Apps used by consumers for leisure can maximise your company’s marketing potential and enable you to reach more people; blurring the lines between work and play.
How many tweets a day appear on your personal timeline complaining about poor service and unsatisfactory products? How about compliments and shares of the latest sale or special of the week? Social media’s changing the way consumers interact with and about businesses, and if you’re not on top of your social presence, you might find it tough to make more money this year.
Your company’s message is almost guaranteed to reach its intended audience through social media sites, but you have to be strategic about it: “Having social media pages for your business is the best way to get to various markets because most people are on these platforms almost every single day,” says Koketso Molamo, an entrepreneur and business lecturer. “It expands your reach and keeps you and your market in line with trends, and keeps your business relevant.”
Related: 10 Questions to ask when creating a social-media marketing plan
The ideal length for a Facebook update has been cited as fewer than 40 characters, even though you can add as many as 63 000. Saying what you mean in as few words as possible has never been more important, which means tactically evaluating each and every one of your status updates, Tweets or LinkedIn Pulse posts to ensure it resonates with your target audience.
Link your profiles to your website
Think of social media as the hook that attracts the consumers you need. As soon as their interest is aroused through your Tweet or Facebook post, they’ll want to know where they can get more of this.
“It’s advisable to put the link to your website on your profile page[s], where it’s visible first and foremost,” says Molamo. “What’s also good for Instagram, where you can’t attach links to actual posts, is the ‘link in bio’ line.” Both Facebook and Instagram have added a tool for consumers to directly contact a business without flooding you with messages in your inbox. So you can respond to customers more accurately.
“With a business [social media] profile, it’s also a smoother process for customers to get in touch – everything is in one place so they don’t have to go elsewhere to look up your details,” says Jack Rogers, head of marketing at online stylist brand Grabble.
The company has gained a treasure of insights into who they are advertising for. “We’d always thought the majority of our audience was female, so we’ve tended to post female-focused content, but the Instagram Business Tool has shown us 21% of our followers are in fact male. So, we’re going to trial some new content,” he says. The best way to add techniques to your repertoire is to look at what brands with high levels of engagement are doing.
Be consistent when posting
Your social media plan needs to be strategic and flexible, but consistency is also key when it comes to the world of online followers. “Make a plan for what you're going to post and how often you're going to post, and stick with it, says entrepreneur Timothy Sykes. “This should ideally be a few times a day or a week, depending on your goals and your following.”
Related: 8 Ways to be more effective on social media
Molamo agrees: “Some people expect content at a certain time of day or day of the week and that’s what keeps them coming back. Inconsistency may lead to disinterest and therefore a decline in the following and popularity of your posts, and exposure of your business. This hinders your ability to achieve the goals you’ve set out to reach.”
What’s popular isn’t always what’s good
Post relevant content, even if it isn’t something that would get you a whole lot of likes and shares. If users aren’t keen on it, someone else will be. It could be that investor you’ve been chasing or someone you didn’t know was keeping track of your business. It’s all about strengthening the foundation of your company and building credibility in your industry.
Corporate Social Investment (CSI) projects and the latest news are popular, with the right people, but: “You may be tempted to deliver a post that simply gets a lot of attention, but that will do nothing for your brand if you don’t make sure that the content aligns with your message,” adds Sykes. “Everything needs to fit within your brand identity and promote what it is that you're trying to say to the world.”
Navigating social media is tricky, so always remember to have a crisis plan in case things don’t go as planned. “When a customer has a complaint, question or praise about your business, they will voice it on their social network of choice. It’s your job to make sure you’re identifying the networks your customers spend their time on and seek to actively engage and create conversations with them,” says the CEO of Sociallybuzz Andre Kay.
Related: Social marketing overview: What you need to know
“Knowing exactly what to do when a customer uses derogatory words to bash your business on social media, as well as how to control a social media blunder caused by your own actions, will keep you sane,” he adds.
If you’d like to connect with your customers on a deeper level this year, give your social presence a little more attention and watch interest in your business soar.
Include social network icons on your website. This makes it easier for consumers to share your content at a click of a button. This link can also lead users to your other landing pages where they can keep up to speed with new content, developments and opportunities in your organisation.