
Keep in mind that it is better to have 100 friends, fans, or followers who care and respond than 1000 or 10,000 who ignore you. Effective social media is more about what your followers do - the actions they take. The meaningful actions of a devoted few can have a much larger impact on your business than the inaction of many.
Social media marketing is not a campaign it’s a commitment.