Social Media is Serious Business

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If your business isn’t using social media, what are you waiting for?

These days social media is simply everywhere. And we’re not just talking about online. Anyone who has recently watched television, been to a store, listened to the radio, read a newspaper, or leafed through a magazine will undoubtedly have seen or heard messages urging them to “Find us on Facebook” or “Follow us on Twitter,” to name just a few.

Making use of social media networks should be an important part of your marketing plan because that’s where your customers are. According to an article in Forbes, more than 1.8 billion people around the world use Facebook, and of those, more than 936 million of them log onto Facebook. Every. Single. Day. If you don’t have a brand presence there to connect with your customers, offer them your products, and answer their questions, you better believe your competitors will.

Forging Connections

“I already have a website, phone number, and email address. Why do I need to be active on social media too?”

It’s simple. You want your business in front of as many eyeballs as possible. You want to connect in a meaningful way with your customers to deliver a truly memorable experience that will keep them coming back. And you want some control and input over your brand’s reputation online.

Social media allows you to do all this and more for your business. One of the most unique things about social media is the way it lets you connect and interact with your fans. A potential customer with a question about your product is only a few clicks away from receiving a personalized reply through direct messaging – that’s sending your business a message that only you and the sender can see. Or they might post the question to your public page, allowing everyone to see their question, and your answer. Not only does this show you’re dedicated to responding with accurate information in a timely manner, but also shows other visitors that you’re professional, helpful, and dedicated to your customers.

Follow the Crowd

Social media is a great way for you to stay top-of-mind with your potential customers, and illustrate to them why your product or service is superior. A report by Deloitte Digital found that up to 56 percent of consumers are influenced by social media for their purchase decisions. That’s simply too big of a number to ignore.

Best Uses

Social media began as a way to stay in touch with friends. It’s gone on to become a news source, a brand touchpoint, a resource for professional networking, and much, much more. In keeping with its often informal and conversational nature, social media should be used by companies for quick messages, videos or a visually stunning photo – not a wall of text or video from a four-hour shareholder meeting. In fact, some sites only allow a certain number of characters in your messages, making long-form discussions or deep analysis of complex topics awkward and difficult to follow. Social media just isn’t the place for your earnings report.

Most users simply want to be informed, entertained, or affirmed. When you meet one of these wants on social media, it can create a positive experience with your brand, drive traffic to your website, or even result in a sale. According to an article on HubSpot, 92 percent of marketers in 2014 said that social media marketing was important for their business, with 80 percent reporting their efforts increased traffic to their websites.

Developing a Strategy

We often recommend that businesses create a content strategy for their social media efforts. A plan that addresses who your audience is, how you’ll reach them, the creation of content, and the opportunities you expect to encounter throughout the year. Of course, it won’t cover every single thing you’ll need to run your social media, but it will give you a good roadmap to guide it. As an example, your content strategy will look at a holiday, such as Halloween, and list everything you need to make your business’s social media pages ready for it. If your business is offering a 25 percent off coupon, good for Halloween day only, you’ll probably want to start telling your fans about it a few weeks in advance. You may want to create eye-catching images for your social posts announcing the deal, or even a short video explaining the details.This pre-planning all belongs in your content strategy document.

When to Post

There’s no magic number of posts that will result in more sales, interaction, or likes from your fans. In general, we recommend posting once a day with interesting or useful content. Certain businesses may require more or less than that. The reason we don’t recommend constantly updating your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages is simple: when you constantly barraging your fans with content from your page, you can easily train them to begin ignoring you. Not everything you post will be relevant to every person in your audience. If several of your posts in a row don’t interest an audience member, he may start to tune you out, or worse, stop following your page altogether.

At Grid, we’ve developed and managed many social media campaigns for our clients. We’d be happy to take a look at your business and consult with you on the best way to implement a social media strategy today.