Other social media sites may be useful for specific businesses, but these four offer the most volume and diversity in audience. Additionally, audiences using these platforms are used to the growing business and marketing aspects, and may even seek out resources on these sites when they require a product or service, or are sourcing information on your company.
So, which of the four should you be building your presence on?
There’s no right or wrong answer, but there are several factors to consider. First, if you want to maintain active pages on all four sites, that’s fine. However, Erin’s hard and fast rule for spreading yourself thin is to make a firm commitment to the platforms you decide on. Own your presence, and make sure you’re dedicated to consistent and compelling content.
If you can’t commit to all four, or you prefer to narrow it down, consider the various benefits and challenges of each site. Erin suggests looking at two factors when making your decision.
First, choose platforms that cater to your target clients. Different demographics are drawn to different places. Platforms like Instagram are quite female heavy, while Twitter has a strong male usership. Facebook and Instagram develop “organic and authentic connections,” Erin says, but Instagram does not allow links in captions, a characteristic which requires some creative strategies to overcome. Many people use LinkedIn as a business information resource, which makes it a great place to cross-post blogs and articles.
The second consideration is where you are most comfortable. If you know how to navigate a certain platform, that’s an ideal starting point. Knowing the tools and resources available on a social site is valuable, as well as being familiar with the type and style of content, so you can remain competitive with your own content production.
This is not to say you shouldn’t try out a new social media site if you feel it will be a good fit. An advantage to the informal nature of social media is that it allows for some experimentation. Using tools to measure analytics, you can see the real-time impact each post makes, and determine what is and isn’t working on your page. You can also experiment with new tools and trends to find the best fit.
Staying on top of trends is important; the social media world changes rapidly. Erin points out how prevalent Snapchat has been over the last few years, compared to the more recent decline in Snapchat usage for business. “Insta-stories” is another recent innovation that can be useful in certain applications. If you’ve established your social media base and want to start exploring advertisements, Erin suggests beginning with several short and targeted campaigns to see what works best, and developing an ongoing plan from there.
In terms of content, what you post and who you interact with should be based on your type of business and your clients. One of the main benefits of social media marketing is the value it adds to your products and services. Unlike many other marketing approaches, your social media audience has a choice about whether to engage with your content. It’s your goal, therefore, to produce content your audience wants to interact with. Erin suggests using the 80/20 rule for your content: 80% of your content should provide the audience with information or entertainment they will love, and the remaining 20% can be dedicated to promoting your business.
Several other factors will determine your social media success. Among the most important are these top three tips from Erin, which she uses to extend her clients’ social media reach:
1. Be consistent to build trust.
Consistency is one of the most important elements of social media management. Be consistent in how often you post, as well as in your content. Use the same hashtags and photo filters to cater to your audience’s expectations. Commit yourself to a certain number of posts per week and stick to that number (bonus points for posting on the same days each week!). If you’re having trouble staying on track, using an editorial calendar will help remind you to be consistent.
2. Choose your “Big Three” core messaging to tell your story.
Divide your marketing into three essential core messages. These can rotate over time, but you should stick to each core message for enough time to let the message sink in. Using these core messages will help you plan your social media posts, and prevent you from getting lost in your own content. ‘About Business’ posts should link back to one of your core messages in some way.
A few examples of core messages include:
- The points of difference for your business (i.e. no pushy salespeople, prototypes to try on in store)
- A certain aspect of your business (i.e. locally-based, organic, family-owned)
- A unique service, product, or offer (i.e. free shipping, a novel product, a customized product or service)
- A client satisfaction promise (i.e. quality guarantees, extended warranty plan)
3. Recognize the power of supporting others.
Businesses sometimes forget the “social” aspect of social media. While you want to get out there and be seen, you also need to remember that interactions are only valuable if they go both ways. Don’t aim to simply spew information; aim to start a conversation.
One of the easiest ways to build your social network is to like, comment on, and share others’ posts. Use shout outs and tags to build positivity. Connect with businesses and people in your target market, and outside that market. The “we grow together” mentality is the ignition point for your social media presence.
Staying on top of social media trends and managing your content can be difficult and time-consuming. The Media Shop’s clients are often business owners who recognize the importance of social media, but lack the time or practical experience to expand their social media networks. As a result, The Media Shop has developed an all-inclusive approach to social media strategies.
The cooperative, creative, and interconnected nature of the marketing industry lends itself well to the collaborative structure of The Media Shop. Their team offers multiple resources for each client, dependent on their specific needs. Working with the best of the best in the industry, The Media Shop team includes an engagement coordinator, four graphic designers, three web designers, two writers, two videographers, and a photographer, in addition to its founder. Erin regards the collaborative process as a major reason for their business success; it allows them to advocate for their clients on an all-inclusive level, and reinforces the creative process behind marketing.
If you’d like to know more about The Media Shop’s services and marketing strategies, contact them to set up a free consultation to explore your options. You can contact Erin Cassidy by phone at 780-231-9912, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Northern Alberta Business Incubator Society (NABI)
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