Gone are the days when social media was used solely for connecting friends and family. Social media has now become the norm for all types of businesses to market and sell their brand. Yet even in the current social media climate, businesses still struggle to fully use online mediums successfully.
As a founder and CEO of two successful online businesses, I have first-hand experience of what works (and what doesn’t) in the social media business world. My experiences and mistakes can help both young entrepreneurs and well-established brands alike create and cultivate their successful online businesses.
Understand Your Audience
As I planned my social media strategy, one of the first lessons I learned was how important it is to understand your audience. The more I knew about my audience’s age, occupation, motivations and worldviews, the more I was able to create and time posts that resonated with them. And the questions I find useful to ask myself as I engage with my social accounts are: “In what ways am I helping my audiences? How does my product improve the lives of my audience?”
Remember that social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, aren’t simply broadcast media. They are engagement media, which means they are also listening networks. I use several methods to listen to my audiences, including Google analytics and staying on top of trending hashtags and social mentions. I also regularly conduct YouTube and Twitter searches. I have found that these tools help me understand what my readers are interested in and predict what content may spark their imagination.
Understand Your Social Media Platforms
I have also learned that I need to tailor my social media strategies according to the social channel I am using. Because each social media platform has its own unique traits, your content and strategy may work for one platform and not another. For example, I experimented using image-heavy content on all of my social media channels. While images were successful on Instagram and YouTube, they were less successful on Twitter.
By way of illustration, on one of my sites, we posted this following fact on all of our media accounts: “On average, cats spend two-thirds of every day sleeping. That means a nine-year-old cat has been awake for only three years of its life.” Although we posted the fact on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the same image, it received more likes and shares on Facebook and Instagram than it did on Twitter. This isn’t to say that you should never use an image on Twitter. Once again, listen to your audience. If you think an image will help connect you with your audience on Twitter, then use an image.
Understand Post Timing And Frequency
Along with knowing your audience and the dynamics of social media platforms, a successful business will know when to post. I have found that even high-quality messages posted at the wrong times will go nowhere. In contrast, a high quality-quality message posted at the right time can lead to more shares and likes. For example, I created very high-quality Pinterest posts, but I haphazardly posted them. The result was a mediocre Pinterest account.
Gone are the days when social media was used solely for connecting friends and family. Social media has now become the norm for all types of businesses to market and sell their brand. Yet even in the current social media climate, businesses still struggle to fully use online mediums successfully. As a founder and CEO of two successful online businesses, I have first-hand experience of what works (and what doesn’t) in the social media business world. My experiences and mistakes can help both young entrepreneurs and well-established brands alike create and cultivate their successful online businesses.
Frequency: 1-10 times per month
Do: Incorporate value-added benefits and paid advertising; demonstrate value through a mix of coupons, special offers and new product announcements; always post interesting, timely and relevant content; treat social media profiles as an alternative storefront
Don’t: Post mediocre content that will drive away customers
Social media allows business owners an opportunity to get in front of both current and potential customers. By tailoring your social media strategies across different platforms and timeframes, you can curate an engaging narrative that users will find useful and memorable.
The trick to finding success may actually be consciously deciding where not to be and why. Striking a balance between content, content platform and content frequency can be a bit daunting at first. But taking a look at your overall objective and developing a game plan can easily help you take your business to the next level online.