When Shari Raymond couldn’t find the perfect play kitchen for her one-year-old child, she was so frustrated she decided to set up a shop.
Raymond started her own company, manufacturing high-quality, wooden toys. To promote her business, she launched her Instagram account in 2017. Then she watched as her sales skyrocketed.
“To say our business was built on Instagram is not an overstatement. This is how so many of our customers found us,” said Raymond.
The good news is these kinds of results are within reach for businesses just like yours.
These days, 2.65 billion people use social media, according to Statista. And in addition to connecting with friends and family, they’re ready to find brands they love. This study found that 93% of people who follow businesses on Twitter will purchase from that company.
We’ve sorted through the best tactics for building your business through social media.
Have a Plan
In an ideal world, you’d hop on to social media, send a few posts, and build a following overnight.
But you know it’s going to require a bit more effort and planning.
Keep these pointers in mind when crafting your social media strategy:
- Competitive analysis – how do your competitors use social media?
- Conduct a social media audit – take stock of your current presence online
- Study the success stories of other business
Next, choose social media goals that grow your business.
Businesses are on social media to increase brand awareness, community engagement, traffic, and sales, according to Social Media Examiner’s 2019 Social Media Marketing Industry Report.
Of course, it’s tempting to chase follower counts. The problem is that tons of followers and loyal customers are not always one and the same.
Case in point:
Remember the story of the Instagram influencer with 2 million followers who couldn’t sell 36 t-shirts?
It comes down to measuring the right metrics that are tied to business results.
These are examples of what you might want to achieve with social media:
- Increase conversions, e.g., rise in sales
- Improve customer satisfaction, e.g., higher net promoter scores
- Grow community, e.g., better engagement
Know Your Audience
Once you’ve developed your social media strategy, you’ll have no problem connecting with potential customers online.
Your goal is to stand out in a sea of competitors.
Uncovering why your customers would engage with your content is critical, suggests this research paper published in the MIT Sloan Management Review.
How much is your customer willing to invest in their relationship with your social media channels?
Things to consider:
- Why should they share that post?
- How will they benefit from watching this video?
- What are they getting in exchange for their time?
Successful social media plans answer these questions.
The result? Putting the right content in front of the right people at the right time.
Here are a few strategies to achieve this goal.
Pick the Right Platforms
First, identify the right platforms. But don’t rely on a hunch, base your decisions on data, like platform demographics.
Let’s say you want to connect with mid-career professionals, you might find that LinkedIn is a more appropriate platform than SnapChat.
Useful data sources include:
Choose the Right Topics
To connect with your target audience, you need to engage them on topics they care about.
There are a few ways to get this right.
Use a tool like BuzzSumo to find popular topics. Let’s say I was creating content for sales technology, I can study the content angles and mediums with the highest engagement.
Now you know it’s not enough to rehash existing content. Fortunately, even if your industry is saturated, you have an opportunity to provide a unique perspective rooted in your experience.
Don’t Sell All the Time
In Purple Cow, Seth Godin recalls the story of a cereal company that created its marketing campaign before the product.
They made millions.
The old way of doing things was this:
“…if you’ve got money and you believe in your product…spend everything you’ve got to buy tons of national TV and print advertising,” writes Godin.
Today, ads are “uninvited interruptions”, notes Dave Evans in Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day. It’s common for customers to install ad blockers.
So what does that mean for your social media strategy?
To succeed in the digital age, you need content that truly engages your target audience, and that means you can’t sell all the time.
Here’s where you might benefit from using content ratios.
For example, Hootsuite recommends the rule of thirds:
- ⅓ promotional
- ⅓ sharing industry influencer posts
- ⅓ personal stories to build your brand
Another great way to connect with your customers is through user-generated content. A study of eCommerce stores found brands that shared UGC reported higher conversion rates. A brand like Buffer, for instance, has built a beautiful Instagram feed based entirely on UGC.
Remember to engage with your followers and participate in relevant conversations. Follow hashtags and set alerts for your industry so you can spot opportunities for engagement.
Starting on social is the first step. Now, you need to stay consistent.
Try these best practices:
- Create a social media calendar and add key dates in your industry.
- Establish a process: set specific times and workflows for content creation so it becomes a priority.
- Find the right tools to improve collaboration. You can, for example, use a tool like Chanty’s built-in task manager to keep content creation on track.
- Try social media automation applications to share your updates automatically.
- Don’t spread yourself too thin. Identify the platforms where your audience is most active and commit to those networks.
Hopefully, these strategies will set you on the path to social media success.
Now it’s your turn. Develop a data-driven plan, establish a consistent posting schedule, and engage meaningfully with the customers that will help your business thrive.