So you’re ready, you have your business plan, you have great products and a fancy website but now you need to get it out there. The initial thought of marketing your business can be terrifying because you instantly think how much is this going to cost me? But there’s no need to worry, a huge benefit of the digital savvy world we live in is that we are surrounded by social media, you can’t escape it and really as a new business you wouldn’t want too.
There are over 2.3 billion social media users in the world, 89% of the UK population is an active user and they spend on average 1hr 36mins per day using accounts such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Not a bad place to start promoting your business is it.
Not quite sure where to start don’t worry I’m here to help…
Do your research
Social Media is about connecting with your audience and being authentic. The best place to start is by defining and understanding your audience:
- Where are they?
- What are they reading?
- What are their likes and dislikes?
- How old are they?
Write this down, categorise it, find images and content they would relate too and start engaging with people. This is your daily inspiration pin it somewhere as a constant reminder.
Pick a platform
There are a lot of social platforms about today and they all work in different ways and appeal to different people. What is your audience using?
This is an example of some of the popular channels used in the UK – Taken from Google Digital Garage.
|Facebook – 30 – 33m UK users (46 – 50% of the UK population) it remains default channel for most adults. Only 16% of UK users are 16 – 24, 56% of users are female||Twitter – 15m users in the UK (23% of the UK’s population) and two thirds of users are under the age of 34. Even gender split.||Instagram – 14m UK users (21.5% of the UK’s population), challenging Twitter for their community size. 30% of UK users are 16 – 24 and 64% of users are female.||LinkedIn – 19m UK users (29% of the UK’s population) and is dominated by males (58%) It is more popular with those over 35 (79%).|
|YouTube – 41.5m UK users (87% of UK’s population), 41% of UK users are aged between 18 – 34 and 33% are aged between 35 – 54.||Snapchat – 11.7m users (18% of the UK’s population0 Nearly 50% of teens in the UK are using Snapchat. Roughly 70% of users are female. 45% of users are aged between 18 – 24. Ireland is the top country for Snapchat usage by adults in each market.||WhatsApp – 36% of mobile web users in the UK use WhatsApp.||Pinterest – 20K Users (0.03% of the UK’s population), 80% of which are female.|
Now don’t worry you don’t have to sign up to each and every single one. Start small maybe one or two then when you get the hang of it incorporate another platform into your strategy.
Remember every platform you choose to create including your website has to have consistent content, this is your images, tone of voice and CTA (call to action). When your theme is not consistent users are less likely to engage with you through multiple channels because your identity has become conflicted, this will result in a large drop rate in your CTA. Always remember your platforms should work alongside each other in order to achieve your goals.
You’re ready but don’t run before you can walk, start slowly. Social Media can take a lot of time and effort in order for it to be effective.
To be successful you need to incorporate social media into your daily tasks and dedicate two allotted time slots in your day to manage your accounts. Times can vary depending on your schedule and your audience but usually morning and late afternoon work well and with the power of scheduling now it makes time management even easier.
Remember your daily inspiration list, it’s time to give it a good look. The aim of social media is to give your readers something valuable they would share with their network. You could post tips, blog posts, self-help guides, funny images, amazing pictures and videos. Picture and video content has the highest engagement rate across social platforms so if it’s relevant always try and add one to your post.
Make a plan first though:
- How many posts do you want to make a day?
- What time of day should they go out?
You want your posts to be seen so sit and think about when exactly your audience is online. As a rule of thumb peak times to post online are during commuting hours, lunch time and during evening TV advert breaks.
Something else to take into account is popular trends, what are they? Is there a big football match on where at half time everyone will be on their phones scrolling through social media to see what their peers have thought about the game. Or a huge storyline in Emmerdale on Thursday at 8 so you know at 8:17 your audience will take to twitter to discuss.
Get online and get involved, talk to your customers, get a post out that’s relevant and fitting to the event but don’t jump on the back of any old thing just for the sake of it. It needs to be fitting and you need to be careful it doesn’t cause confusion and ridicule just like the #emojinal campaign from House of Fraser earlier in the year. Remember once it’s out there it can’t be taken back.
Share the love
Your audience will have certain people they idolise, follow and visit daily find out who they are and share their content by doing this you get noticed within your industry as an influencer and in return this helps build your network. Spend time following and liking pages that your audience does after a few days you will start to notice a large increase in your organic followers.
Keep this up throughout your social journey, I would aim to follow between 50 to 100 accounts a day. I cannot stress this point enough DO NOT rely on tools online that do this for you, you could end up with the wrong followers that have no benefit to your goals. Also a lot of platforms now close down accounts they believe are spamming users by using online robots to boost their followers. You’ve worked hard to get to where you are don’t ruin it by getting greedy and cheating.
Listen and Analyse
Listen to your audience don’t just talk at them, see what they have to say about you and your brand and respond to comments and messages in a timely manner, no one likes to be kept waiting.
It’s important to analyse your profiles, Facebook and Twitter both have analytics built into their pages and will provide you with reports regularly. Don’t ignore these, they are important to the growth of your profile and they offer some pretty handy free tips such as; the content your users engaged with the most so you can understand exactly what’s attracting their attention.
Facebook shows you the most popular times your followers are online so you know when exactly to reach them and Twitter shows you the time of day your posts were engaged with the most. Don’t just assume these are the same across both channels. People use each platform differently and for different things. You can also see your audience demographic, how many female followers you have compared to males, their interests, their most viewed subjects and also where in the world they are.
Have fun and don’t be afraid to try out new things it’s always important to be aware of traditional strategies but think outside the box from time to time, just because it hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. Not everyone used to reply to tweets with GIF’s but guess what someone took the jump, it worked and now we all do it.
Oh and last tip: Always remember if you don’t ask you don’t get