Social sites

From the days of Myspace to the current landscape of nearly 200 (or more) social media platforms, social sites have really grown into something, haven’t they?  It used to be that sites like Facebook and Instagram were nothing more than a collection of peoples’ pictures and random thoughts, but now they are thriving, self-contained communities with ecosystems that rival the entire Internet. They’re also a huge contributor to any successful business, which is why today, we will be discussing the basics of marketing on social media.

Why Market on Social Sites?

Before we delve into the how, let’s talk about the why. As an insightful and intelligent business person, I’m sure you’re wondering “why should I invest my time and money into selling on sites like Facebook when I could just pursue other marketing strategies? How do I know it’ll work?” Those are great (and common) questions.

Here’s the deal with marketing on social sites: it works like magic – which is to say, it’s often mysterious in how it works, but there are foundations and best practices for attracting followers and delighting customers.  Worldwide, there are about 3.5 billion people using social media. That means that when you advertise on social sites, you are broadcasting to a huge audience.

In addition to the pure scope of social media advertising and marketing, there is also the added benefit of creating a more personal relationship with your potential customers. When you interact with people on these platforms, you aren’t just a generic brand, but a personality to which the consumer feels directly connected.

One final benefit of using social media as a means of marketing is that it can have a crossover effect with other marketing strategies. People who like your brand on social sites are likely to talk about it with other people in real life, and social media can even help boost your SEO. Boosting social pages on all your print and digital materials will further enhance your presence and reach.  You get quite a bang for your buck with the proper use of social media.

How to Market Using These Sites

Ok, so you’re still with me, right?  Here’s the deal.  There are a couple hundred platforms out there, but we only really need to worry about the top ten.  It’s not likely you’ll be able to spread across multiple platforms.  That would require an enormous amount of effort and budget.

So how do you actually start marketing on these social platforms? I’m so glad you asked, because I’ve been dying to tell you.  Start with your target demographics and put in the legwork (or hire us) to research typical demographics for the following platforms:

  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. Instagram
  4. YouTube
  5. LinkedIn
  6. Snapchat
  7. Reddit
  8. Pinterest
  9. Google+
  10. Tumblr

Figuring out your target audience can be tricky.  If you’re trying to sell a fancy wine, you’re not going to want to be aiming at broke college kids. Develop some buyer personas and learn who your audience is.  Do some research about what platforms they use and when they are likely to log on.

Once you have this figured out, start planning posts out by the week. If you are going to be posting 3 times a week, aim to make the posts somewhat related to the days and times you’re posting. This will make it easy for your audience to follow along and will help keep them engaged.

What kind of posts are we talking? Well, an easy and efficient way to go is to create posts that link directly to other content, such as a blog or product page. This lets you get your brand out there without being overly pushy or sales-y.

Warning!  Don’t let this be the only kind of posts you create.  That would be too boring, unless you have an amazingly talented blogger.  Facebook really doesn’t like it when you lead people off the platform, so if that’s all you’re doing, you won’t get as much reach. 

Making posts that are likely to connect with the audience emotionally is a must on social sites. If your targeting parents to sell kids clothes, throw in a few posts about how great kids can be (or how terrifying and funny it is to be a parent of ever-growing children).  If you’re talking to broke college students about your restaurant, talk about how super it would be to eat something other than Ramen tonight.

This allows your audience to feel a connection with your brand on a more human level. Everyone knows a sandwich place wants them to buy sandwiches, but when the sandwich shop talks about their dog-friendly culture, it takes on an element of sincerity and humanity. This is what separates you from the competition.

How to Start

Putting off things like marketing on social sites can be easy. It can seem so complicated from the outside, but the reality is, it’s quite simple once you start. Make a business profile, learn who you’re trying to reach, and start planning your posts.

If you like a bit more structure, try planning out posts in a spreadsheet. This will make your post creation easy and seamless and allow you to stay consistent.

Of course, you could always hire someone to manage your social media marketing and help you through the process.  Partner and account director, Rachael Herman, is a social media expert, proving success on multiple social channels across a variety of industries over many years.  Her secret?  Well, she won’t tell me.  She says, “every social engagement specialist has their own methods.  My way wouldn’t work for you, and yours make me jealous.”

Now, there’s a lesson to eat away at the mind’s walls of uncertainty.  Thanks, Rache!

If you’re looking for some help from an engagement specialist, schedule a chat with Rachael.  She’s happy to consult and won’t hassle you with sales pitches.

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