A lot changed in 2020, but one thing remained the same – the competitive nature of social media. If anything, it’s getting more competitive and even more crowded.
You need to have a social media marketing strategy that completely differs from your website strategy. When people visit your website, they are usually in ‘buy’ mode. But when people see your social media posts, they aren’t necessarily wanting to buy anything, but with the right posts, you can influence how they feel and react.
Let’s kickstart your 2021 social media with enthusiasm and confidence! With these seven social media focus areas you’ll be on track for the rest of the year. To be successful on social media and to be found by your customers you need to consider:
1.Why are you on social Media?
If you don’t know why, you may be wasting your time. Never do social media marketing just because you see others do it – that’s just not a good enough reason. If you don’t know your why, your messaging will be confusing, and you’ll find it difficult to come up with post ideas.
Need help planning your social media? This little exercise will help you – list three 3 reasons WHY your business should have social media accounts.
2.What are you hoping to achieve on Social Media?
There is no right of wrong answer here, and I find that the answer varies from client to client. You may want to raise your brand’s awareness, demonstrate your credibility, tell your story, or showcase your products and services. Maybe a mix of some of these. But ultimately, it helps you to sell what you have to offer without pushing ‘sales talk’ into your customers’ faces.
Really think about what it is you want to achieve as this will help shape your social media plan 2021. Understanding what you want to achieve will give you clarity and help you to identify which social media posts are working for you and which are not.
Now ask yourself, ‘does my answer to this complement my three reasons for being on social media?’ If not, have a rethink about your why.
A mini case study: I recently worked with a salon who came to me wanting to learn how to use Instagram. Naturally, I asked them why. They told me that they had seen other salons using it and that they had lots of likes and heaps of engagement. After more probing into their ‘why’, I discovered that they wanted their customers to make bookings, to identify them as being a top salon in the North West and to promote their upcoming events.
In a nutshell, Instagram isn’t the account for them. Realising what they wanted to achieve, they moved away from Instagram and focussed on Facebook where they could take bookings, create posts for customers in their local area and advertise events.
Do a spot of reflecting: Yes, I know, we’ve only just said goodbye to 2020 and I’m asking you to take another look at it! But, it’s for a good reason. The more you can learn from your past posts the better. Which ones did well and helped you achieve what you set out to achieve? What was it about the post – maybe the content, the image, the time you sent it? Keep posting to find the perfect formula for you and your objectives.
3.Who is your target market?
Not everyone is your ideal or target customer. Believe me when I say that when you try to talk to everyone, you talk to no-one.
To help explain how differently you can use platforms, this is how I use my social media accounts:
- Twitter: I use this for business purposes only, primarily to connect with decision makers, build relationships, keep up to date with industry changes as well as showcase what I do and the services I provide.
- LinkedIn: I use this to network, to learn from others and to target larger clients that need social media training for their inhouse teams.
- Facebook: Here I target small companies. It is the place where I generate reviews to demonstrate my credibility. Using Facebook’s tools, I am also able to promote my training workshops. This is also the platform I use to show my human side and to give my followers an insight into my life.
The best social media marketing tip I can give on this topic, is to tell you to think about your messaging and your language. Niche down on who it is you are speaking to and use the platforms appropriately.
When I worked in the gaming industry it was my job to ‘talk to’ mainly men in the USA who enjoyed board gaming. I talked to them in their language, so they knew I was directing the social media messages to them.
4.Which social media platform is going to give you the best return on investment?
As I have already mentioned in point three, I use all my social media platforms differently. To allow me to do this effectively and achieve successful results I have researched where my ideal customers are and what they use social media for.
Every platform is different and attracts different demographics. Facebook is mainly used by the over 35s, Instagram has a younger customer base made up of mainly under 35s. Twitter mainly has users aged between 25 and 34.
You should also think whether you want global customers or more local. Facebook is perfect for targeting local communities while the other platforms can reach out to anyone in the world.
Our teenage customers love interaction and can be found using Snapchat or TikTok more than other platforms. If you are targeting your product to the younger generations, you’ll have to get familiar with these fun platforms.
The more you know about who it is you are targeting the better. And it’s not always customers you want to talk to. For example, journalists spend a lot of time on Twitter as this is the place they find breaking news. So, if you want to get on a journalist’s radar to help promote your product or service, this is the place to be. Make sure to follow them and start commenting on their posts, they’ll be more receptive to stop and read what you have to say in your posts.
5. How to build your community on social media
When creating posts, consider what the reader wants to hear – this may be completely different to what you want to tell them! Really add value by giving them interesting facts, tips and advice, answers to their problems, industry insights and behind the scenes information.
Remember the 80/20 rule. 80% of your posts should be to entertain, educate, inspire, showcase products and to tell your story. The remaining 20% should be sales posts – any more than that, and your followers may get cheesed off. When you give them value, they’ll stay with you.
So, what makes you and your brand unique allowing you to stand out from the competition? You. You do! Be yourself, be human.
As Oscar Wilde famously said, “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”
6. Consistency and how you achieve it on social media
Just like a new year resolution we have every intention of posting regularly on social media, but once we get busy, our motivation fades. Don’t let this happen to you.
All social media platforms are ‘all seeing’. They monitor your every move. Even on the days you don’t post, it sees that you are still active by liking, sharing and commenting on others’ posts. This is great practice; hop onto social media for a period of time every day – it doesn’t have to be very long – to keep your activity level up.
By posting regularly and interacting you will be rewarded! This means that your posts will reach more people, but it also means that you will rank higher making your profile appear in more searches. Hurray – your customers will be able to find you more easily!
Never underestimate how clever every social media platform is either. They know what you like and want to see and will match your newsfeed with things it believes will be of interest to you. So, when you post with a clear message about your product or service, the platform will do some free marketing and market research for you and send your posts to those they believe will want to see it.
Go on, start today – be more sociable!
7. A social media plan
Even if you don’t think you know how to do social media marketing you can make a great start by creating a plan to prevent you from losing momentum. To begin, think about what’s coming up.
Are you launching a new product or service?
Have you entered an award?
Are you going to appear in a newspaper?
Are you finishing a qualification?
Have you an event or workshop coming up?
Are you moving premises?
Are you giving your office a make over?
Are you taking on a new staff member?
Have you a new office pet?
Are you updating your website?
Do you volunteer anywhere?
Pop all of these onto your plan.
For launches, events and workshops work backwards from the date. Start to build up excitement a few weeks before, what I do for my social media training workshops is to post tips about that particular platform to drum up interest, and then go into more detail the week or two before.
Also think how you can add value and inspire:
Post a piece of useful advice once a week.
Do you read inspiring books regularly, if so, talk about them.
Check out Days of The Year to see if there are any ‘national days’ or ‘international days’ coming up.
Talk about the benefits of your products and services.
Write up some case studies and share them.
Have you had a great day out recently?
Really useful social media marketing tips for beginners are to make a plan and check that each post aligns with values of your brand.
What’s coming up?
To get your LinkedIn account into the best shape and to kick start social media 2021, join me and other business owners on my next online workshop.
My LinkedIn workshop starts on 26th January and will be delivered over four days, just an hour each day over zoom. We’ll cover everything you need to know to attract the right audience, keep in touch with your existing customers, grow your professional network and build strong and successful relationships. To learn more, head over to Eventbrite be quick places are running out!
In the mean time if you want some hints and tips for marketing on LinkedIn take a look at my blog here 13 LinkedIn post ideas.
I really hope you get some wonderful ideas and social media marketing tips for small businesses from this blog and start this year the right way! Good luck
Bye for now,
Becs Bate, Social Media Executive