We all know that social media is an effective marketing platform, but to position yourself ahead of the social media marketing pack - and stay there - you need to utilize tools that make you more efficient, while also helping to get your message out to your target audience.
Here are three social media tools your business should be using, but probably isn't.
1. Twitter Chats
A Twitter chat is a group of people getting together for 30 minutes to an hour (normally) at the same time each week for a conversation relating to a specific topic, using a pre-determined hashtag. Anyone who includes the hashtag in their tweet is part of the conversation.
Participating in or hosting Twitter chats is a great way to connect and network with like-minded people. You can also use Twitter chats as a customer service tool. By creating a hashtag like #[YourCompanyName]CustomerService, and publishing that as one of the ways you receive and respond to customer questions, you can help customers not just through your answers to their questions, but the responses of other customers who may have experienced the same issue. Of course, not all customers are comfortable with Twitter, so you'll still need other forms of customer service too.
There are some rules of engagement on Twitter chats. For example, participants have to use the hashtag in every tweet or their comments won't be displayed as part of the conversation. A good way to prevent this from happening by accident is to use a third-party app like TweetChat - it places the hashtag in your tweets automatically (it also makes following the conversation easier because it only displays tweets with the applicable hashtag).
Another rule of thumb is to not use chats to blatantly market yourself or your products. Of course, participating in Twitter chats is a marketing tool, but it's an inbound tool, not outbound. If a chat participant wants to pursue a relationship beyond the chat, they certainly can - in fact, that's part of the beauty of Twitter chats.
2. Custom Tabs On Your Facebook Page
So you have a Facebook business Page, complete with a great cover image and profile photo, a call-to-action button in the header, lots of fans, great content and engagement. What more do you need, right?
Go to your Facebook Page now and look for that row of tabs just below your cover photo (Home, About, Photos, Likes, More).
Why not create a custom tab to add to the list? Here are some custom tab ideas:
- Invite people to subscribe to your business blog, podcast or live video show.
- Promote registration for upcoming events or webinars you're sponsoring.
- Create a content library of free ebooks and other downloadable offers to help generate leads from Facebook.
- Feature case studies or customer testimonials.
- Invite people to sign up to your email list
There's really no limit to what you can promote with a custom tab.
3. Facebook Live Video
You've probably heard about Facebook's live-streaming option - but have you considered using it as a marketing tool rather than just to share fun family moments in real-time?
It can be a great new way to engage your fans - here are some examples of how businesses and organizations use it:
- Dunkin' Donuts' first Facebook Live session in February of this year gave fans a peek into the Dunkin' Donuts kitchens. Since then, they've developed additional ways to use live video, including videos related to National Doughnut day.
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art used Facebook Live to take its fans on a walk through of the museum as they prepared for their first visitors of the day. They've also hosted Facebook Live and given viewers a pre-tour of a new exhibition about the ancient city of Pergamon. That live pre-tour had more than 50,000 people watch portions of the 20-minute tour.
- IHeartRadio streamed singer Bebe Rexha walking down the red carpet and Keke Palmer singing live from the studio at the iHeart Radio Music Awards back in April.
Anything you can do with pre-recorded video, you can do with Facebook Live, and you can re-purpose your live videos by saving and uploading them to your blog, website, other social media pages, your YouTube channel, or wherever.
Staying abreast of the various social media tools and options isn't one of those things that would just be nice to do, it's something you must do if you want to stay ahead of the competition.
This post originally appeared on The Fried Side blog.