Utilizing social media marketing in your business plan is simply a must in today’s business world.
Whether you use social media to expand your potential audience, want to strengthen your brand awareness, or need to keep your existing customer base happy, social media marketing plays an essential part in any business plan. Having business assets in social media means more than just setting up a Facebook profile or, sharing a link or posting a personal activity once a week. A good strategy has a plan and requires consistency and frequency. Furthermore, not every social platform is created equal.
So, how do you know if you are setup on the right platforms, or are leveraging that platform correctly for social media marketing? Don’t worry. You’re not expected to know all of the ins-and-outs when you work with a team who makes it their business to help small business owners with their social media strategies. Our team at Back2Basics has put together a few tips for you here to get you started.
When someone searches for your business online, one of the first items returned in any search result; (aside from your website), will be your Google profile as long as it’s properly optimized. Here are some tips on how to optimize your Google MyBusiness account:
- Add your correct company name, address and phone number.
- Add branded imagery and supportive imagery to enhance the profile including your profile picture and cover image.
- If you have a video already created, be sure to create a new YouTube channel and associate it with your business page vs. a personal profile.
- Add a great description and avoid loading the content with geographic locations of service rather than details of your products and services. Include hours of operation.
- Make sure to use proper categorization on the page.
- Brand pages allow for the display of additional link resources, so make sure to include URLs to your other social media profiles or blogs.
- Once your page is set up, you’ll want to get it verified with Google. Verified pages are recognized as legitimate businesses by Google, and are more visible. Additionally, non-verified pages may have limitations on future updates.
- Be sure to authenticate your business page on your website. This makes both resources stronger, and will give your website more weight, especially when you start creating more content using that same authentication.
- Business pages created under a ‘brick and mortar’ or location option will also qualify to receive reviews; available for public viewing. Google is using business reviews as part of their algorithm recipe in 2016 for placement in search results pages. So, make sure you ask key clients to share a review about your business. Send them a link to your page to make it easier for them to complete the request. (Brand pages currently do not have the ability to collect and publish reviews)
For more information about what to watch for when optimizing your Google profile check out our article at http://www.withthepowerof2.com/basic-steps-to-improve-your-seo-ranking-right-now/.
Still the king of social participation, Facebook is one of the main social media platforms that any type of business can benefit from having a strong presence on. In fact, according to a recent Fortune.com publication, Facebook is now the leader in traffic sourcing for news; edging out Google. So, Facebook is a great resource to build out your business assets on. Here are some things to keep in mind when setting up your business profile on this platform:
- Facebook requires a business to use a business page rather than a personal profile for promoting and advertising that business. It’s actually part of their terms of the agreement, and if they find you’re in breach of this restriction they can delete your personal profile from Facebook at their discretion.
- Make sure your business page is properly categorized (different categories of businesses will display different fields of information).
- Your business profile should include your business name (following industry rules and regulations), your website address, phone number, address, hours of operation, and a brief description of your business. Some categories of business will also include other fields of information such as a list of products and pricing.
- Make sure to include a good quality profile picture and branded cover image. Remember less is more.
- Facebook not only provides you ways to promote your page, your products, and your website, but you can also “boost” strategic social posts to reach a larger audience and drive brand awareness.
- Facebook enables you to create custom tabs and widgets you can use to run promotions, or collect users’ names and emails for additional marketing. Back2Basics can help you set up some of these features if you’re not familiar with the options.
- If your business is setup as a “local business” and has a published physical address, you can display reviews on your page. Ask your clients and supporters to provide reviews. Reviews are shown toward the top of the sidebar, so having good reviews in place will be especially important for visitors to your page. If you don’t have reviews, you can disable this feature along with ‘check-ins’ from showing on the page.
- Finally, remember to engage with followers of your page to keep your presence high. Use tools such as Facebook ‘likes’, ‘comments’, and ‘shares’ on your individual posts. Make sure you’re receiving timely updates from Facebook regarding activity on your page so you can respond quickly. If someone comments on your posts, be sure to acknowledge their actions and respond appropriately and swiftly.
Conversations on Twitter are like a great banter or a well-orchestrated debate. It’s short, quick statements designed to incite a response or action. You have 140 characters to draw them in. Using teaser statements or titles, or pictures or video will help your tweet stand out in the deluge.
- Twitter doesn’t have one account for both personal and business, so if you’re using it for business, make sure to setup a separate profile specific to your business.
- Include a good profile picture (preferably your company logo) and a nice, high-quality image for the cover of your page.
- It’s important to include a brief description of your business and your web address.
- Your main focus for businesses in this forum is to grab their attention and driving interaction through re-tweets, replies or forwards.
- Research, follow and take note what other businesses in your industry, as well as aligned industries, are talking about, then re-share this information. Use search.twitter.com to locate trending conversations.
- Re-posting is different than recycling. Both are beneficial when mixed up.
- Twitter posts move quickly, so re-tweeting something you’ve already tweeted about is recommended. Twitter is a high-frequency information platform, unlike a Google+ page which has a longer lifespan.
Unlike most other social platforms, LinkedIn was originally developed with the goal of bringing businesses together; a place where like-minded professionals can share information, tips, and resources. And of course, it’s a great place for employees to find employers who are hiring, and employers find potential employees for hire. Creating a company page on this platform helps to legitimize your business in this community and gives you a place to pull all employees together and manage business communications. To enhance your company page follow this simple tips:
- Setup your page with your company name, or one really close to it if the name is already used by another business.
- Fill out your company description completely including your contact information, locations, and featured products or services (a.k.a. your specialties). Company specialties act searchable tags within LinkedIn, so use as many relevant terms as possible.
- Add your company logo as well as a banner image branded to match your other online assets.
- Have employees update their personal profiles completely, including the company name (as you’ve set it up on LinkedIn), as well as a verified company email with the same domain address. Once their profile is updated with that information LinkedIn will automatically associate their profiles as active employees of the company.
- As with Twitter or Facebook, you can and should follow LinkedIn Influencers to see what others are talking about, and how their followers engage. You can use this to build a curated feed of industry related news to share or repurpose articles for your company page or website blog.
Additional tips that would apply to all of the above mentioned social media resources:
- Using #hashtags helps to create a priority of conversation, drives popularity, and categorizes the topic of conversation. When using hashtags, start typing keywords/key phrases into the search panels of the social platforms and you’ll see popular keywords populating. This method works especially well in Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Use the most relevant #hashtags for your conversation, keep the #hashtags simple, but not too vague. What would you query if you were searching for conversations on the topic you’re publishing?
- Using imagery and video to enhance your posts will help with visibility of your posts, tweets, and publications.
- Statistically speaking, many readers will overlook links within the post content. Setting up your posts to have the imagery and video actionable on a click will help with driving traffic and relevancy rates.
- Each platform has a different life cycle for content circulation. So, you want to devise social media calendar to help you stay on track with your content goals. Frequency is important, but consistency is, even more, important. You post, tweet, and share multiple times a day; various strategic times a day, so your followers receive your fresh content to their feeds during times those feeds are actually visible to them.
- Don’t just use your posts, articles or tweets to just “promote” your business services or products. These are social accounts, and by definition, your readers and followers want to read information that is beneficial to them in the moment. If you’re constantly trying to “sell” them something they will tune you out. Instead, use essential paid ad space to further your promotions and leave the timelines and feeds available to information, tips, resources, fun facts, humor and community to keep readers engaged and loyal to your brand.
To learn more about which platforms statistically perform better for your business segment when it comes to social media marketing, tips on how to set them up or optimize them, running ads, selling products, branding pages with custom imagery and more, give Back2Basics a call today.
Not sure where to get started?
Contact Back2Basics today to learn about our personalized social media development and content management packages, and get your social media goals back on track! Back2Basics offers social media strategy consultations, training and service options for your Minnesota or Midwest small business or non-profit organization.