With the development of technology, marketing has moved online following the widespread consumer adoption of social media. However, one thing that is important no matter what type of business you’re running, be it a brick and mortar retail store in Tucson, Tucson outdoor service business, online retail, Tucson digital marketing company or a consulting and coaching practice, and that is the value of forming a relationship with your market.
Social media is an excellent vehicle to do this as it provides a remote view into your world, whether the professional side, or the personal, and it is ideal to establish and build trust and relationship with prospects and your current customers. Another great thing about social media is the powerful engine for marketing that it provides. From Facebook to Twitter, to LinkedIn, to Instagram, and Snapchat, with social media, you can strategically target the audience you desire to reach and serve.
Here are 5 steps to take if you’re looking to build your network and gain the trust of your ideal audience so they will want to do business with you.
Step 1 – Create Your Social Media Channels
There are many social media channels to choose from, and it’s important to know which social media networks are best for you to invest the time, energy and money in building for your business.
If you were thinking about Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and other channels – you aren’t wrong at all. However, not many people know that there are more than 200 social channels which you can use to your advantage. Facebook is one of the most popular social media channels in the world and if you have a consumer direct product or service to sell, provided it’s not so niche (the wider the target audience the better) Facebook can be the perfect place to start.
When selecting the social media channel to target your audience, the critical thing to consider is this: Where does your ideal audience spend most of the time? There is a difference in culture and behavior between social media channels, and it will be reflected in not only the demographics but the psychographics. That is what is the mindset of your typical user when they are on that particular network?
One company who has found success in building their local business with social media is Express Roofing. Express Roofing works in Chandler Arizona and Gilbert AZ, as well as the entire Phoenix metro area. By using Facebook, Express Roofing was able to reach more than 260 people with their $500 discount voucher, while addressing the question many homeowners have, and that is, “Should I replace my aging roof before selling my home?” For this Chandler roofing company, Express Roofing is using social media as a channel to establish their dominance as the best roofing company in Chandler AZ and the top residential roofer in Gilbert AZ.
Register yourself on as many different social media channels as you can afford the time to monitor and build up your profile so that you can get a real-world view on how responsive each is to your message, product or service. A good place to start is knowem.com.
- The more accurate you are in defining your audience, the better you will be in pitching to them. When choosing your audience, consider the main problem that you can solve for them and what exactly they’re looking for, along with how they can benefit from what you have to say.
- If you’re using social media channels for brand building to start, stick with one social media network to establish your brand on first. If you have an engaged and growing audience on one of the major networks to start, it will be much easier (and faster) to expand that audience onto a new social platform by leveraging your followers on the main network.
- Take imperfect action. Too many business owners are paralyzed by assuming that they must reach a certain standard level for content quality, posting frequency, etc. before social media can be effective. Your first post, video, or photo, will likely be your worst, but as you practice the art of social media by regularly creating content, your quality will improve, as will your efficiency. Posts that use to take 2 hours to complete and push live, will get the point of only consuming 45 minutes of your day. Start today!
Step 2 – Get Visual
Every social media platforms support images (photos) and video. Nowadays, everything on social media is visual. Snapchat and Instagram were the founders of the visual social web, yet today, even LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter fully support media (photos and videos). The latter (Twitter) has even struck deals to distribute full-length sporting events as streaming media.
The images you upload will be the first thing people see about you. They will represent everything you do. Develop your brand, put yourself out there in the best way, and be different. You can take inspiration from your competition but never copy them. You have a greater chance of succeeding when you are unique.
- Research all social media channel to find your competitors to get ideas and inspiration, but never copy. Always be original.
- Make sure all of your photos and videos are properly licensed and copyrighted. As a general rule, consider that any image you find by way of a Google search, is not in the public domain, and thus you cannot just copy it and add it to your website.
- If it’s a photo cover, that doesn’t mean that you can’t add any text to it. Think about simple, yet catchy messages that you can add to your images.
- When ordering photo designs, make sure to tell your designer which social media channel you’re using. Every social media uses a different size image depending on where it’s being used, and you want to get the dimensions right in order to maximize quality.
- When you’re building a brand, use images that are consistent with who you are. For this reason, we recommend using custom photography. First off, this will ensure that your website is fully consistent from the messages you make to the supporting visual design (photos and videos). Second, you will avoid nasty letters from lawyers claiming copyright violation.
- Use canva.com to create your images. It’s free and so easy to use with the built-in templates that everyone can be a designer with Canva.
Step 3 – Content is Everything
For a business to succeed on social media you must create compelling content for your audience. Content is mainly how will express yourself and your brand online. Suitable content can take the form of: written, video, or photo. Consider that you shouldn’t post just any type of content if you want to be taken seriously. You should always create content while having your desired audience in your mind. Only create and share content your audience wants to see or hear. And do not be afraid to take a contrarian view.
If your market and thought leaders in it are moving in a different direction then your thinking, don’t be shy to be the lone voice suggesting an opposite perspective. Have your facts down and be sure your arguments are clear and valid, but don’t be shy to express yourself. Even for those who disagree, they’ll be driven to view your content and perhaps help to build your brand as they cite you as being someone with an opposite view.
As you are planning your content pieces, consider the actions you would want your audience to take after reading your post. And consider how you want your audience to engage. Your content should always have a purpose, whether to raise engagement, build general awareness, or cause your audience to take specific action.
Being present on many social media channels while creating your content plan and pitching it to your audience will consume time. Outsourcing much of the writing step will allow you to focus on more important things related to your brand and business. Though one thing to be aware of is that you have the best command of your message. Thus, you should not expect someone to be able to write it with the level of detail and specificity that you can.
If you are a proficient writer, you can engage an outsource editor to provide the final polish. However, in the case that you are not able to write so it is near a publishable state, you can always capture your thoughts in bullet point form by expressing your main ideas and then hand this off to a professional writer who is able to assemble them into the proper format.
- Test to see how often you should post and share content on your social media channels. Do not assume they all behave the same. On some social media networks, it’s advised to post more than two times per day.
- If you outsource most of your work related to content, make sure to give the vendor an effective plan with the type of content and other relevant specs such as word count that you expect. Also, how often it should be shared and what’s the best way to handle conversation related to your brand
- When you’re sharing content from some other source, make sure the site is trustworthy and has a good reputation.
Step 4 – Manage Your Social Channels Regularly
Once you have an active social media channel, you must invest time to manage it. Managing your social channels properly will require you to join conversations, engage with your audience, reach out to other accounts in order to create relationships, and much more. All of this is on top of the time to create content and publish. Don’t get so focused on the content creation side that you forget without a community there won’t be anyone reading what you produce.
Managing your social channels is also critical to maintaining your reputation online. It’s important to monitor your online brand mentions both positive and critical. It’s a good idea to be transparent as much as possible with complaints. If you need more time, ask for it – if you or your team dropped the ball, own up to it – many businesses get themselves in trouble not because the made a mistake, but because they didn’t respond well to it.
- If you outsource your social media management, be precise about your goals and make sure to measure and inspect what you expect.
- Use a tool like Sprout Social to monitor mentions of your brand as well as engagement with your content. You must know what’s being said about you online so that you can amplify it, or deal with it. In today’s global environment even negative sentiment in another country could affect your business in the US.
Step 5 – Analyze the Results
Tracking and analyzing your social media results will provide critical feedback on the success of your strategies and tactics. For example, if you are driving traffic to your website through your social media channels, without using Google Analytics or another tool that is capable of measuring the origination of traffic to your website, how will you know if your efforts are paying off? When sharing links, be sure to use Google Tag Manager to create a trackable link. This way, you will be able to measure and track clicks on your link with a high degree of accuracy.
Using Google Analytics, you can also create goals which make it simple to track your progress. Jeff Sauer on his site https://www.jeffalytics.com/ has many excellent training resources on Google Analytics. Take a look, the investment in learning how to track your online and social performance is well worth the effort.
- Be sure the data you collect is representative of your objectives. For example: If you are not tracking the ‘Channel’ source of traffic to your website, you will have no way to know if your social media efforts are actually producing results.
- Don’t fall into the trap of pursuing followers only, or using the number of followers as a success or fail metric. Followers alone do not reflect success unless they are engaged and interacting with your content and hence your brand.
Following these five steps, requires work, but success on social media is really not any more complicated than this summary: Engage regularly with your audience with great content, create goals, track your data, and build relationships, show interest in your audience, and regularly check out your competition.
If this is all overwhelming to you, or the work seems greater than you can handle, don’t worry. There are digital marketing companies like https://seorankeragency.com who can help you build a comprehensive plan and execute it for you.