Written for EO by Danielle Canstello, a member of the content marketing team at Pyramid Analytics.
Social media is an ideal way to engage with customers and potential customers, and drive people to your business site.
But that doesn’t make it simple. There are plenty of potential potholes in social media marketing. Maybe your Facebook page is popular, but your Instagram account isn’t. Perhaps you’ve noticed that your competitors have been amassing followers at a higher rate than you.
Don’t despair! Follow these guidelines to improve your social media marketing efforts.
DO Set a Strategy
Just as in every other aspect of your business, you should begin by developing a strategy.
With social media, a sample strategy would include your goals, your target audience, your key messages and the amount of time and budget you or your team will spend on social media. It can even get right down to creating a schedule of posts, including the best time of day to post.
DON’T Spread Yourself Thin
With a strategy in place, you should be able to determine the best social media platforms for your business. It’s OK to start small. It’s not OK to set up a profile on every available social media platform, and then fail to post to those platforms consistently.
For instance, let’s say you sell cupcakes. This means your business marketing will be heavy with photographs and images of your beautiful, tasty cupcakes. In that case, it’s best to choose a media platform that showcases imagery—for example, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.
DON’T Forget About Follower Numbers
Part of your strategy must be boosting your follower base. That means actively working to increase the number of followers by promoting your social media presence and interesting content.
Also, ask customers to follow you on social and encourage your current followers to share or like your posts.
DON’T Focus Solely on Promotion
Obviously, part of the reason for being on social media is to advertise your products or services. But promotion should be only a small part of your content strategy.
It’s called social media for a reason. People don’t go to their chosen platform to look at advertising. Therefore, you need to be communicating with customers and potential customers. Engage with them. Post content that addresses their interests and needs, and doesn’t just shamelessly promote your business.
For example, thank a customer who posts on your page, post articles or infographics that interest your audience, or share humorous quotes that relate to your industry.
DO Post Regularly
How often you post can be a double-edged sword. Post too little and your followers will give up on you. Post too often and content becomes repetitive or low-value. Followers will become tired of hearing from you.
Instead, post high-value content consistently and regularly—and at the times that are best for engaging your audience.
DO Measure Results
Like any business strategy, you need to measure success toward your goals.
There are a variety of ways to do this with social media, including analyzing posts to see which ones led to engagement. Most importantly, use a systematic tracking system that provides hard numbers on your performance. You can then make adjustments and improvements to what isn’t working, and replicate what is working.
Google Analytics, for instance, can tell you which social media site drove what traffic to your site. It can tell you whether that traffic converted to goal completion—a sale, for instance.
Define KPIs and examine the demographics of your audience.
Define and Refine
Social media can be an important component of the marketing efforts of your business, but it has to be done well to be effective. Start by avoiding common social media mistakes, and then follow up with assessing and improving upon your efforts.
Danielle Canstello is a member of the content marketing team at Pyramid Analytics, which provides analytics and business intelligence software.