If your business has jumped on the social media bandwagon, you're certainly in good company. With the almost unprecedented growth of social media use, most businesses now have some form of social media interaction—whether it's LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Google+. Since social media marketing has proven to be so highly effective in building a brand or company's reputation, learning to navigate the social media landscape can both increase your current customer base and help establish you as an expert in your field.
If marketing via social media is new for you, however, it should be a move undertaken with careful planning. Many businesses have made the mistake of starting off their social media marketing campaign incorrectly, resulting in wasted time and effort. Foresight and planning on the front end can save a business the embarrassment of loss of reputation due to ill-planned social media updates, especially when a company's social media launch can often be the most important time for attracting new business.
Since such a large percentage of people use social media, they automatically assume that a professional marketing campaign via social media shouldn't be much different than their personal use of the sites. This approach is dangerous and research is crucial; what you don't know about the newest trends in social media might hurt you, especially if you aren't taking advantage of them.
Below are some best practices to consider when it comes to managing your company's social media:
Don't limit your content to the interests of a younger market
5 years ago, social media sites were most frequented by a younger market, but those times have changed. In fact, according to recent polls, the fastest growing demographic on Twitter is the 55-64 age bracket. For Facebook and Google+, the fastest growing demographic is the 45-54 age range. What this means for your business, particularly if your potential customers fall within these age ranges, is that the use of social media to build your business's reputation is more promising than it has ever been, to date.
Make sure that your content is easily viewed on a mobile device
Many social media users access the various social media sites via a mobile device, meaning that your content will likely be viewed on a smartphone or tablet rather than a laptop or PC. With that in mind, how does the content you post display on these screens? Does it even display at all? If it does, is it easily readable and scrollable? Are the photos you use easily viewable on smaller screens? If not, you might want to reconsider revising your posts for a primarily mobile audience.
Incorporate YouTube videos into your marketing plan
If you're not using YouTube in your social media marketing goals, you're missing out on a valuable opportunity. Recent studies suggest that most young adults (18-34 age range) in the U.S. view YouTube more than cable. This means that if you are spending a significant portion of your advertising and marketing budget by purchasing spots on cable networks, particularly if your target demographic falls within the 18-34 age range, you might be wasting valuable money on targeted marketing that you could be doing for free.
YouTube videos can be used for a variety of reasons, depending on the type of business you are promoting. You can address your potential customers concerning the services or products you provide; or show your business in action by filming important events, grand openings, community drives, etc.
Using LinkedIn can provide information concerning potential job opportunities for you or your company
As one of the most highly respected players in the social media world, LinkedIn is growing quickly. In fact, recent statistics show that a new member joins LinkedIn every two seconds, making it the largest social network available online for professionals. The groups and job postings can be particularly useful if you are looking for work within your field, or just want to stay up-to-date on current events happening within your specific industry. The forum also gives you an opportunity to share press releases and information relevant to your company or line of business, assisting with that vital factor of expertise that makes creating and sharing content most useful.
Social media is the new standard for marketing and is here to stay (for a while)
In a recent poll, it was found that an overwhelming 93% of marketers use social media as part of their marketing strategy to build a company's reputation and client base. If marketing is about going where the audience is, it's no wonder that marketers are now focusing on social media. Very simply, that's where the people are. Social media use now tops all other reasons why people use the Internet, and the frequency of social media use has increased significantly through Apps available on smartphones and other digital mobile devices.
With its ease of use and low (or nonexistent) cost, social media for business marketing is a great use of the enormously popular websites that are pulling in so much traffic. As with any marketing campaign or strategy, planning, foresight and research should be your first priority. Follow those priorities with these best practices and you'll see your social media marketing campaign succeed.