In many ways, the meteoric rise of social media as a marketing tool has leveled the playing field. Whereas before an individual entrepreneur or small business had to struggle to be heard over the massive advertising budgets of large companies, today all it takes to get your message out there is some creativity and good social media strategy.
A few months ago, I decided to do a complete rebranding of the social media accounts associated with my business and my personal website. Previously, my accounts were disjointed and not regularly updated; while they weren’t doing any damage to my brand, they certainly were capable of more than what was happening. The results of the changes were immediate: my personal website saw an increase in traffic of 105% over three months, and my business rose to the top of comparable companies in my native Australia. (For more information on exactly how social media impacted my business, network marketing, check out a recent blog post on my personal site)
Know Your Tools and How to Use Them
Everyone knows about the three most popular social media apps: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. But there’s a world of other apps that can help you reach new audiences: Snapchat, Vine, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest. And that’s not to mention international social networks for you globally-minded entrepreneurs: China’s Sina Weibo, Russia’s VKontakte, and Brazil’s Orkut. (Check out a more complete list of international social media platforms here)
Of course, no company can keep up with every social media site. A good strategy is to identify which platforms match up with your brand identity; an even better strategy is to identify which platforms match up with your customers’ identity. Vine is hugely popular among 14-18 year-olds, but it might not be the right avenue if you’re marketing products to middle-aged men!
The great thing about most of these apps is that there is little to no learning curve; they’re designed to be intuitive and easy to implement in your daily life. You may need some structure to get started, however. When starting a new social media account, I recommend pre-planning for at least the first two weeks of posts. That way, you’ll be in the routine of updating your account by the time you have a moment of “what should I post on Instagram today?”
My company, IsaTonic, is focused on health products and helping people to achieve their fitness goals. Looking at the possibilities for social media accounts, I determined that Facebook, Twitter, Intstagram, and Pinterest would offer the best opportunities for communicating with potential clients.
The Difference Between Good Content and Bad Content
It’s very easy to keep a social media profile updated if you’re not discerning about what goes up attached to your brand. However, you’ll only achieve great results if you take the time to make sure that everything you post is concise, compelling, and conscientious.
Concise – With social media, quality is far more important than quantity. Why do you think Twitter has a character limit?
Aim to create content that can be boiled down to a few sentences: one main idea that will stick with visitors and cause them to think about your company. If you review what you’re about to post and find that your message is unclear or obscured, find a way to boil it down even further.
Compelling – Your social media posts should always inspire some sort of action or emotion in your followers. Decide before you make a post on what you want the result to be, whether that’s increased brand confidence, capturing information for an email list, or a direct increase in sales from a product advertisement.
Here’s an example of a Facebook post that I think misses the mark:
Without a direct message, it’s unclear exactly what this ad is trying to do. (The link takes you to the product page for the dress shown.) The product being advertised is displayed in photos that don’t highlight its attributes, and the two other photos don’t inspire a reliable idea in the customer’s mind.
Conscientious – This should be second nature to anyone involved with marketing, but unfortunately it seems like a new social media faux pas appears every single day. Always, always, always make sure that the content going up on your social media profiles paints your business in a positive light. Avoid inflammatory subjects like politics and hot-button news events, and try to predict if any content is going to inspire comment wars on your pages.
One other thing to be aware of is the importance of password protection. Make sure that you know of every person who has access to your social media account, and update the passwords regularly to prevent hacking. Some of the biggest social media miscues have occurred as a result of compromised passwords; it’s easily avoidable!
The Sky is the Limit
A well-planned rebranding of your social media accounts gives you access to unlimited marketing opportunities. Viral content is the most efficient mode of advertising that has ever existed, as just one resonant post can put your brand in front of millions of new eyes.
Even if you don’t strike gold with a viral post, steady content creation on social media will pay off in the long run. Each week, I add several new followers to my Facebook and Twitter accounts. Every new follow unlocks the possibility that my shared content could reach a new customer. There’s no limit to how far my message can travel, and that’s great for business!
Brad K. Russell is an entrepreneur and marketing expert based in Perth, Australia. He is the Founder and Owner of IsaTonic, the #1 distributor of Isagenix products in Australia. Find more information about Brad at his personal website, www.bradkrussell.com.au, or about IsaTonic at www.isatonic.com.au.