Social media marketing, using social media to promote your business, its products or services, is not like posting on your personal accounts. Posting for a business needs to be intentional and purposeful with achieving certain marketing goals in mind. It is not something done for fun or leisure, which is why many of us use social media personally.
Yet there are a lot of small businesses out there that use their social sites in this manner. But doing so isn’t effective for a business. To market on these channels, you need to be strategic and intentional.
There are over 2.4 billion social media users around the world. People love these networks because it is easy to stay in touch with friends and family who are both nearby and distant. It is a common, everyday practice for many people. Because of that daily use, regular users of these sites are comfortable with them.
For business owners or managers who don’t have that comfort level, it’s only natural that they would turn to those in their organization who are to get social media marketing work done. Of course, just because those folks are comfortable using it personally, does not mean they are ready to market a business on a professional level.
Your social media activities need to be tied to your marketing goals. If they are not, then you are wasting time and money.
When you post something, do so because it serves a marketing goal. Share information purposefully. Know who your target market is on a demographic level. Then curate or create content that will resonate with that audience. When you do, you will build awareness with them so that when it comes time for a buying decision, your business will be considered favorably.
You need to be intentional in every marketing activity you do. That means your posts should be relevant to what your business does. Too often, small businesses don’t understand this lesson and will share posts about things that don’t matter, such as an office party or the new mulch outside their front doors. These types of posts do nothing to build awareness or display the industry expertise of that particular business. The only thing they do is make the reader think, “So what?”
If you sell lawn mowers, for example, then you could share content about lawn care and landscaping tips. Your posts should be relevant to what you do.
Part of being intentional is also being regimented. You need to create a schedule for your posts and stick to it. Social media marketing only works when you post on a frequent and consistent basis. It is not something you can do occasionally and expect results.
Social media marketing also includes measuring the effectiveness of your activities. Again, this is another component of being intentional. You need to be able to report those key metrics that show how well your program is doing. From those results, you also need to be able to make adjustments to maximize outcomes next time.
It is an ongoing practice of doing, measuring and tweaking.
Often people post things on social media that they would never say to another person’s face. Often times it seems as if someone suddenly had a thought and they rushed to post it online without ever thinking about how others would take it. As a business, you can’t afford to do that.
You have to be careful about what you share. You don’t want to create a negative impression by posting something you think is interesting or funny, but that others find uncomfortable.
Designing a social media marketing program based on intention and strategy will never lead you down an awkward path online.
Social media marketing is very different from how people use these networks personally. The goal is to build awareness in a way that leaves a positive impression about the knowledge level of your team, and how you do business. You want those in your target market to think favorably of you when it comes time to buy.
Posting on a whim or sharing fun office events, as people do on their personal accounts, will not achieve these goals.
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Bob Turner is an Online Marketing Consultant with Social Flair in Cincinnati, Ohio.
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