With the global economy as it is, new methods of social marketing are becoming well known, with many new businesses and marketing companies embracing it as a way to spread the word in a more reliable, consistent, and cost-effective way.
While older values such as trust are just as important as always, newer trends in digital marketing are appearing, allowing small businesses more opportunity to stand out from the crowd. Are you currently fully utilising your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter platforms? Here’s a quick tip on what you need to do:
- Complete your personal profile
Setup and complete a personal profile. Be very thorough and provide a lot of information in your LinkedIn profile. The more complete your profile, the easier it will be for people to find you through search engines. Make sure your summary is complete and include a professional photo of yourself to increase your credibility. Add skills to your profile to highlight your expertise.
- Promote your LinkedIn profile
Add a hyperlink to your LinkedIn profile in your email signature, and post it on your business cards.
- Grow and monitor your network
Import your existing contact lists from your e-mail client to find out which of your contacts are already on LinkedIn. You should regularly scour through your existing contacts for people you might want to connect with.
- Engage with your connections through LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn allows members to join 50 groups. Join groups with a high membership. Joining groups that are related to your industry or other small business matters is also a great way to make new connections.
- Get recommendations
One way to build trust is to build a list of LinkedIn recommendations.
Recommendations are the most looked for feature when viewing a new profile. Ensure you request LinkedIn recommendations from happy customers willing to provide testimonials.
- Integrate your blog feeds into LinkedIn
To sync your LinkedIn and blog RSS feed, by adding the BlogLink application on LinkedIn and add it into your profile. It will automatically take your profile’s website links and display it under the application section.
- Ask questions
This is one of the easiest ways of engaging with people on Facebook: ask questions. People love to talk about themselves and offer their thoughts – and the more comments and “Likes” you get, the better your post will do.
Keywords such as “where”, “when”, “would and “should” see the highest number of engagement on Facebook. “Would”, in particular, drives spikes in “Likes” due to fans using “Like” as a way of voting “yes” on a question.
- Interact and engage
When people write comments on your posts or wall, you should contribute to the discussion to maintain user engagement. The longer a thread is, the higher it will rank in your fans’ Facebook news feeds.
- Incorporate wall sapplets
Instead of just posting items with text, vary the material and incorporate interactive components (known as sapplets)
This could include polls or coupons, which will prompt your fans to engage with your status updates directly in the news feed, beyond standard “Likes” and comments.
- Incorporate relevant photos
Rather than just telling your fans about your products and services, why not show them?
Relevant photos will attract people to your posts – people aren’t generally interested in reading through long text updates, but they love immediate content such as photos. Facebook has assigned a higher weight value to photos than to other types of content, so photos will keep you in people’s news feeds.
Why not post images to introduce fans to your company’s employees, or show them how things work behind the scenes?
- Relate to current events
You can post questions or state your stance on pertinent issues (but again, be careful!), as this could encourage fans to engage with you and get a discussion going. Ask people what they think about breaking news, celebrity gossip, sports or other topics – this could lead to more traffic.
- Incorporate videos
Everyone loves interactive content – and video is one of the best strategies a brand can use to draw attention. Videos can be played within the news feed, so users aren’t redirected away when they start playing a clip.
Be sure to keep your videos short (to keep people’s attention) and set expectations within the text to tell your fans what the clip is all about.
For example, you could use videos to show people how to best use your products/services – why not offer them a tutorial?
- Include links within posts
As a tool for sharing and spreading information, Facebook is an obvious place for you to post links.
Encourage people to interact with your brand by posting links that users will find valuable or interesting. This will encourage people to share the link with their friends, spreading your brand and driving engagement.
- Be explicit in your posts
Not explicit as in XXX content or swearing, explicit by telling people exactly what you want them to do. In many cases, publishing content that you think might generate traffic isn’t always enough to get the results you want. Instead, be explicit and explain to your users exactly what action you want them to take.
For example: “Click here and use our special tool to post to your wall”.
You should familiarise yourself with this symbol (i.e., #) and make it your friend. Put this hashtag in front of a keyword or your company website and Twitter will convert these hashtagged words into searchable keywords. What does this mean for you? Anyone searching for something can find all tweets containing your hashtagged word in a single location, thus making it easier for them to find your tweets even if they’re not one of your followers. Search the database for hashtagged questions pertaining to your business or topics of your expertise and connect with these followers.
- Engage with your followers
Simply sending out tweets and not responding to your followers will get you nowhere. It’s important to respond to those that tweet at you and answer any questions they might have. Each time you interact with your followers, make sure it’s a personalised message. No one wants to feel like their receiving a mass tweet. If they feel your message is sincere and they like what you have to offer, the chances of them retweeting your information is even greater, thus ultimately exposing your business to more followers.
- Combine your platforms
- Update your profile
Although most of your followers are only reading your tweets and not your bio, it’s important to have a profile in place that’s up-to-date and professional. Think of it as an extension of your brand. Potential new followers and customers will be checking out your profile to see what you’re about before hitting the golden “Follow” button.
- The power of a list
A Twitter list is basically a compilation of followers, grouped together. You can use these lists to your advantage by promoting and rewarding customers. How? Try creating a list comprised of all your valued customers and reward those on the list.
- Keep track
It’s important to track your followers and identify whose really paying attention to your tweets. You can do so by tracking retweets, clicks, messages and hashtag mentions. This will give you the opportunity to engage with your loyal followers and maintain these relationships.
- Ask questions
Get feedback from your followers by asking the right questions. Find out what you’re doing right, what you need to work on and what they want more of. This shows not only that you’re listening, but can provide you with valuable insights about your followers and consumers.
- Tweet about others
You don’t always need to talk about yourself and your company. It’s important to integrate other’s ideas and links into your tweets. Retweet what your followers have tweeted, share their links and let your followers know what you find interesting about a particular tweet. This lets your followers know that you’re human and are interested in what they have to say as well. Not to mention it’s a great way to build and expand your community.
- Customer Service
Create an account in which users can tweet questions about products or services to you directly. This allows you to interact with your consumers and provide them with something of value.
Here’s how you can make social media for marketing work more effectively for your business. Download this eGuide: How to Generate Leads from Social Media now.
Guest Post: Sookie Shuen is the community manager at Tomorrow People, a leading UK inbound marketing consultancy, who provides free advice and updates through a five step inbound marketing methodology. You can read more of Sookie’s content on inbound marketing by subscribing to the Zoober Inbound Marketing blog. You can also find her on Google+ and Twitter.