Build your community
Engaging with audiences on social media is essential to developing a loyal following.
People are spending more time than ever browsing social media so now is the time to connect with new and existing customers.
It’s not about selling to them, your content should support them and bring elements of humour, learning and feel good to their newsfeeds.
Understand your audience
Start by defining who you want to target, in order to focus your marketing efforts – remember you can’t engage with everyone.
Getting to know your audience is key, once you know what they like and respond to on social media, you’ll be able to create content which they connect and engage with.
Start by looking at your industry peers to get a feel for what’s popular and search relevant hashtags each week. E.g. if you’re a cafe search out hashtags like #brunch to see what’s current.
Instagram and Twitter are simple and effective ways to be heard and a Facebook business page is also easy to set up.
Blogging, if done well, is also a powerful way to engage with your audience, but the content must be meaningful, digestible and most importantly, relevant to them! Keep it brief and aim to educate and inspire your readers.
Provide Value & Share Your Expertise
The key to building your business on social media is to provide genuine value to your audience and share your expertise. Normal advertising and hard selling will only put people off, so you need to create content that your audience will find useful and relevant.
Tell them something they didn’t know. Show them something they’ve not seen before. Give them tips, insight and advice. Or even something that just makes them laugh. People like to see video, hear podcasts and read useful articles, so don’t be afraid to try different types of media. Think about the kind of content you’d appreciate seeing if you were your own follower, and start there.
Create a Content Calendar
Managing messages across multiple channels can feel overwhelming, so it’s important to create a content calendar. This will enable you to plan your messages in advance and ensure you’re sharing different types of messaging.
You can create a calendar using a free online tool like Trello, or even Microsoft Excel, ensuring you include all your messages, plus any relevant hashtags and images. Consider the time of day you aim to post, early mornings are great to capture business audiences and evenings and weekends to engage with consumers.
Social media doesn’t need to be labour intensive. Once you’ve set some time aside to write your content and prepare any videos or images, you can also schedule your Facebook posts in advance (click ‘Publishing Tools’ at the top of your page) and use an app like Tweetdeck to schedule your Twitter posts.
As with any marketing activity, it’s important to measure the success of any social media marketing, even if it’s free (you’re investing your time in it after all). Therefore, take a look at your analytics to gauge the content that’s popular, who your audience is and how your following is growing. You may be surprised at the findings and can then use them to finesse your content and drive greater engagement and brand visibility.