Are you a complete beginner when it comes to social media marketing? Are you looking for some guidelines on how to get started? Well, you’ve come to the right place!
The great thing about social media marketing is that it’s an ongoing conversation you can join anytime. So, why not join now? We know you’ll be welcome.
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If you try and do too much too soon, you will be overwhelmed. Besides, there’s no need to jump headfirst into the endless list of social media networks. Choose one or even two. Each one will have its learning curve, but they’re not difficult to understand, and it won’t be long before you grasp how it works.
The question is: Which social media networks suit your requirements the most? And the answer is – The ones where your customers are. To find out where your customers are, you can visit their websites, do some digging around to see what you can find, or just do it the easy way and ask them!
Do Your Research to Find Out Where People Are Connecting
Define a few companies in your space, actively marketing online, and then go to their sites. Do they have a blog? If yes, check the number of times a post is shared to find the most active channel.
Are they using social media icons? Find the Facebook (f), Google+ (g+), LinkedIn (in), Pinterest (P), Twitter (bird logo), and Instagram (camera logo) icons. Are their followers more active on one particular social channel; is there a lot of activity going on, or does it all look a bit old and tired?
Your goal is to be wherever the conversations are happening. This research lets you quickly discover what’s going on and where. Join the crowd. You want to get involved with these networks – the places where the market and your competitors are connecting.
Study the Activity of Influencers
An industry influencer in social media marketing is usually a writer or publisher, so watch their social media activities. In addition to customers and competitors, which authors, bloggers, and websites have the most authority in your industry?
Because the experts in your industry will probably have well-established audiences, this will assist you in making clever choices and offer great examples of engaging on various media sites. It could very well be that your industry influencers are not just blogging, tweeting, or Facebooking – they could also be active with podcasting and creating video content.
Create a Professional but Personable Profile
With all the social media networks, you are invited to create a personal profile. You could certainly provide just the basic information, but your success will be sabotaged if you do this. Take this very seriously and do your best to fully complete your profile.
Across the social media marketing site, the profile rules vary considerably. There’s Twitter, where you only get a meager 160 characters to work with, and LinkedIn, where you have carte blanche to post any media you want, including adding a detailed bio.
The most important aspect of your profile is that you make it personable but professional. Try not to big-note yourself too much – be confident but humble in your description. Remember that your profile determines whether others will be interested in following you, so be interesting – and authentic.
While creating your profiles, you should include keywords relevant to your specific industry, enabling visitors to find you via a search. You will often see the hashtag symbol # before keywords. Whenever possible, include links to your page.
The thing to remember with your profile photo is that people want to connect with you – not your logo. Nor your dog, your garden, or your family photo! Remember that this is ‘social’ media, so your online profile is a social part of your page. Use a nice close-up headshot of you looking into the camera, smiling. So many people waste a great opportunity to introduce themselves by uploading photos of landscapes, their pets, or their children.
Upload Background Images and Headers
You’ll notice that the options for backgrounds and headers vary greatly across different media. It does seem, though, that most social networks have copied Facebook by offering a space where an additional image can be uploaded to act as a Cover Photo or page header. In addition, on Twitter, you can customize your page’s background.
Your profile page will be much more welcoming if you put some careful thought into your cover photo. You may decide to show your workspace or your city. Marketers will often use graphics copied from their website or something representing their brand, which is quite a good idea. Don’t neglect your header image because you don’t want a generic one automatically put there – this would insinuate that you just don’t care.
Learn the Ropes of Your Network
Now you must learn how the network you’ve chosen works. They all have a lot in common, but there are significant differences. Take some time to understand how it all works by downloading a guide or eBook, asking a friend for help, and searching for blogs that offer expert guidance.
Now Start Following People
Your social media engagement starts by following others whose updates appear in your feed once you’ve signed. Don’t worry too much about this initially: you can unfollow people later on and always revise your initial decisions. So, don’t worry, and just start following people.
How do you know who to follow? Start simply by following people you know, including current customers. You can do a keyword search on each network to find industry influencers or people with current interests. Most networks provide an idea of the people you may be interested in following, and this will be based on your follow list and your profile. It won’t be long before people start following you, so follow them back!
Take a Step Back, and Watch
It’s a good idea to step back at the beginning and note how others interact and behave on your social network. Of course, it will be very tempting to start posting as soon as you join, but it is very good advice to just wait until you pick up on the vibes of the network. This way, you’ll work out the etiquette and best practices. You’ll learn a lot from standing on the sidelines and watching and know when you’re ready to start posting.
Share Good Content
The quickest and best way to build social media marketing relationships is to share great content – content you enjoy, whether it be educational, funny, motivational – whatever. People will appreciate it when you share their images, blog posts, videos, etc., and will often return the favor. Social media marketing is such a reciprocal way of engaging with people. Be thoughtful when sharing, and make it a big part of your activity on social media.
Endorse Other Users’ Updates
Perhaps endorsing other users’ updates is less important than sharing, but it’s still a good thing to do, and it doesn’t go unnoticed. And, of course, it’s very easy to do – all it takes is just a click!
The most popular or well-known endorsement is the ‘Like’ on Facebook: a kind of ‘thumbs up’ gesture. Other networks have their types of endorsements, like a ‘+’ on Google+, a ‘favorite’ on Twitter, and a ‘like’ on LinkedIn.
Don’t endorse everything you see; just the posts you like and believe are worthy of endorsement.
Comments on Articles and Updates
Remember that social media is all about the conversation, so even though endorsing and sharing are thoughtful, your commentary is better. Of course, when your network has grown, you may not have time to comment on every update, but for now, your commenting means you should express your opinion. Disagree if you wish, agree, answer the question, ask a question, offer links, cite examples, and say thank you. Like any conversation, you get out of it what you put into it. Plus it’s really good fun, so enjoy yourself.
Try Joining a Group, or Groups
These social media networks have millions of members, so if you choose, you can interact with like-minded users by joining or creating more focused communities, groups, chats, etc. They’re worth trying, so don’t hesitate to join in.
Most social media platforms provide opportunities to create or join special interest groups. Some of the more valuable exchanges happen within groups, and because of all the participants, opportunities are always presented.
It’s All About Consistency
You must consistently handle your social media marketing, so you must budget time accordingly. The time you set aside depends on you, but remember that you should interact daily if you want to be taken seriously. Of course, you can always have a day off, a weekend, or even a much-needed break, but the general point is that you won’t be taken seriously if you check in now and then on a casual basis.
Don’t Pitch Your Products or Services
You can always buy advertising on social media: most of the networks offer advertising options, and many people will attest to just how effective it can be. However, your followers won’t put up with relentless sales pitches. If you continue trying to ‘sell’ to your fans, they’ll be put off and leave.
Of course, social media is used for marketing. Still, the trick is to use a softer approach: you could promote a special offer, an event, a new product, or a sale – it’s all acceptable, but keep it as if you were offering a friendly invitation. It’s a very fine line with this kind of marketing, so you must set the perfect balance. Make your updates interesting, on-topic, and valuable.
With social media, it’s much more effective, and your contributions will be welcomed if you try and teach, help, and advise people.
Tell People Where You Are
You probably already notice social media icons everywhere while surfing the web, and that’s how it should be. Now that you’re participating in social media, you must take every opportunity to inform people where you can be found, so add these icons to your own site.
You can showcase links to your social sites by including icons across all avenues, such as – your website, email signature, business cards, newsletters, and other social media sites.
Just Be Yourself
Write as you speak on social media marketing– just be yourself. Your presence online is not a veil; you‘ll attract the people you’re trying to connect with if you let your authentic self show. You’ll make great connections and, more importantly, achieve what you set out to do – build relationships.
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