If you’re a beginner in social media marketing and you’re not sure where to start, you’re probably both excited and a little bit scared. You’ve seen the power of social media and how it can skyrocket businesses to higher success. You’ve seen other people in your niche use social media to attract and serve their ideal clients.
At this point, it’s vital to have a plan laid out before you start posting willy-nilly on every available social media platform. This can seem challenging at first, but if you take it step by step there is no reason you can’t hit the ground running with the perfect social media strategy for your business.
Step 1: Select The Right Social Media Platforms
The types of posts and methods of conversation are different on each platform, and you would want to say the same thing differently on Instagram than you would on Facebook or Twitter. This is called native language, and every platform has its own native language that appeals to its specific audience.
The strategy you want to use and the goals you wish to achieve should help you to determine which social networks are right for your business. It’s better to do even 1 platform extremely well than to run a mediocre campaign on every network you can.
Here are some factors that can help you determine which social media platforms are right for you and how many you should try to juggle at once, at least in the beginning.
Who are your ideal customers? Which social network’s demographics align most closely with your target audience?
How much time can you spend on your social media strategy? Will you have a devoted social media manager or are you doing everything yourself? At least in the beginning, whoever is working on your social media presence should be able to devote an average of 1 hour a day to each platform you are active on.
How much experience do you have with social media marketing? Do you have marketing materials available to work with? Social Media is a visual medium, and you will need resources like quality images and video to create engaging content.
Step 2: Complete Your Profiles
A complete profile includes a profile picture, a cover photo, a short biography, and general information like address, phone number, and website URL. Having a completed profile shows that you are a professional and it tells your visitors that they can engage with you in that space.
For the visual areas of your profile, you should try to ensure that they are consistent. The more similar your profile and cover photos are across multiple networks, the more easily your customers will recognize and trust your business.
In the text section of your profile, the most important thing to remember is to be concise but informative. Make sure that you fill out every applicable section so that your customers can find the information they need.
Step 3: What Is Your Brand Voice?
If your brand was a person, what kind of personality would it have? How would it interact? Is your brand serious or fun, professional or friendly? What do you want people to think of when they think about your brand?
These are just some of the questions you can ask to determine what your brand voice should be. This is the way your brand communicates online, and it should be the same no matter who is running your social media campaigns. Create a brand voice that appeals to your ideal customers, and your customers will be happy to share your message.
Step 4: Create A Posting Plan
Before you start posting, there are some questions you’ll need to know the answers to. What works for one niche might not work for another, but reviewing some general guidelines is usually a good place to start when you’re working from square one.
What should you post?
In terms of media type, videos are currently the most engaging post types. Videos get the highest engagement rates by far on Facebook and are 6 times more likely to be retweeted on Twitter. There’s something to be said for balance, and the best strategies combine images and videos on a variety of topics, but there is no arguing that when it comes to social content, video is king.
The 80/20 Rule
Your purpose for promoting your business on social media is almost certainly to increase your profits, either by getting more customers, increasing overall sales, or promoting special offers. However, it’s not a good idea to only make posts that are directly promotional.
Think about this way: If you opened a magazine and there wasn’t anything in it but ads, you would probably put it right back down.
This is the same thought process your visitors on social media are likely to have. Because of this, it’s best to ensure that about 80 percent of your posts are purely informational, educational, or engaging. This will draw your followers in and make them more receptive to the sales messages you have reserved for the remaining 20 percent of your posts.
Don’t Use Automated Crossposting. Seriously, Please Don’t.
Many businesses that use posting tools like Buffer or HooteSuite are tempted to set their posts to disseminate automatically across all of their platforms. This may seem like an excellent shortcut, but unfortunately, it’s a shortcut that shines a garish spotlight on the fact that you’re not being as thoughtful as you could be about what you post. As I mentioned earlier, every platform has its own native language. If you just pick one language and try speaking it in every situation, the fact that you crossposted will stick out like a sore thumb and can make your business appear lazy or disconnected from your audience.
When should you post?
Platforms like Facebook have specific insights that will allow you to see exactly what times your followers are most active, but you won’t have access to this data right off the bat. Here are some good guidelines for standard posting times (all are EST):
- Facebook – 1:00 pm To 4:00 pm On Weekdays
- Instagram – 5:00 pm To 6:00 pm On Weekdays; 8:00 pm On Mondays
- Twitter – 1:00 pm To 3:00 pm On Weekdays
- Linkedin – 7:00 am To 8:30 am And 5:00 pm To 6:00 pm On Tuesday, Wednesday, And Thursday
How often should you post?
You may find that your specific experience lends itself to a different ideal frequency for posting, but in the beginning, you can start with these standard guidelines:
- Facebook – 1 to 2 times a day
- Instagram – 1 to 3 times a day
- Twitter – 3 to 10 times a day, including retweets
- LinkedIn – 1 to 2 times a day
Step 5: Always Be Testing
These guidelines can provide you with an excellent place to start, and once you’ve been running your social media campaign for a while you will start to see which frequency, timing, and content works best for you. You can use a social media reporting tool or review network insights right within the platform. Always be testing new ideas and reviewing the results to determine what works best and move forward with only the winning strategies.
Step 6: Engage With Your Audience
Now that you’ve got an active posting strategy and you’re ready to start reaching out on social media, you need to be prepared for some of your followers to reach back. I see hundreds of businesses treat their social media pages like a bulletin board, always making announcements and never replying to customer questions or remarks. This is a killer when it comes to successful social media marketing. Engaging with potential clients is the whole reason you want to be on social media in the first place, so when someone comments on your post, mentions your business, or sends you a direct message, always reply in a timely and courteous manner.
Creating an active social media presence is one of the best decisions you can make for marketing, whether you’re getting started with a new business or updating the marketing for an older one. Make sure you have a social media marketing strategy before you get started and you’ll be much closer to creating a social media presence that is engaging, creates brand awareness, and converts followers into customers.