Having a strong social media presence is crucial for essentially every brand -- no secret there; you are already well aware of this essential need. However, the wrong social media approach can disengage followers, resulting in missed opportunities and an overall negative impact on your revenue potential.
Mastering social media, overall, isn’t rocket science: A combination of common sense and fundamentals goes a long way. Here are seven tips to help your brand win at social media.
1. Deliver value -- not just advertisements.
Your social media audience members initially connect with your brand because they are interested in what you are offering. They might want to stay up to date on happenings or be aware of future sales and promotions. So, be interesting on social media -- mix in some company culture posts, alongside promotional offers.
The last thing you want to do is push away followers because you post only predictable advertisements. Instead, be memorable and deliver value to ensure you keep your followers engaged and interested.
2. Leverage the reach of social media influencers.
Using social media influencers is hands-down the most effective strategy on social media. Now, there are always exceptions, but for the most part, almost every brand can use influencers to their advantage.
You will want to identify the social networks that your target audience lives on, then identify potential influencers who would be a great match for your brand. It’s extremely easy to get started -- simply reach out to the influencer and make a deal.
This is big business now, and I can say, from firsthand experience, that the influencers willing to play ball will have contact information visible in their bios.
Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing
3. Think beyond organic reach.
If you really want to win at social media, you have to be willing to pay to play. Facebook organic reach is nothing like it was in the beginning, and now Instagram is playing around with a new algorithm, as well.
Combining the massive audience that platforms like Facebook and Instagram can put you in front of, along with their advertising targeting options, provides you with a huge opportunity to generate instant traffic, leads and sales. It’s also highly scalable once you develop a winning campaign.
4. Post consistently without overwhelming your audience.
Plenty of automation tools are available to help you manage your social media marketing, but don’t let extreme automation be your downfall. I actually experienced this the other day: I followed a brand on social media, and that move resulted in my newsfeed being flooded with promotional posts.
Those posts hit on the hour, every hour. It was obvious that whoever was handling the brand's social media was overdoing it. I quickly unfollowed that brand.
So, the message there is: You want to be consistent, keeping your brand fresh in the minds of your followers, without being annoying and overwhelming.
5. Address issues and/or complaints immediately.
Social media has become a customer-service portal -- it’s rather easy for consumers to get the attention of a company on social media. Sending a tweet or Facebook post takes customers seconds, rather than having to track down a phone number, wait on hold or speak to what's likely to be an outsourced call center.
So, you need to learn to respond, and quickly. If a consumer posts something on your social media feed, ask him or her to contact you ASAP to resolve the issue quickly and painlessly. Don’t delete or ignore it -- that can set off a complete storm of you-know-what.
Want proof? Visit the social feeds of any major national brand, and you'll see complaints and pissed-off consumers -- read through some of them to see how those brands handle adversity.
6. Understand your analytics.
It amazes me that so many brands don’t dive into their social analytics, yet say, “Social media just doesn’t work for us.” Resources like Facebook Page Insights and Twitter analytics provide you with all the information you need to see what is working and what isn’t.
Check these daily and stay on top of your campaigns. You can’t just throw up random posts and expect results. What type of content receives the most engagement? What types of content drives the most clicks back to your website? Learn how your audience members react on social media and optimize your efforts to cater to their habits.
7. Don’t be a ‘Jack of all trades, master of none.’
Imagine if you tried to maintain an effective presence on every social media platform available. That would limit the amount of time you could dedicate to each, severely watering down your effort on each.
Instead, pick a few social networks to focus on those that you know, without a doubt, your target audience lives on. For example, a diamond engagement ring dealer would want to be active on Instagram and Pinterest -- two highly visual social networks. LinkedIn, on the other hand, would be a complete waste of time.