Social media has become a big aspect of businesses large and small. While in-person interactions remain important, online interactions are now more than ever vital to keeping and increasing real-life followings.
While social media management is a skill that many possess on a personal level, it is more difficult and demanding to utilize for business, requiring dedication, patience, and the right plan.
Statistics show that in 2013, 80 percent of Facebook users prefer to connect with brands on Facebook, with 90 percent of small businesses networking online – which means there is a lot of competition, a lot of demand, and little room for error.
This is how small businesses are beating their competitors everyday — and how you can do the same.
1. Claim your space.
You may not use or need 10 different social media platforms, but it is important to claim them anyway if only to reserve your url or domain name. Once you have reserved your name on each, you might choose to focus on one or two at first so as not to spread too thin.
You’ll be able to expand on the other websites when you’re ready. And when you are, you won’t have to fight anybody for stealing your name.
2. Establish a voice.
When your business posts, it shouldn’t sound like spam; a spam-like vibe it will alienate users rather than draw them in. This is why it’s important to establish a voice – and a distinct one at that.
Think about the identity of your business, and make sure that you cultivate a personality that comes across consistently and represents your brand. Customers or users should be able to identify you by your voice, and be drawn into the conversation. Which leads us to…
3. Interact with customers.
Social media is adequately named, equal part social, equal part media. The purpose of major social media platforms are to encourage social interactions between people and their friends, and likewise, businesses with their customers, celebrities with fans, and companies with users.
Twitter would be utterly impractical if users ignored the retweeting and reply functions. Interacting with users builds the connection between business and consumer; involving them in every aspect possible and responding to their concerns will show them that their role in your success is a huge one.
4. Be consistent and trustworthy.
Establishing a consistent posting method will provide your business the right balance and timing. Find out what times users are most likely to respond, what they are most likely to respond to, and what type of posting people seem receptive to, and from there you can plan a way to get the best results regularly.
5. Track Results
In order to test how effective your strategy, it is important to track the result of your efforts to understand what you are doing right, where you make mistakes, and what needs to be changed or improved.
There are a number of websites and tools that are great for tracking outcomes. Google Analytics is a dynamic tool that breaks down your website’s user engagement, social interaction, and more in order to get a feel for what drives traffic, and what users respond to best.