Social Media for Your Business
Social media can be a powerful tool for businesses and non-profit organizations. However it’s much more than creating a page and sharing a few posts. To leverage social media to a greater potential for your organization, start with these easy-to-implement tips to grow your social media presence and engagement.
Review your social profiles regularly.
Whether your profiles are relatively new or have already developed a strong follower base over years, it’s important to regularly review your social media profiles for accurate and consistent information. If you are fortunate enough to snag a user’s attention and inspire them to take action, a worst case scenario is them calling an outdated number or visiting a broken webpage link. This is also a good time to ensure you are utilizing business pages or profiles, which offer a more professional appearance and often additional analytics insights.
Consider the platforms your audience engages with regularly.
New social platforms continue to emerge, contributing to an increasingly crowded competition for your customers’ attention. If your organization has limited resources to put behind social media right now, start with focusing on a few networks that you can actively manage well. However, don’t write off new networks all together. What’s considered emerging today may be the go-to platform for your audience surprisingly soon. Before adding another page to your docket, do research and gauge if it’s where your target audiences are spending their time. If so, perhaps it’s time to claim that page and @ handle.
Engage with existing followers.
If your social media profiles are relatively established, perhaps you’ve likely fostered an engaged follower base already. Be careful to not take them for granted while trying to attract new followers though. If users are commenting on your posts or tagging your organization in their content, be sure to like it or comment back. With their permission, consider even recognizing them by sharing their photo, video or review on your profiles. Just like the adage of it being easiest to maintain an existing customer, the same applies with loyal followers.
Ask for the follow.
Even with more tenured profiles, I always come across organizations whose employees, board members or customers aren’t following the business or non-profits on social media. Start with low-hanging fruit, and remind them of your profiles in your next meeting or newsletter. From there, make sure to add your social media username/handle to your print and digital collateral materials including email signatures. Make it as easy as possible for folks connect with you.
Develop a content plan and media library.
While many great social posts are serendipitous opportunities, it is important to have a plan and methodology behind the content you share with the world. Develop a baseline posting cadence that is manageable for you, whether it’s one-two times a week or almost daily, in order to prevent binge posting only when you find the time. Let that great unplanned pet photo be icing on the cake of an established content plan. Whether it’s digitally or on paper, map out the next week or the next month of what you can post, taking advantage of special days such as the first day of spring or your newest employee’s first day. Also develop a library of images or videos you can fall back to if you find yourself needing additional content down the road.
Follow an 80/20 content mix rule.
Let’s face it – people typically don’t enjoy being sold to. How often do you find yourself unsubscribing to an email list or unfollowing a page that only pushes products or services on you? Key to maintaining the follower base you develop is providing them with content they want to engage with. Many organizations follow an 80/20 rule of 80% of their content being educational and/or entertaining with only 20% being an “ask.” Some organizations take that even further to, say a 90-10 policy. Focus on developing rapport with your followers so that when you do ask for a purchase, a donation or another call to action, they are listening.
Research and use appropriate hashtags.
Hashtags have become commonplace from sporting events to news broadcasts and offer a way to explore a categorized group of content. Users can search and follow hashtags to discover content from other users they might not follow or have otherwise encountered. Use relevant hashtags to increase your exposure to new potential followers, and if you’re ambitious, create a hashtag with your organization name or your tagline – just do initial research to ensure it’s not already being utilized by another organization or group. Once you begin posting with the unique hashtag and encouraging others to do so, be sure to actively monitor it to gauge the content users associate with your hashtags.
Utilize free resources.
Whether you’re new to social media or have experience already, actively implementing these steps can seem daunting. Luckily there are many great resources to make planning and posting content easy. If you’re short on original imagery, there are several high-quality stock photo sites with libraries of royalty-free images. One of my favorites is Pexels.com. When organizing your content plan, Google Drive and its associated tools offer free documents and spreadsheets you can use for planning and actively collaborating with team members in real-time. Lastly, take advantage of social media management tools like Buffer.com which offer the ability to post to multiple social media platforms simultaneously from one place and to schedule your posts in advance.
*The steps mentioned in this article are certainly not an exhaustive list of opportunities. Use your best judgment or consult with a marketing professional for your specific situation.