It’s only natural for entrepreneurs, either young or even experienced ones, to look for new ways to promote their businesses. Since there are free and paid ways to do that, the first category is a more preferred choice. In addition, paid does not always mean better. Luckily, social media marketing falls into the free group. But just like any marketing channel, it should be used right. These 10 tips might really help young entrepreneurs succeed in the overcrowded and ever-changing social media environment.
1. Design Matters
Have you heard it too that social media page can actually become a good alternative to a website? In some cases, it actually makes sense. Then the importance of a nice visual look of your pages is not something to disregard. For Facebook, you will have to design a stunning cover page that serves as a banner on your website. For Twitter, you will need a large background image and a cover photo. You will also need your logo everywhere.
Learn all the size specifications for each photo you will need to create for each social media website. Please also bear in mind that some areas of your cover photo might get darkened when placed on the website and the major part of your background images might be hidden. Remember about that when designing your banners, logos, or background images for social media – you need to make sure you will not put some key information where users won’t see it.
2. Publish Diverse Content
Social media environment is diverse. You cannot feed your followers with blog posts only and expect them to interact. Create infographics, polls, videos, quizzes, publish creative images with inspirational quotations, write about the freshest news in your industry, recommend things that professionals in your niche might find useful, ask for opinions. It will give you increased flexibility in deciding what to post. Findings suggest that videos and infographics are the most shared types of content in social media. My advice is to create a plan of your publications where you will divide them by days.
Content diversity will also be a good chance to fit the preferences of different groups of users – some of them love reading, while some would rather watch some video tutorials or reviews to learn something new. But don’t concentrate on educational materials only – sometimes your followers will be happy to have some fun and get motivated for a day.
3. Add a Few Words to the Things You Publish
Whenever you publish a blog post, or infographics, video, or just share someone’s article, make an introduction that encourages your followers to open the post, leave comments, or give some answers. Give opinions about certain things and let them know you want to know their opinions too. Introductory descriptions make the posts more customized for social media environment and often tell the audiences what they are expected to do – share, comment, agree or disagree on certain statements, etc.
Just a sentence or two can make a huge difference into the way you invite everyone to have a look at what you’ve prepared for them. In addition, posts with custom descriptions look more attractive in timelines and have more chances to attract attention. If it’s an infographics, presentation, or video that you are going to share, give a short review of what it’s about.
4. Reply to Comments and Messages Promptly
It’s statistically proven that customers are now more willing to use social media as a preferred customer support option. They find it more convenient and also believe that they will get a faster response. You will only benefit if you meet their expectations. The same is true about comments. Average social media users browse through hundreds of new posts daily and often leave comments to those they like the most.
If anyone comments your post, you’d better reply within minutes while they are still focused on it. Make sure you can see immediate pop-up notifications with any feedback your posts receive. Users will appreciate that you are available for them at any time. If you have nothing to say in response to their comments, just Like what they’ve written – they will find it positive to feel there is someone over there who does not just publish updates daily, but also cares about saying “Thank you”.
5. Customize Your Content for Each Platform Separately
No matter how many social media platforms you choose for promoting your brand, they are never the same. Some platforms are more focused on images than text and won’t thus need long descriptions (Pinterest and Instagram). It’s perfect for adding new design samples your company has worked on.
Some platforms are more business oriented, so funny stories will most probably be irrelevant there (LinkedIn). Or there are platforms that limit you in terms of characters per post (Twitter). Yet, there are platforms that give you more flexibility in styles, content types, and lengths (Facebook and Google+). You always need to think of what audience type you are referring to in each platform, what should be the main focus of your post, and whether your post will be relevant there at all.
If you see the post you are preparing won’t be suitable for LinkedIn, you’d better transform it completely or publish elsewhere. Don’t try to find a one-size-fits-all formula to create posts that will be tailored to each social media community. Take some time to customize your posts.
6. Give Preference to Informative Content over Advertising
As a young entrepreneur, you might be tempted to inform everyone about your business and sell your products or services to them immediately. But a smart entrepreneur knows that before any sale, you first need to build trust. It’s possible to do that through sharing useful and informative content (both written and visual) or helping them stay motivated and relaxed.
Experts recommend publishing 85% of non-promotional posts and only 15% of promotional posts. The second category will include the announcements of new products, new services, sales and discounts, special offers, etc. Your followers will not be fond of reading about your business every day. They will rather be interested in some industry news, modern trends, and how-to tips.
Make sure the intervals between your promotional posts are sufficient and you don’t look too annoying in the eyes of your followers. Stats show that those pages where informative content prevails over promotional have 70% more exposure and fans are much more willing to join and follow such pages.
7. Use Analytics to Measure Your Results
Just like any marketing strategy, social media campaigns need to be measured and the results need to be analyzed in detail. Via social media analytics, you will be able to compare the exposure and reach of posts published at a different time of the day as well as see which types of content your audience enjoys the most.
It is also possible to analyze the exposure by countries, genders, and age. Those findings will be extremely helpful for improving your social media marketing tactics, changing the time and frequency of your publications, and experimenting with the style of your posts.
If you see that some posts just don’t work with your followers, publish them less frequently. Concentrate on those that get more views, more shares, more comments, and more likes.
8. Choose Your Publication Time and Frequency
Social media marketing requires consistency. You need to figure out which time of the day works the best for your followers when they are the most likely to react to your posts and how frequently you need to publish your updates not to look annoying.
If you know that your followers are more willing to look through their timeline in the morning, make sure you manage to publish your news before they turn on their computers or take their smartphones in hands. For some niches, one post per day is fine while for others the schedule should be more frequent.
Also, bear in mind that for Twitter, even 5 or 10 posts a day is a norm as the timeline is moving too fast. It’s Ok to repeat posts in Twitter. But you’d better avoid repeating posts in other social media platforms.
9. Encourage Sharing – Offer Gifts
There are a few ways to encourage users to share your posts. It can be truly valuable content that they want their friends to find too or these can be some games or puzzles they would like others to solve. Another effective way to get your posts shared is to organize quests or quizzes where the participants will be able to win prizes. If they see they can get something for free, they will gladly share the post with their friends and the number of your followers will quickly rise.
The conditions of your quiz may vary – it can be just liking a page and sharing the post or publishing the best photos from the mountains or some other photos and asking other participants to vote. Even some small gifts can give your followers an incentive to participate in a quiz and share it with others.
10. Create Interaction and Let Users Feel the Value of Their Voice
Users should feel their comment or even their like can make a difference. Let’s say, you’ve created and shared a tutorial about working with text in Adobe Photoshop. Ask your followers to write in the comments what topics they would like you to cover in the next tutorial. If they like what you’ve shared now, they will be willing to ask for more, and if they can choose a topic, they will adore it. Or consider this example: you create a post where you show two modern technologies that are both popular today. Just tell your followers that if the number of likes is odd, technology #1 wins and if the number of likes is even – technology #2 wins. This battle can go on for long – it’s fun for addicted technology adopters and rewarding for you.
Time to Conclude
With social media, it has never been easy enough. Trends and tactics change on a regular basis, users look for innovations, and the environment gets really competitive. Yet, it is crucial for every entrepreneur to understand how things work here and how businesses should behave there. Whether for self-growth or business promotion purposes, you are now better aware of the ways to engage users in the social media environment and make your number of followers grow. What other tactics do you use and are there any that brought you some really stunning results?
Kevin Nelson started his career as a research analyst and has changed the sphere of activity to writing services and content marketing. Except writing, he spends a lot of time reading psychology and management literature searching for the keystones of motivation ideas.