Did you know, that the first-ever social media website was called SixDegrees.com and was launched in the year 1997? This website would only allow you to create a profile and then friend other users. Almost two decades later, social media has evolved into one of the most potent forms of communication with over millions of users and brands.
With easy access to social network sites, especially with the boom of mobile phones and wearable gadgets, there are tons of people on social networking websites. Social media profiles give the brand a face that the consumers can talk to, ask questions, complain, review, etc. Many businesses have realized this as an opportunity and are using the space to engage with their target audiences actively.
It is become like an unwritten rule for businesses not only to own a website but also ensure that they have their social identities set up on various social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. There is too much value social media has to offer, yet there are so many brands that underutilize it.
So if social media isn’t part of your business equation yet, then learn how to use social media to expand your business.
- Define your target audience
The very first step even before your brand ventures into the social media space is to identify your target audience. This works hand in hand with the market research every brand performs to determine the market. Defining the demographics/psychographics of your audience will help you to produce the right content and speak to the right people.
You can’t get the perfect mix of people at one go. You will need to keep evaluating results and keep changing the demographic mix until you can find the ideal list. This will help in eliminating wastage of resources, misunderstanding of the brand/ service and most importantly, spam.
For Example, A fashion brand which specializes in western wear for women would target fashion-forward women from Tier 1, Tier 2 cities who are aware of the global trends and are looking for brands that provide these garments.
- Choose your platforms wisely
Once you have identified your target audience, you then need to identify the social platforms where they are going to be most active and likely to engage with your brand. While this is highly dependent on step one, it also requires you to establish where your brand or service should mostly be active. Your options are vast and varied, some of the most famous ones being Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, LinkedIn, Snapchat & Pinterest. Each of these platforms is famous and is used by different age groups of people in different numbers.
Taking the previous example of the fashion brand, the target audience is widely present on platforms like Facebook, Instagram & Pinterest. It would only make sense to invest more time and effort on these platforms than the others.
- Engage with your audience
Setting up your brand social pages is easy, engaging with the target audience is the most challenging part. Find out what your competitors are doing online, see what works for them and what doesn’t, analyze their reach and their audiences & understand where you stand in comparison to your competitors.
Once you’ve given your brand a place among your competitors, it’s now time to stand out from the crowd, to grab the attention of your audience and provide them with a reason to choose you over your competitors. This is how you can reach out to your audience and also create an identity for yourself in the minds of your target group.
- Listen and Respond to your followers
The Social Media is filled with millions of conversations, and it is next to impossible to identify who is talking about your brand. Thankfully, there are social listening tools that allow you to browse the world wide web inclusive of social media platforms to understand what people are talking about your brand or the industry in general. Some examples of these tools are Hootsuite, Klout, Tweetdeck and Social Mention. You can quickly join conversations to engage with people who are talking about you or anything concerning you.
Some brands even actively use social listening tools to acquire new customers who are pondering the web in search of answers related to a product or service.
- Be consistent
Your brand personality is made evident to your audience by your messaging, the tone of voice, imagery, etc. It thus becomes essential to keep these elements consistent so that your followers understand what you stand for. Posting regularly is a big win but being too pushy about your brand/product can be considered as spamming.
- Invest in Advertising and Invest Smartly
Another way to stand out of the social media clutter is to invest in advertisements. Most social media platforms provide this option, and this will help in providing more visibility to your posts. For example, Facebook Ad Manager helps boost your posts on Facebook and Instagram.
You can reach out to more individuals that fit your target audience definition, thus helping them learn more about your brand and in the bargain improve your followers. New businesses should capitalize this opportunity to allow their target audiences a chance to know of their existence
- Check insights and monitor your growth
Most social media channels provide you with dashboards to check relevant data metrics of your business page.These metrics help you understand which posts are doing well and which aren’t. You can ascertain your objectives by analyzing these metrics and can then make changes in your social media marketing approach. It also helps you monitor your growth over a period and measure its pace.
Social media has infinite potential and can be used differently for different types of businesses. Experiment and explore the possibility of social media and leverage it to expand your business.
If you have any questions or would like to add on to the above points, do leave a comment below and let us know.