When managing a fledgling business or an emerging non-profit, social media can sometimes seem like one of many balls you are juggling. Wondering if you are getting it right?  Here are a handful of smart tips for businesses just like yours.

In order to know if your social media efforts are successful, a business or non-profit should first define their marketing goals and their target audience. These two factors help you to shape your social media strategy and give you a clear roadmap for the activities you want to take part in –and the ones you want to avoid. If you you have gotten caught up doing busy work on your social media channels, and aren’t working toward an end goal, then stop for a minute and think about the following three questions.

  1. Who is my target audience, and what social platforms do they spend time on?  Consider your ideal customer and determine where they are hanging out socially.
  2. What are my goals for marketing?  One organization’s primary goal might be growing awareness of their cause, while another’s might be to find new customers and draw them to your store, while a third might be to create loyalty among existing clients.
  3. How can social media help to reach my marketing goals? Asking this question allows you to intentionally use the power of social media for your benefit.

 

Provide value, don’t be ‘just another commercial’.  Other than LinkedIn, users are on social media primarily to connect with friends and family or to be entertained, so don’t mistake social media for a giant billboard, and make your business posts all about you you you. Brainstorm creative ways that you can connect to your fans in an authentic way, provide value or even entertainment to your target audience and deliver that in a consistent, thoughtful way. Best practices dictate that your posts provide some kind of value 80% of the time, which only leaves a mere 20% for self-promotion.  So share other people’s info, not just your own, and position your business profile as a resource to your fans, not just another commercial. Great ways to do this are providing lesser-known tips that have to do with your products or service, a Q&A post where you offer common questions and invite more, or a behind the scenes look at your business and what makes you unique. Doing these types of activities help to humanize your brand, which helps foster customer trust and loyalty.

Consider the ocean of opportunity that is LinkedIn. With over 330 million users, and two new users every second, this social platform allows you to reach a professionally-minded audience with your company’s message. This is not just an online holding spot for resumes. It’s a platform that allows you to find qualified sales leads, connect with leaders and influencers, and position yourself as an authentic thought leader in your industry. In addition, if you are a nonprofit, this can be a wonderful way to network and grow awareness of your organization. So as you determine which networks to focus on, keep LinkedIn on the short list.

Be human!  (Sounds funny to say, we know!) Social media appeals to most people because it allows us to connect – with those we care about and those we want to get to know better. Take advantage of this mindset by telling your company story in an engaging way. Determine how you want to be perceived and be sure your posts are framed in that way of talking. Some brands choose to sign their comments with the name of the person who wrote it, to offer a sneak peek into the people behind the brand page. Share a staff birthday or milestone so that your fans can see that your company is made up of real people.  Once they see that, there is opportunity for them to relate to you, like you, trust you and …. possibly buy from you. As we all know, we buy from people we know, like and trust.


Leila Ansart is a social media consultant who is passionate about helping business owners and professionals use social media to accomplish their business goals. She offers social media strategy, training and community management, as well as teaching popular classes on how to use LinkedIn effectively for networking and lead generation. Please follow her at www.facebook.com/IntuitiveMarketing and www.LinkedIn.com/in/LeilaAnsart, and view additional info at her website www.IntuitiveMarketingGrp.com.