Social media platforms have grown exponentially in the 21st century. With the advancements in technology, it has become particularly simple to communicate with a large audience no matter where you are in the world. What originally started out as a social platform for friends and families has become much more.
Many businesses create business pages on these social media platforms to market themselves. For example, Facebook has over 1 billion daily users making it an effective tool for companies to communicate to existing clients and to attract new ones.
There are a number of different platforms, all of which have different marketing and PR techniques to using them but in this short blog I will try to highlight some of the key areas in which you, and your business, can benefit from implementing.
Understanding Social Media
At the most basic level, social media is about the following:
First of all, you need to understand your audience. Who are they? What average age are they? Why are “liking” or “following” you? When do they engage or read your content? How are they engaging?
By understanding some of these fundamentals you will be able to craft your story into content the user wants to read. By creating such content you can then spark conversations with your audience and thus build relationships. This is a very basic breakdown of how social media marketing and PR occurs but it is important. At the end of the day, you are talking to humans only through a device.
Understanding Your Audience
Arguable the most important step in the process is understanding who you are communicating with. You need to be able to relate to the public and give them what they want- they are your customers. By knowing items such as, age, gender, types of content they interact with most, and what time the highest levels of engagement occur you can start to cater your content for your audience.
The reason these points are important is that you do not want to deliver a message they are not interesting in reading. For example, an elderly audience probably don’t want to read about the latest rap music. A younger audience probably doesn’t want to read about next weeks functions at the community centre. While these are outrageously generic I hope the point is made.
In regards to what content receives the most interaction, you can sculpt this so that, once again, you give they audience what they want but, all the while, telling your story. For example, most of the business I have worked with have shown that the posts that receive the most attention are those accompanied by an image. Like human version of a magpie, the audience are drawn towards the shiny and bright posts and not those that are endless streams of text.
Crafting Your Content
Now you must deliver your content in an effective matter. We know our audience, we know what they are looking for, and now we must sell our story to them in the most entertaining way possible. I have already touched upon the use of images. It is great to have visual references to the points you are making. For example, if a cake designer creates a masterpiece then they do not simple talk about it, they post an image of the final product too. This immediately attracts the attention of the user and potentially encourages them to enquire further about your work.
When writing any post it is important not to beat around the bush. How many times have you clicked on a post and seen endless text and then immediately clicked off it. I know I have – numerous times. The most successful businesses on social media say it how it is – straight to the point. The other method is to provide a small amount of text with a link to a blog, or an article, which holds more information – this is an excellent way to increase website traffic. This is also why Twitter is so popular due to the 140 character limit. Short and sweet.
There are further techniques but this should give you an insight on how to cater for your audience.
Conversations on Social Media
When you post an item on social media, often users will have feedback/questions/queries. Social media has become an excellent PR tool as the responses are generally quite quick. What this does is shows your willingness to cater for the audience and also helps to build a relationship with them.
What is important is to find the balance between objectivity and advocacy. What this means is sell your story, by all means, but do not become bias blind. There is a time to preach your story and there is a time to admit when you are wrong. Your audience will have far more respect for you if you reply to negatives comments with honest answers. It may not seem like it at first, but it is true. Again, just think of it in a real life scenario face-to-face.
By interacting with the audience you show that, at the end of the day, you are thinking of them.
By creating relationships with your clients you will build up a loyal fan base. These are the people who will continually sing your praise, share your content and recommend your services by word of mouth. By complying to the rough outline I have given you, you will have the opportunity to show your audience that you are a reliable, honest and trustworthy business who, at the end of the day, looks to give the best service possible.
I hope this is of some help. The core social media features are free so there is no reason why you cannot start today! Further promotional features can be paid for but you can start with the fundamentals and build your way up.