More and more companies are taking advantage of the new audience opportunities that social media represents. But to justify the investment in time and money to do social media marketing right, you need to have a strategic social media plan in place that is tied to marketing objectives. Otherwise, it’s just frivolous activity.
I’m always surprised when I see business pages posting about things that do not market their business. For example, I see posts all the time about staff birthday parties or the new mulch outside of the company’s offices. These types of posts don’t help to market the business. Instead, it illustrates the lack of a social media plan and give the appearance that the business is searching for things to post about.
What these companies don’t yet understand is that finding relevant content is as easy as looking at their own business. There are four content categories that every business shares and can use to create posts. These categories can serve as the foundation of any social media plan.
Your product or service solves some type of problem that your customers have. They have a need and you have the solution for it. Around your solution, there are tips that you can share to help make the lives of your customers easier. Whether you are a B2B or B2C business, sharing tips and information is one of the best ways to build interest in your brand, and create loyalty with your fans and followers.
Many companies make the mistake of adopting the outmoded mindset of not wanting to display their expertise until someone pays them for it. They do this out of fear that their competition might learn something that they can use to market against them.
Alleviate that fear by posting about things that are related to your product or service, but that don’t reveal any sensitive information. For example, if you have a new lawn care service with a proprietary process that makes grass grow better, then share tips about general lawn and landscaping maintenance.
You can even post about the fact that you have a proprietary process. In fact, I would encourage that. But you do not have to post the details of it. Instead, post about things that surround your brand that fans and followers will find helpful, even if it is information about things that you don’t do. If you take the time to think about it, you’ll discover that there is a wealth of information that is related to your product or service.
Posting about your industry illustrates to your fans and followers that you are keeping up with new developments. Your interest in your field demonstrates that you care, and that you have expertise, as well. These types of posts also provide fans and followers with current information about a topic with which they are interested. After all, they are following your business page for a reason, right?
Promote Your Blog
If you’re not doing so already, you should be writing a blog regularly. Blogging helps with your website’s search ranking, it widens your search availability and demonstrates your industry expertise. Each new blog you write can the be promoted across your social channels, driving traffic back to your website. In your post, include a photo from the bog, a short description, and a link to it on your website.
It’s always good to talk about how great your business is, right? Unfortunately, that is not always the case when posting on social media. When interrupting someone’s social time, which is what is happening when you post on social sites, you need to be gentle, just as you would be in person. You don’t want to pound your chest too much or too often.
Social media best practices suggest posting about your business just once per week. When you do so, it should be about the benefits of your product or service, not traditional advertising messages that tell of your superiority over your competition. Before you post a marketing message, ask yourself, “What’s in it for my fans and followers? Is there a benefit in this post for them?”
For a business to be successful using social media there needs to be a plan in place. That plan needs to include the content that you want to share. Knowing the categories in advance will keep your social media posts on track and help you adhere to your plan. In the end, being purposeful with your posts and having real marketing goals in mind justifies your social media work and benefits your business over the long haul.
Update: January 17, 2018:
Of course, just posting does not guarantee social media success. In 2017 and 2018, many social sites have reduced reach for business pages to less than one percent of their followers. But you can still have success on these sites using their paid options to reach your target audience.
Bob Turner is an Digital Marketing Consultant in Cincinnati, Ohio.