3 Simple Rules for Social Media Success

  •    Karen is co-founder of VISION Marketing & Consulting. She is passionate about providing small business owners with the tools and resources needed to take their businesses to the next level.

If you are a business owner, chances are you’ve at least dipped your toe into the social media pool. It may not be your top priority, but you’ve realized that being involved in social media is now key to the success of many businesses. Not only is this where you will find your target market, it is where you will be able to build lasting and valuable relationships with them.

So, to get you started on the right foot, I wanted to share 3 social media elements to consider in order to have a successful social media presence. If you’re going to do it – you want to do it right!

#1: Have a Plan

Not having a plan can be dangerous for two reasons. One, your posting and content will end up becoming disorganized and sporadic. And two, you’re taking the risk of not engaging in conversations in a timely manner. Consumers expect next to immediate responses and interaction on social media. If they ask a question and you don’t answer for a week, it may be too late.

So, identify who will be a part of your social team, develop a posting calendar (depending on the platform this could range from once a day to 3-4 times a day when you’re getting started) and establish posting guidelines that include the types of content you want to post, your brand voice, response rates and more. Hootsuite is a great tool to help manage conversations, schedule posts and save you time.

#2: Include your existing customer database

These guys should be your most passionate advocates! Forgetting to include them in your new social efforts could stunt your online growth and prevent you from reaching a wider audience at a faster rate.

Some good strategies that are fairly easy to implement:

  • Create an email blast to send out to your database using a platform like MailChimp (simple to use and free for up to 2500 subscribers) inviting them to connect with you online.
  • Design fun, branded ‘social connect’ cards and give them out to customers who come through your door.
  • Incorporate contests or giveaways into social messaging, this will encourage more customers to connect.

#3: Tell your fans what you want them to do

What good is a social media presence if it isn’t driving new business? Fans need you to guide them to make the decisions that are best for them, and help you reach the goals of your business. Be wary of becoming too ‘salesy’ though. Consumers want to connect with businesses to add value to their lives, not to be inundated with marketing messages. Our rule of thumb for content is to maintain a 70-20-10 split – 70% original content, 20% repurposed and 10% promotional.

Always include a call to action in your posts. Maintaining an engaged audience increases your chances of gaining exposure and expanding your online reach. These CTAs can be simple - ‘click the link to read our article on how to manage stress’ or ‘like this post if you agree’, to more direct and revenue generating requests such as ‘click here to download a coupon now’ or ‘call today to take advantage of this limited time offer’.

Diving into social media marketing can be intimidating, but with an effective plan in place your business will gain exposure, build relationships and reach new heights.