Social media marketing can sometimes be difficult – especially for small businesses without a lot of money. There is so much information out there on the subject that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Even experts sometimes have trouble digging through all of the content.
Hopefully, these following tips will help you get a better understanding of what you need to do develop and run a successful media campaign. Know what you need to do BEFORE spending any money so that you don’t end up wasting it.
Take the time to actually listen to your audience – Any effective marketing strategy always begins with the targeted audience. Visit your competitors’ social media profiles and read what people are posting on their pages. Follow people associated with your industry on Twitter. When a potential customer has a problem of some sort, come up with a solution and make sure that you communicate the fact that you have the solution in your marketing efforts. It doesn’t cost much money (if any at all) to do your own research and to mine Twitter – Entrepreneur lists 5 tools and methods for doing just that.
Stick with just a few social media channels – There is no need to have an account on every last social platform. Unless you’re running a big company, you should only focus your efforts on four or fewer platforms. Your strategy for each platform should be a bit different. Don’t blast the exact same content all over the internet. For instance, you might want to create an infographic to Tweet and a blog article pertaining to the same subject to share on Facebook.
Make sure your site is optimized for all screen sizes – These days, most people use social media apps to check for updates, Tweets, shares, links, news, etc… Your strategy isn’t going to be very successful if your audience clicks on your link only to find that your site won’t even load on their smartphones. Make the move to mobile if you haven’t yet done so. Automated cross browser testing tools simplify the process. Your site also must also load smoothly and quickly on all browsers without crashing.While mobile optimization and testing will cost some money, it’s far more affordable than it used to be, and it’s well-worth the investment.
Be strategic with hashtags – This means that you should not overdo it. Using the “right” hashtags is more important than using the “most” hashtags. Dummies.com puts it best: “the hashtag symbol carries a lot of meaning around it”. Don’t just spam every keyword you can think of that has even the slightest connection to your industry. Instead, focus on keywords that are relevant to the specific message you are Tweeting or posting.
Give people a reason to follow you – No matter which social media platforms you choose to focus on, don’t expect people to just follow you for no reason. You must be “follow” worthy, and your content must be “share” worthy. Don’t just start following a bunch of people and hoping that they will be nice and follow you back. You must EARN your followers, shares, ReTweets, etc. A few tactics you can use to make your profile more interesting is to run polls, host weekly contests, create and share meaningful content and interesting images, etc.
Consider using automation tools and apps – When you finally start to see some success with your social media marketing, it might be difficult to keep up with. This is when automation comes in handy. For example, HootSuite allows you to manage all your social media marketing in one place – creating operational efficiencies and time saving. Just be sure that you are using the quality tools and apps, including Selenium WebDriver tools, for everything from enhancing the mobile experiences to ongoing email engagement using software like Mailchimp or Aweber.
Only when you have a good strategy prepared should you entertain the idea of hiring a social media consultant or web firm.
Michael Peggs is the founder of Marccx Media, a digital marketing agency specializing in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Before Marcxx, Peggs worked at Google in business development, forming digital media and advertising partnerships in the United States and Asia. He is also a contributor to The Huffington Post, FastCompany and Business Insider as well as and podcaster, hosting the iTunes Top 10 New & Noteworthy Podcast You University.