Social media was originally created as a way to connect people. Almost all platforms have features that allow users to post and share videos, photos, and thoughts from their pages.
By the end of 2020, the number of active social media users worldwide had increased to over 4 billion. Those users were spending an average of almost 2.5 hours daily on various social media platforms.
Business owners have recognized the incredible opportunities offered by various social media platforms. They realized that they found an effective and inexpensive way not only to promote their products or services to such a huge potential market but also to nurture their current customers.
Why businesses use social media
Many businesses, from local shops to multinational companies, now include social media as one of their indispensable marketing tools. Here are some of the reasons why businesses use social media:
1. Online presence – One of the easy and effective ways to establish an online presence is by creating a business page in the social platforms that your target audience regularly visits. You may lose out to your competitors if your potential customers can’t find you in their favorite social media sites.
2. Faster, easier and cheaper way to communicate – Social media allows almost instantaneous communications with other users worldwide. It is a faster and cheaper way to inform potential customers about new products and services than traditional advertising.
3. More engagement with current and potential customers – Traditional marketing doesn’t allow direct interaction with customers. Through social media platforms you can have direct connection/ interaction with your audience. By replying to the concerns of your customers and asking for their opinions, you get to know them better.
4. Reach a bigger, almost global audience – If your business offers products or services that are not geographically bound, social media can boost your visibility and engagement among potential customers worldwide.
5. Easier to find a target audience – Social media platforms gather user information that advertisers can use to identify their target audience.
6. Less expensive advertising, events promotion – Social media is very inexpensive when compared to traditional marketing. It’s free to create a business profile on all the major social networks. It is also easier to modify / customize content to your target audience.
7. Platform to sell products and services – Yes, some social media sites make it possible for businesses to sell online without a website. The global sale of products directly from social media business pages or marketplaces was valued at $89.4 billion in 2020.
How to Improve Social Media Results
Social media provides immense potential for businesses but it also means huge challenges to get the most benefit from them. Following are the ways to improve your social results.
1. Identify social media objectives and goals
Effective social media strategies are those that are based on clearly defined objectives and goals. Your objectives define what you want to achieve while your goals specify how and when you will get there.
For example, your social media objective is to generate new leads. Your goal shall specifically state the minimum number of sign-ups per month. Set goals that are: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely (SMART).
Before setting your smart goal, determine your current performances to establish your benchmarks. Then set your improvement goals.
2. Identify your target customers or audience
A social media target audience is the specific group of people you want to reach with your messages and other forms of content. They are the people who are most likely to be interested in your content, products, or services.
The research will help you identify your target audience / customers. It’s most likely that they have some common characteristics as your current customers as well as those of your competitors.
B2B companies should consider the size and kind of business and the purchasing decision maker of their customers.
3. Encourage user-generated content
User-generated content (UGC) can be text posts, videos, product reviews and other content types created and posted by online platform users. They are valuable because they are highly trusted by consumers and influence their purchasing decisions.
UGCs on your social media page is considered by many consumers as trustworthy
social proof. To encourage your customers to post UCGs, give them space where they can share their experiences in doing business with your company.
4. Choose the right social media platforms
To start, you have to learn how to properly use the different platforms. Each platform has its particular set of features and ways of responding to its users.
In choosing the right platform for your business, consider the following factors:
- Nature of your business
Do you have a business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) company? What are the products and services that you offer?
Spend some time to understand the various features and capabilities of each platform in order to find the most appropriate one for your business.
- Where your ideal customers can be found
Research where your audience spends most of their time and be on that platform. Find out also which social media platforms are used by your competitors with good results.
- Kind of content you’ll be sharing
For instance, if your content relies mainly on video production to showcase your products, then try starting a YouTube channel. On the other hand, if you’ll be sharing informative blogs, then LinkedIn is recommended.
Tailor your content to the requirements and users of each platform.
- Objectives and goals
Research which social media platforms are known to give the best results for your objectives and goals.
For example, if your objective is to increase brand awareness or generate leads, you could try Facebook. However, if you want to connect with more influencers and professionals, they are usually on Twitter and LinkedIn.
- Platforms that your competitors are using.
It is to your advantage to see the social media platforms that your competitors are using. Don’t just follow without investigating if they’re getting good results or not.
5. Maintain brand consistency
Create and maintain a compliant and consistent brand image across all platforms. For example use the same logos, photos to maintain the same appearance at first glance.
Inconsistent brand image can confuse the platform users visiting your page.
6. Create and maintain a social media calendar
A social media calendar helps you post the right content to the right social media platforms at the right time. Your social media calendar should include the following basic information.
- Content description
- Target audience for each content
- Schedule of posting or publication
- Assigned content creator
7. Use relevant hashtags properly
A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by the pound or number symbol, “#,”
without spaces, punctuation and other special characters included.
Hashtags make it easier for people to find, follow, and be part of a conversation on a topic. To be effective, you should know how to use hashtags properly as enumerated below:
- Don’t spam or use too many hashtags. Two per post is usually enough.
- Learn how hashtags are used in each social media platform.
- Use hashtags that are specific or relevant to your brand only. Using general or common hashtags like #love or #best can link your post to other content that is not related to the product or services you offer.
- Make hashtags with multiple words easy to read by starting each word with a capital letter as in these examples- “eBay” and “iPhone”.
- Research to make sure the hashtag you plan to use is not associated with a negative issue.
- Try variations of your hashtag and figure out what works best for you.
8. Increase social media followers.
Having more followers means more people to convert into customers. You should aim for quality followers who want are interested in your products or services.
Here are some of the ways to make people want to follow your business page on social media:
- Post interesting and entertaining content.
- You share more videos, the most engaging content type on every social media platform.
- Hold contests, offer promotions, incentives
- Collaborate with complementary businesses to attract new followers.
- Make sharing of content easy by including social share links on your blog or website
- Put social media follow buttons on every page of your website and in your emails.
- If you have a brick-and- mortar business, invite your customers to like or join your social media page.
9. Collaborate with Social Influencers
Influencers have large social media followers and are often happy to tell their followers about brands in exchange for free products or any agreed compensation.
Identify influencers who fit the image of your product and may be interested in them. It’s better if you can find influencers who actually use your products or services.
Develop a relationship by liking and commenting on their posts so that your name becomes familiar to them. You can find social media influencers who can give you a better ROI than a celebrity.
10. Use social media automation tools
Simplify much of the work in your social media campaigns by using social media automation tools. You save time and money.
Some examples of these tools are Trello, Canva, Post Planner, Evernote and more.
11. Build relationships with followers, customers
One advantage of using social media is that it allows you to communicate directly with your customers and followers. You can develop relationships before you ask them to buy your product or services.
Encourage your audience to like, share, subscribe, follow, and comment. If possible, publicly recognize them if they do. Respond to your followers quickly, especially to address their negative comments. This will make your followers feel heard, acknowledged and important.
Nurture relationships with the people who support your company’s recurring sales.
12. Track the right performance metrics
Tracking the right social media performance metrics will let you know what strategies worked, why some strategies didn’t work, which platforms you will continue or stop using and other information needed for future decisions.
In choosing the right metrics, ask if they can help you make sound decisions and if you can effectively measure their results.
Keep Testing and Improving Your Social Media Strategy
The best social media strategy depends on the results. That’s why it’s important to keep on testing and fine-tuning to determine the best strategy to sell your products or services.
Tracking your progress is critical if you’re looking to continuously improve.
Social media platforms now play an important role in helping businesses promote their products or services. Each platform has features that can help businesses get the best results with the right marketing strategies.
To determine the best way to improve your social media results, keep on testing and analyzing data to keep up with the constantly changing social media environment.