The pandemic changed how we sell, with so much of it moving from trade shows and conferences to online. In fact 78% of sellers on social media outsell their peers who do not use socials. While virtually all SMEs have a social media presence, some of our clients tell us they struggle to know how to do social media well. At Amack, we’ve been using social media in various ways for our different clients recently, so we thought we’d share some of what we’ve learned with you.
Choose your social media outlets thoughtfully
If you’re having an overhaul of your social media plans, be clear about what your objective is first. What are you hoping to achieve by using social media for your business? Who are you hoping to speak to? What do you want the outcome to be?
There’s such a wide range of social media platforms now, it pays to begin by considering who you want to reach, where you can reach them and how you’re going to draw them in. For example, if your campaign is largely visual you may want to concentrate on Pinterest or Instagram, but consider what sort of demographics hang out on those platforms and make sure they’re your target audience. If you have a product or service aimed at a young demographic and you’re a bit creative, TikTok and YouTube are easy to get started on with video - plus the opportunities for viral coverage are much bigger with those platforms. On the other hand, if you want to start conversations with potential clients, Twitter and LinkedIn are great places to begin - LinkedIn is particularly good if you want to showcase long-form content.
And don’t forget Facebook. You might have been told that Facebook won’t pull in the younger generation any more but the platform is still the most-used globally, and it has good extras such as the ability to track data and post across multiple Meta platforms.
Create brand awareness
Making potential clients aware of your brand is easier than ever on social media. Social platforms have essentially put SMEs on a level playing field with big businesses; so you don’t have to compete with huge marketing budgets, and new customers are as likely to see your posts as those of your huge competitors, so make the most of this opportunity. The more familiar people become with your brand, the more they are likely to buy from you. You don’t want to be seen to be spamming people’s socials, but posting regularly - at the same time on the same days of the week - can all help with visibility and put you in favour with the Gods of Algorithms.
Demonstrate your brand to be a trusted source
And of course, it’s about quality as much as quantity. If you can create content that is interesting, helpful and relevant to your audience, it will be shared more by them. That then creates a virtuous circle, whereby the more you are shared, the greater the trust in your brand, the more trust there is, the more algorithms will share your content, bringing you a bigger audience and greater trust, and so it goes on… So make sure your content is always thoughtful and timely. And of course, if your business is winning awards or getting great reviews, shout about it so that potential clients can see that others already have trust in you.
Show ‘thought leadership’
Be the first to share your knowledge and put yourself out there as the brand everyone in your sector looks to for comment on industry news and solid advice, and make your socials the place people head to when they want to discuss these things. Most importantly, ensure your thought leadership feeds into the real world, so you’re taking these conversations that you begin virtually out to events and meetings to make connections face to face.
Get to know your customers
Social media shouldn’t be a ‘set to output only’ affair. Use it to get to know your potential (and current) clients. Interact with them. Ask questions, invite questions, ask them to share their wins, run competitions. The more interactions your pages receive, the more visible your posts will become to others, too.
Manage the community
And on that note, try to foster a sense of community to encourage your followers to interact with you and with each other, too. Think of it as being a good host; you wouldn’t invite a group of unconnected people to a party and then leave them to get on with it, would you? So think of your online community in the same way. When you post, hang around a bit to answer questions and thank people for comments and set your notifications so you know when new people arrive and comment so that you can pop back to keep the conversation flowing.
Create a social media calendar
A bit of organisation goes a long way. Keep a calendar of what’s going up on which platforms on social media and work about three months ahead. That way you’ll be prepared with comment for any events coming up and you can always tweak things if something changes or there’s some breaking industry news. A calendar will also give you a good overview, so you can check you’re posting regularly and are spreading your posts across the right platforms at the right times. It also means everyone in the company can see what’s coming up when and plan times to target potential clients around relevant posts.
Use your competitors as inspiration
Have a look at what other businesses like yours, both big and small, are doing on social media. Scrutinising their interactions or likes will help you see what worked for them and generated responses, and what bombed, and let you work out what might work for your business to help boost your brand’s visibility in a positive way.
Use analytics in a smart way
Work out what your key performance indicators are first and then look around at some of the analytics apps to work out which will work best for your business. Hootsuite and Google Analytics are both popular but there are so many on the market to choose from. Once you have the data easily to hand it’s much easier to spot trends, working out which times of day and days of the week your followers are most active, and which sorts of content resulted in an increase or decrease in followers or activity.
Ensure resources are in place to process leads generated
Once your social media marketing is hitting its target, you’ll want to convert that into sales. Make it easy for your customers to click to buy or enquire about your product or service. And then make sure that those clicks are followed up immediately with targeted information and a personal interaction, so that all your hard work doesn’t go to waste.