Social media sites have become a hugely important part of our day-to-day lives in recent years, and possibly even more so in the coronavirus era in which social distancing is more important than ever.
Our social media accounts provide us with a way to stay in touch with our friends and family without putting us at risk of infection or exacerbating the spread of the disease.
It’s been obvious for a while now that social media sites are a vital part of our 21st century lifestyle, and social channels show no signs of waning in popularity any time soon.
That means that you can expect them to remain an important part of the puzzle if you plan to grow your business in the months and years to come.
That’s why today, we’re going to help you out by teaching you how to use social media for business, from setting up your first Instagram account to tapping into the power of LinkedIn and influencer marketing.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Work With Influencers
Influencers exist in every industry, whether you’re a B2C fashion brand or whether you’re a specialist B2B company making bespoke widgets for farmyard machinery.
The real challenge is figuring out who those influencers are and then establishing relationships with them.
A good place to start is by liking and commenting on their posts so that your name starts to become familiar to them.
Engagement builds relationships, and relationships are key if you want to work with influencers to build your own brand and its social media accounts.
2. Develop Affiliate Partners
Affiliate schemes take all sorts of different forms, and so it’s up to you to find something that you can make work for you.
Perhaps you want to turn your audience into a street team to sell your products on your behalf, or perhaps you’ll use referral codes to give your followers a reward if they encourage their own followers to make a purchase.
You can also work this the other way round.
For example, if your business is a web development company, you could buddy up with writers, film-makers and other providers to cross-promote each other on social networks and to provide finders fees for any new customers who come in.
3. Run Competitions
Competitions are a sure-fire way to drum up some engagement on social networks, although be warned that you should wait until your brand is already established before you run one.
That will help to make sure that you have plenty of existing followers to get the ball rolling and to spread the word about your competition.
It will also make sure that your brand looks legit and not like some sort of scam.
If you can, run competitions with tools like Rafflecopter that encourage engagement and social sharing to add a little fuel to the fire. And of course, be sure to promote it on social networks using popular hashtags like #win and #competition.
Also, make sure to research your competitors since you’ll be in competition mode anyways.
4. Go Live
You can go live on most social networks, ranging from Facebook and Instagram to YouTube and even specialist platforms like Twitch.
The important thing is to identify where your audience is spending time and to make that platform work for you – and remember that not everyone is interested in live content to begin with.
Different ways to make live video work for you include hosting Q&A sessions or live performances, or even hosting webinars and other educational virtual events.
Experiment with different approaches and content types to find out what works for your audience and what leads to the most engagement.
5. Use Stories
There’s a reason why Facebook and Instagram pinched the idea of self-destructing stories from Snapchat: people use them.
Accordingly, if you’re not posting stories to your Instagram account, you’re essentially ignoring one of the most powerful features that social networks have to offer.
When you create an Instagram post, the content that you share will sit on your profile for people to see forever. It can also come across as spammy if you post too many updates in too short a period of time.
Stories provide a decent alternative to that and allow you to reach your target audience more frequently without overwhelming them.
6. Run Ads To Your Ideal Audience
Because social networks possess so much information on their users, they make it possible for you to set up super targeted advertisements that allow you to specify a target audience at a granular level.
Sure, you’ll have to set a little budget aside, but it’s 100% worth it.
Think about it this way:
If you’ve spent time and money developing content to share with people on social networks, why wouldn’t you invest that little bit of extra budget that will make sure that people actually see it?
Get used to spending at least 10% of your social media marketing budget on advertisements, even if funds are tight.
7. Learn From Your Analytics
Almost all social networks provide some level of analytical data for brands to access and to learn from.
Be sure to take advantage of that information to fine tune your social media marketing strategy and to do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.
Remember that analytics allow you to track a variety of different data points, from engagement rates to growth in followers, reach and whether your target audience is turning into paying customers or whether they’re just checking out your content but with no real intention of buying.
Be sure to keep an eye on how your analytics change over time in response to your marketing campaigns, too.
8. Make Social Media An Essential Part Of Your Business
Finding success on social networks requires so much more than simply running a few marketing campaigns. Used well, social media can become a core part of your overall business, impacting everything from recruitment through to customer service.
In the same way that social networks are becoming more and more integral to our overall lives, the same thing is happening to our professional lives.
That’s why if you want to have an edge over the competition and to be able to future-proof your brand against the change that’s coming, it’s vital to integrate social networking across the entirety of your business.
9. Use The Gig Economy
The gig economy is the term used for the new approach to working in which people are increasingly turning to freelancing sites to make a living, often while working on the move and living the lifestyle of a digital nomad.
This is good news for you and your brand, because it means you can take on skilled copywriters, graphic designers, film-makers and other creatives to provide high-quality content for your brand and its social media presence without having to hire full-time staff.
This is typically cheaper and more efficient and doesn’t leave you with salaried employees sitting around and doing nothing.
10. Always Experiment And Evolve
The last and most important thing for your brand to remember is that it can’t afford to remain static. You have to constantly find ways to innovate, whether that’s through the content that you’re creating or whether that’s by becoming an early adopter of promising new technologies and social media platforms.
As a general rule, it’s a good idea to spend 10-20% of your time at any given point experimenting with new approaches.
Keep an eye on your metrics to see what impact your experiments are having, and be sure to do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. It’s all about a slow but steady rate of evolution.