Every Little Bit Counts
Whether you post on Facebook, tweet every day or shudder with anxiety at the very idea, social media can connect your business to your customers in meaningful — and profitable — ways. One way to be sure it’s NOT meaningful? Post willy-nilly, in fits and starts, and not only will your followers be baffled by your brand, you won’t get useful data about what is working and what isn’t.
Set out a doable action plan that keeps your customers and brand in mind, and you can start seeing some return on what initially might be just a time investment.
You Need a Plan!
What are you doing? No, really. Are you just posting endless articles or sharing news without comment? Are you relentlessly promoting your business or products? Did you post a bunch of announcements one month, then drop off for weeks? Did you automate your social media approach to just share the same info in every channel? These approaches may get your feet wet in the online social sphere, but the way to really connect is to think carefully about your goals and about the people you are actually trying to reach.
Find out which platforms your target demographic uses most. Do you sell to mostly women between 35 and 50? They may be using Facebook and Pinterest far more than Twitter and Snapchat. Do you get a lot of referrals from colleagues and other professionals? You may get better engagement from LinkedIn or Twitter.
Set a Schedule
Some businesses do best by providing a constant stream of information and interaction via their social media channels, especially if they are targeting millennials for example. Regardless of size and intention, you should set up a schedule for regular posts to stay “top of mind” with your audience, to grow your following and even to get the hang of the whole thing if this stuff is new to you.
Got a service business? Post once or twice a week linking to a relevant story that offers info or assistance to your audience. Tell them specifically why you are sharing the info. Offer additional tips that show your expertise. Follow similar businesses and your favorite thought leaders to see how they use social media and to share what they are learning.
Mind Your Manners
People can find it easy to get caught up in kooky memes, hyperbolic politicking and all manner of iffy content that can erode your brand and alienate followers. We all have issues dear to our hearts and public situations that rile us up. Just take a moment before posting or sharing that kind of content. You can stay true to yourself without putting off future customers and collaborators.
But don’t overcompensate by reducing your posts to generic regurgitations of other people’s thoughts and words. Having a personality is a good thing! Just stay in touch with what your brand represents and you want it to be perceived and honored by buyers and colleagues.
Watch Your Stats and Adapt
Every social media platform has stats to tell you about your “reach”. Even if you just spend 20 minutes every few weeks digging into the details, you can find some trends. What kind of posts do followers like or share the most? Did the posts have photos? What was the topic? When was it sent? If you’re in retail, people may respond more to you over lunchtimes, evenings and weekends. Business-targeted info may get better traction weekdays and early in the week. Keep an eye on shifts and experiment with different images and timing.
For example, a local sleep physician got a great response for a post about drowsy driving one week. But a similar post a couple of weeks later featured an illustration rather than a photo and performed far lower.