Social media is required for inbound marketing success. Social media best practices are vital in today’s increasing social business environment. Social media is always evolving, and social media best practices can quickly become obsolete. Therefore, companies need to make a real commitment to ongoing social media learning. If you think social media cannot benefit your business, you are wrong. Let us examine how you can get the most out of your social media presence.
Too many brands over-automate their social media activity and blast their audience with promotional spam—mistakenly thinking that it will greatly expand their reach and influence. Acting like a robot will not win you any followers, fans or friends. Your prospects join social media to interact with real people. Giving your social media presence a personal touch will make your brand appear more accessible and genuine. Although the power of social media lies in being real with your audience, many businesses continue to discount the value of authentic, human interaction.
Effective social media marketing requires a brand to actually engage its audience and be social, which includes active listening as well as promoting your own content and offers. Actually converse with your followers—providing them with relevant, valuable answers, and kindly direct them to where they can learn more: your website. Keep things fun by hosting contests, taking polls and surveys, and sharing the results.
When your social audience has questions, always reply in a prompt and friendly way. If you take too long to respond, people will start to think that you do not care about your social community, which will call your authenticity into question. You do not want this to happen. Expand your social audience by fostering a conversational and genuine report. The more your social audience publicly converses about your company and shares your content, the more your social media reach and exposure will be amplified. Authentic engagement is the fastest way to form new relationships on social media. Introductions happen naturally, when you tweet content, share Facebook updates or participate in LinkedIn group discussions.
Content curation—the finding, collecting and sharing of relevant, valuable content across your social media channels—can further expand your social audience. Only talking about yourself and sharing your own content is not social; there needs to be a give-and-take. Curate at least six pieces of content for Twitter daily. For Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+, two is enough.
Always include the content creator’s name, using his or her Twitter handle or a link to the writer’s Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+ page. Your content curation should be staggered throughout the day between 9 am and 6 pm. Social dashboards, such as HootSuite, allow you to schedule your posts ahead of time. You can take prepare all your social media updates once daily; share your curated content Monday through Friday. Smart content curation can increase your social following—significantly boosting your social lead generation and conversion.
Being pushy or overly “salesy” on social media is a common mistake. Unfortunately, many brands still see social networks merely as content distribution channels, not as places where authentic engagement is valued. Direct sales solicitation is not welcome on social networks. Social media is supposed to be a friendly environment where people with common interests come together to share ideas. Your social audience will not tolerate interruptive messaging, so provide the type of information that prompts further questions and a desire to receive more information from you. At this point, you can leverage your high-quality content and strategic CTAs.
Although social media marketing can yield powerful results, real social media success happens, when your engaging social media presence works in concert with your content marketing, CTAs, email marketing and website design. The modern marketer needs to be a jack of all trades; every facet of your marketing matters and affects the others. A complete inbound marketing strategy addresses all your marketing needs—creating a powerful synergy that can help you fully leverage your social media presence.