What is social media marketing? It’s promoting your brand on social media platforms. What’s social media? In a nutshell, it’s any place on the internet where people can interact. CrunchyMoms.com is a social media platform because you can leave a comment at the end of this article. Of course, everyone is familiar with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and various other digital gathering places on the ‘net.
Why should you promote your brand on social media? Well, to start, it’s the most affordable form of advertising for a small business owner. The trade-off is time. It will take time to grow your brand’s presence on social media, and contrary to popular opinion, the inherent quality of the brand has little to do with its success on social media. Rather, success has everything to do with the exposure of your brand.
Now, I’m not saying you should sell crappy products. Yes, a bad reputation will eventually catch up with you, especially on the internet. But, I am saying that you should actively and regularly promote your brand on social media. Why? Refer to my “Get Over your Marketing Fears” article.
Social media is based on sharing. When people like, share, and comment on a product, they are essentially “recommending” it. Those of us who have taken marketing or advertising courses know that word-of-mouth is the best way to gain loyal new customers.
Where to start? The first thing to consider is where you are already an active member of a social media community. These are the places where people “know” you and trust you already. Maybe you already belong to some mothering communities. You may even have a little clout because you’re an expert on a certain crunchy topic. These places may be a good place to start talking about your brand.
Next, consider who needs your product or service. Most of you will be marketing to fellow parents, so we’re going to use this as our example. Most “family” purchasing decisions are made by moms. This tells us you probably are marketing to women of childbearing age (18-40). This is good information to note and research. Smaller, niche communities are a great place to start.
You should also belong to at least one of the bigger social media platforms. I’d suggest using one that’s already familiar to you, so it’s easy to implement and share a business page there.
Once you’re established on at least a couple of social media sites, it’s time to get started promoting. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Post every single day, multiple times per day. Trying different types of posts and different times of day will reach the largest audience.
- Post a variety of items, from pictures and graphics, videos, links to helpful information, links to your own website or sales, offers, promotions, coupons, and status updates. Keep it interesting.
- People are more likely to share certain types of information on certain types of platforms. For example, Facebook users tend to share pictures and “fun” items while Twitter users like to share informational links. Do your research and know your users.
- Use applications. These are so valuable. If your page has an events feature, be sure to list your events and invite people to RSVP. Always make sure your events include where, when, and what is happening. If you can include games or contests, these really help get people engaged with your page.
- Use analytics. Many of the larger social media platforms offer analytics for business pages. This will give you an idea of who is looking at and sharing your content. After a while, you can focus on what is working, and throw out the strategies that aren’t.
- Only post the truth about your product or service. Don’t promise things you can’t deliver.
- Monitor your social media pages for comments. Thank customers for their shares, likes, and recommendations. Answer questions within 24 hours. Respond immediately and compassionately to complaints, and take the conversation to private messaging as soon as possible.
- You may encounter “trolls.” These are people who have nothing better to do than cause trouble on your page. Offer to field their complaint via private message and ignore any further comments, as this is only reinforcing their actions.
- Follow the rules. The worst thing is to spend tons of time and energy building a following on social media, only to lose your page due to a rule infraction. Read the guidelines and adhere to them! Some social media sites don’t allow brand promotion at all. Be sure to ask a moderator if the rules aren’t clear.
- If you’re creating your own content, be sure it’s quality. Use excellent spelling, grammar, and high quality graphics or photos.
- Be aware of copyright laws. Don’t use photos or content that belongs to someone else unless you have their permission. Be sure to credit the author or creator for their work.
- Remember it takes time to build a following on social media. Success doesn’t happen overnight to a new brand. It can take years to become established. Don’t give up, because it does pay off.
- Go to your customers. Don’t wait for them to come to you. “Like” the bigger competition’s pages and get involved there. Answer their customers’ questions and get involved in conversations using your brand’s identity. This helps establish yourself and brand as an expert in the field, and you may win some new fans.
- Always post links that connect to your main website. Make these easy for visitors to find, and attach the link to everything possible.