Over the past two weeks, you’ve learned how to determine who you are talking to, and how you should talk to them. But now it’s time to put those skills to the test and decide where you are going to talk to your audience. It’s easy to talk about your target audience.
So you can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?
It is important to understand how your audience will be getting your content and learning about you and your brand. We are lucky to live in the 21st Century when we have unlimited access to information (thanks to the internet!). Take advantage of the internet and social media. Social media is arguably the most important tool you have in your marketing arsenal.
When used correctly, social media can expand your network and build a strong connection with potential clients. At its worst, you can dig yourself into a hole. A PR nightmare. Avoid any mishap by knowing what kind of marketing tools you want to use, what will be most beneficial to your business and how you will be able to interact with your target audience in the most effective way.
“You are what you share.”
Everything you share on social media reflects your company, so know that you have to use the tone of voice you identified. That will create a sense of consistency throughout your social platforms and your brand. Your brand’s personality will help customers recognize your product or service. Think about brands like Nike with their “Just Do It” slogan and look. Their ads, their posters, their products… all express the Nike personality of authentic athletes, exceptional athletes, and passionate athletes.
The Social Network
To start, you’ll need to create a social media marketing strategy. This will help you determine what social platforms you should use, what analytics tools will be most helpful, and help you create marketing goals for yourself. No marketing strategy is complete without a set of goals. These goals help to drive your advertising campaigns marketing efforts. It also gives you the right amount of push to drive your engagement with your audience.
It’s like a sports team – every season, they work toward the championship game. They want to win that game to be the best team. Without that championship game driving their desire to win, there would be no motivation. Create goals. Have your championship game in mind.
In order to use social media to the best of your ability, create a social media strategy.
When you create any marketing strategy, it’s crucial that you are collecting data as you go. Make your social goals measurable. Keep track of your followers and social media analytics. You can gain insight on what your audience likes, reacts to, and wants to see on your social media channels.
An easy way to make sure your strategy is smart, is by using S.M.A.R.T:
Create specific goals for your social media plan, and stick to it. If your goal is brand awareness, set a specific goal to increase your social media followers by 50%. Make it a clear, specific goal.
Be sure the goal you create can be measured easily. Have the tools in place so you can monitor and track the progress of your goals.
Don’t make your goal something that is out of reach. When you are starting out, less is more. Make your goal something that you can reach. Each little success grows into a bigger success.
Your goal should relate to your social media strategy and marketing plan, but also to your target audience. If you want to increase sales, don’t make your goal to increase likes on Facebook. Instead focus on increasing your number of online leads.
Your goal should have a deadline. Whether you want to meet your goal in a month or 6 months, don’t have an open-ended goal with no end in sight.
Once you set your goals, have the necessary tools in place to measure and analyze each one so you can quantify your progress. Not only will you be able to track your successes, but you’ll be able to see what content is working, and what you should tweak along the way.
Try the all-in-one social media content planner, Hootsuite, to schedule content. With the built-in analytic tool, you can track your social media campaigns and goals.
Channeling Your Inner Social Butterfly
Once your social media strategy is created, it’s time to put that in action. Start deciding what your most effective social platforms will be, and then build them. Because there are so many social sites to choose from now, make sure you are utilizing all of them in some way or another – but down drown yourself in maintaining these pages.
Only set up what you can easily manage and maintain. It can be a slippery slope: creating detailed social pages and then letting them sit for months without new updates. This doesn’t mean every page needs a brand new post everyday. But this means in order to build your business, you’ll need to interact with your audience, engage them with new posts and content that will bring them in. Social media makes it very easy to start your business’s social presence.
Facebook isn’t just for college kids anymore. There is huge potential to reach millions on one network. One. Single. Network. And you can have people all over the world seeing your posts. The trick is knowing how to make this happen.
From your personal Facebook account, you have the option of creating a Business Page. You want to do this. Establishing your business on social media will help create a sense of credibility with your audience. And it’s pretty easy to get started:
On your personal Facebook profile page, click the “Pages” header on the left-side navigation bar. Click “Create a Page” button and choose the type of page – Local Business, Place, Brand, or Product. There will be a few fields to fill out, like business category, name, address, and business hours. From there, the rest is like creating a regular Facebook account.
You can easily manage this page, track basic analytics, and see what posts are performing the best by using the Facebook Business Manager.
Luckily, Twitter is pretty self explanatory: share important updates, motivational quotes, or little sayings in 140 characters or less. Establishing yourself on Twitter is pretty easy.
Build a Twitter account like a personal account – but use your business’s information. Create a handle with your business name and use a high-res image of your logo as the profile picture. Fill out the profile information with business information – your tagline, address, phone, and be sure to include your website URL.
Pro Tip: Using hashtags on Twitter will give your Tweets a larger audience. Use hashtags that are trending and relevant to your business to reach a larger audience.
When you are feeling confident in your Twitter presence, try using the Twitter for Business tools and begin advertising your business!
Pictures are worth a thousand words – and they can help bring life to your brand. Use personal images, stock photos, or anything that represents your brand in the best way.
In your posts, use images with faces – this will make your brand seem more personable and more human to your audience. You want to be relatable. You want to be friendly.
Be sure to include the link to your website in the bio section on Instagram to drive traffic to your website. Like Twitter, hashtags are a great way to increase the number of people that see your posts. Search for hashtags that are relevant to your business and popular on Instagram so your posts gets a lot of visibility.
To build your business, make sure your Instagram profile isn’t set as a private account. You want maximum visibility from everyone on the Instagram network.
Pro Tip: Save your hashtags as a note on your phone so you don’t have to type them out for every post.
Having a LinkedIn Business page will help your business gain credibility in your field and among your colleagues in your professional network. Using your personal profile, you can create a business page and manage it just like you would your personal LinkedIn page.
Draw in your existing network to like your business page and begin liking and joining groups that will benefit your brand and business. Groups that are in the same field of interest can help you network with other like-minded professionals.
Share blog posts and professional, industry updates on this network to build your followers and likes. This may not be your largest social platform, but it will help to have a credible business page on a professional network.
There are lots of other social platforms that you can build out, engage, and use to create a social presence. The most important thing is that you choose your platforms, create pages for your business, and own it. Make those pages yours. And make your brand come to life.
If You Build It, Will They Come?
Creating social media pages seems like a pretty simple task, but that doesn’t mean your audience will find you. This will take some hard work, sweat, and tears to build successful social presences across multiple platforms. But working toward growing your network, growing your business, and growing your brand awareness relies on your social media marketing efforts.
Marketing shouldn’t only be limited to social media – but it’s a great start. Be on the lookout for opportunities in your community, local newspaper to kick-start your business. Hard work will pay off. Customers will find your brand. And they will love it. Because your passion will shine through your brand and your marketing strategies.
Over the past 3 weeks, you have been given the tools needed to start building an effective brand for your small business. Define your target audience, identify your brand’s tone of voice and personality, and build out social media platforms to kick-start your marketing strategies and brand awareness.
Stay focused. Stay happy.