Social media is an essential part of successful marketing efforts for just about any business. It allows a business to showcase who they are and what they do. And most importantly, it allows customers and potential customers to connect.
Because social media is so important, we’ve created an all-encompassing beginner’s guide to help small business owners. With this guide, you will:
- Get an overview of popular social media channels
- Understand the benefits of social media marketing
- Create a company voice
- Learn how to use different types of content for social media for your business
Social Media Overview
Facebook was founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg and started with only allowing college students to have accounts. Today, Facebook is used for personal reasons and for businesses with over 1.44 billion active users. Because there are so many active users, this means that your customers are there, so why not create a company page if you haven’t already?
Twitter was founded in 2006 and like Facebook, is used for personal use and for businesses. It’s a great platform to create and share information related to your industry instantly without barriers. Twitter has a large share of the social media industry with more than 302 million active users monthly and over 500 million tweets sent per day.
LinkedIn is a business-oriented social media network platform for personal and business use that launched in 2002. Today, LinkedIn has over 360 million members.
Instagram launched in 2010 and is a platform for images and short videos utilizing hashtags. In 2012, Facebook acquired Instagram for approximately $1 billion and in 2013 introduced Sponsored Post advertising for companies. Instagram’s user base is approximately 68% female and 32% male
YouTube is a video-sharing site that launched in 2005 by former PayPal employees and is currently acquired by Google. Both private individuals and large companies have utilized YouTube for marketing purposes to grow and connect with audiences in a face-to-face format.
Pinterest is a photo organizing and sharing website for both personal and business use. In June 2015, Pinterest rolled out a ‘Buy Now’ button that allows users to purchase items from a page through their mobile app.
The Benefits of Social Media Marketing
Social media offers an array of benefits for companies including, but not limited to:
- SEO rankings
- Rich customer experience
- Conversion rates
- Lead generation
- Increased website traffic
- Brand recognition
- Brand loyalty
- Decreased marketing costs
- Instant feedback and engagement
- Connecting with customers
- Targeting customers
Customers today are digital with over 75% of online adults actively using social networking sites (Pew Research Center). What company wouldn’t want to utilize social media to leverage their online presence? The keys to gaining these benefits are a centered message, consistency, and engagement with your audience.
Creating a Company Voice
Creating a company voice comes from your company’s culture. The voice is what you say and how you say it. If you don’t know your company’s culture, ask yourself these questions:
- What do you stand for?
- What do you talk about?
- What’s unique?
By answering these questions, you can also help define your company’s personality.
Next, you will want to define your community. You will want to look at:
- Interactions with new and old customers
- Look at customer’s pain points and concerns
- Understand your customer’s wants
- Mirroring your customers-once you are in their shoes so to speak, mirror yourself to become just like them using their words, tone, and dialect.
Then, you will want to create conversation. How do you create conversation with your audience?
- Provide customer support
- Offer company information
- Provide industry information
- Ask questions and ask for feedback
- Create content with meaningful, useful, and valuable information
- Encourage your audience with social sharing, leaving options to review products, etc.
Let’s look at company tone. You can send the same message with a different tone. Here are three examples of tone:
“You wouldn’t happen to have a pen I could borrow, would you?”
“Do you have a pen I can borrow?
“Pass me that pen.”
See? Same message, different tone. Which do you think sounds the best?
Here is a simple exercise you and your company can do to find your tone.
Types of Content
How To Posts
How-to posts introduce a problem, offer a solution, and then discuss each step to reach the desired result.
Example: “How to develop film and print in the darkroom”
This type of content is very popular among social media platforms and blogs. After all, today we are Googling more than ever questions that we are expecting to find answers to at the convenience of our fingertips.
Lists focus on a particular topic, offer a number of points about the topic, and provide a brief conclusion.
Lists have a great aesthetic appeal to them. They are easy to navigate to and read. The key to making a great list is to picking a topic and choosing a number that relates to the topic whether it’s 3 or 100.
What-posts provide further information on a specific topic, usually with many articles surrounding comparisons of one person, place or thing to another.
What-posts are great for providing unbiased content and allowing the reader to make the decision for themselves.
Why-posts typically provide readers with a reason or purpose and provide details that support a focused conclusion.
Example: “Why Introverts Rule the World”
Why posts are an interesting read. The reader may be interested in the topic, or may want to find out more information and so it hooks them to read more about the article. This is also a good way to create engagement as some readers may agree or disagree with your content.
Video content is self-explanatory. It provides the audience with a dynamic visual of the topic discussed within an article. Video content is an increasing type of content used (look at your Facebook feed if you don’t believe me). It’s important for your video to be optimized, relevant, engaging, quality, and guiding the user to take some sort of action
There are other types of content such as Infographics, Guides, Opinion or Rant posts, Case Studies, Podcasts, Interviews, etc. But that would make this post even longer than it is.
After reading this post, you should have a better understanding of popular social media channels, know the benefits of well-done social media marketing, understand how to create a company voice and tone and know how to use different types of content for social media marketing and blog posts. My best advice is to be consistent in what you do and be sure to define what social media platforms your target audience is using.
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