We were recently asked, “What are the best practices for using social media for business promotion?” The answer to that, of course, is fraught with a minefield of opinions. That said, if you’re just looking for a place to start, without getting “into the weeds,” here’s a brief list to consider. Four tips for social media for business:
A successful social media program begins with Strategy. Businesses need to RESEARCH their competition and industry and then create MEASURABLE OBJECTIVES. That doesn’t mean “we want to raise awareness” … that means, “We want to drive 25 percent of our website leads from social media in 12 months.” Take into consideration Google keywords as topics. From those measurable objectives, businesses need to create a “content calendar” — lots of templates out there. Much like your “to do” lists, if you identify topics and themes and write them down, you’re more likely to act on it and check it off as “Accomplished!”
No one ever built a huge social media following just promoting their product, organization or event. Social media is about engaging audiences with a “story” — whether that is a motivational meme or a video from the janitor. In telling the story, get away from “The Three Little Pigs” (We, we, we) and focus on solving a customer’s pain point.
It takes time to build an audience and see results. The term “It Went Viral” lures some to the false sense that this is a quick and inexpensive boost for marketing efforts. Be prepared for a long-term (12 months is realistic) commitment to the effort.
Don’t Hire Your Niece to Run Your Social Media
Most business owners hire professional accountants and attorneys to provide specialized work. But it’s surprising how many think social media is the perfect task for their niece or nephew home for summer holiday. While this generation is certainly knowledgable in navigating the various platforms, few have the discipline to provide the strategy necessary to make it worth your while. That said, with a content calendar and a mentor, it is a great opportunity for burgeoning journalists, public relations and marketing professionals to cut their teeth.