Till recently I thought social networks were useless; especially for business. I couldn’t understand their popularity, their success. I decided to dig deeper the question: if so many people were interested in it, there might be a reason. I read, watched videos and carefully listened to all tips and precious information on business technics and trends given by James Barisic (@jamesmb – https://fr.linkedin.com/in/jamesbarisic ) – social media specialist at GEM. He gave the taste for social networks. Things became clearer.
It was then obvious: Whatever your opinion is about social networks, THEY are crucial for business. They are very powerful tools for any business – small, medium and large – to promote their brand online. Social networks are free to use but also offer paid advertising options to gain even more audience for those who want to promote their brand even more. But it is not because all businesses should be on social networks that you should be on all social networks. You have to choose the one(s) that are relevant to your business and nurture it (them) regularly with the right content.
Familiarize yourself with the different social networks
Before choosing the right social network(s), thinking about content marketing and building up your social strategy, you first have to know these social networks; you have to know how they run, know perfectly the audience you want to reach to select the most adapted one and see how your business could benefit from these different networks.
To help you in this selection, we chose and analysed 3 of the most famous social networks for business (1). This information should help you to better know these platforms and thus should ease your task to select the ones that are the most adapted to your business.
Facebook – the social network to transmit emotions and target your audience
Facebook is the undisputed leader of social networks – in terms of number of users and time spent on its site and its mobile applications.
Facebook brings together all age groups and population categories, making it an extraordinary marketing database.
With its advertising program able to target users according to many criteria, Facebook offers a powerful tool to promote your company, your brand, your products, your applications and content.
Twitter – the social network to reach influencers
Twitter is a major social network focused on real-time information and having a stream of publications limited to 140 characters. Twitter is as such an ideal platform to reach opinion leaders and is a network adapted to the relationship between consumers and brands (hot news, latest trends …).
Unlike Facebook, rather centred on the close network of friends, Twitter allows virtually to follow and subscribe to the news feed of any user: friend, colleague, customer, personality, brand…
Twitter is an extremely viral(2) media through the feature “Retweet” that allows to republish information from one wall to another. Advertising on Twitter can target users very precisely. Thanks to its statistical tools, it is possible to analyse the impact of all your actions on this network.
Linkedin – the social network to reach businesses
Linkedin – world leader in professional social networks – is a network focused on business contacts and skills. It is as such an exceptional database for prospecting and targeting Linkedin profiles based on their skills and areas of activity.
LinkedIn now has a wall like Facebook allows all users to post and relay their blog posts or the result of their sector of activity. Linkedin offers business pages to speak on behalf of your company or your brand. Groups allow you to create communities around specific topics.
Linkedin has its advertising program: Display, targeted emails and sponsored posts. Through its statistical tools, it is possible to analyse the success of your publications and your advertisements.
Tips to market with social networks
As discussed previously, now that one has chosen your social networks, building a social media marketing plan is essential. Considering keyword research and brainstorming content ideas that will interest your target audience are mandatory. But to ensure your success make sure you will cover all the hereafter topics – no matter you intend or not to use paid advertising options.
Get to know your audience
To be most effective on social networks, it is very important to perfectly know your audience. The use of “personas” (3) can be very useful. Before communicating anything, you need to know precisely who you are addressing. This particularly determines the tone and content
Don’t forget that content is king
Once the audience is identified it has to be nurtured in content. But not just any. You have to create valuable information customers will find interesting. Create a variety of content by implementing images, videos, and infographics in addition to classic text-based content. Don’t hesitate to also use links to outside articles that would help you gain followers and fans. Linking to outside sources improves trust and reliability, and you may even get some links in return.
Your publications on social networks have to be of enough interest to the customers, so that they will want to come and visit you on-line regularly to check your latest publications.
Have a consistent brand image
Before thinking about publishing anything, make sure your business looks the same across the variety of the social networks. The social networks have all a different layout, but your business’ core identity should stay consistent: profile, bio, “look & feel”. Choose one brand voice, define one editorial strategy and stick to them both: it is very important that with quick glance, a short reading any customer understands that he is dealing with one of your publications.
Identify the right blogs or create your own. There are blogs, but also forums and groups. Select the ones that are the most appropriate for promoting your business. Make sure you join or engage the conversation. Look for the influencers and build relationships with them. One should never forget that behind all these platforms there are humans, and humans need communication, real one. So talk true on social networks and don’t be afraid to be human.
Track and learn from your Competitors
You have to know your competitors and follow them. By analysing what they are doing on social networks, it could provide you with valuable data about keywords research, the best links dedicated to your industry and other social media marketing tips. You have to take the most of what your competitors are doing in term of social media marketing. If a technique seems to be working for them, then you just should do the same, but even better.
Track data and measure your success
Through the various statistical tools available today (Google analytics but also statistical tools specific to each social network), you have the opportunity to easily measure and determine which strategies are better off abandoned. Similarly it will be easy to monitor the success of your social media marketing campaigns. By cons not forget to implement the different tracking tags necessary to generate the data essential to create statistics.
Towards success on social networks
You now have in hands all elements to start and succeed with social networks marketing. It is then up to you to complete or not the free services of each social network with their paid advertising options.
Nevertheless, one thing needs to be pointed out: social networks marketing takes time!
So the question you should now ask yourself: do you have enough time to do all these things properly? As mentioned the quality of the publications on social networks is important, but also the consistency and the regularity. If you have time but no budget, then no issue and do it yourself.
But if you don’t have time, you’ll have to consider paying someone to do it. One thing should be kept in mind: it is not because someone will take care of your social networks accounts that it won’t take you time. Be aware of that, and make sure you will have enough time dedicated for that part of marketing. Otherwise it could be a waste of time … and money!
(1) This selection and analysis is freely based on the social networks presentation guides provided by Webmarketing Conseil http://www.webmarketing-conseil.fr/guides/
(2) Viral: “go viral” – used in reference to Internet content which can be passed through electronic mail and social networking sites (Facebook, etc.): an image, video, or link that spreads rapidly through a population by being frequently shared with a number of individuals has ‘gone viral’. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=go+viral
(2) Personas: In user-centered design and marketing, personas are fictional characters created to represent the different user types that might use a site, brand, or product in a similar way. Marketers may use personas together with market segmentation, where the qualitative personas are constructed to be representative of specific segments. The term persona is used widely in online and technology applications as well as in advertising, where other terms such as pen portraits may also be used. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persona_(user_experience)