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How to best use social media for business

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Written by Adam Webb

How to best use social media for business… Keywords: how to use social media to grow your business, starting social media for business, how to use social media effectively for your business, best social media for business 2016, best social media for business marketing, best social media for small business, how to use social media to promote your business, best use of social media by a company

According to FORBES:

Productive Business Use of Social Media

    1. Focus on desired outcomes first. Valid social media objectives for a business should include one or more of the following: increased brand awareness, lead generation, service and support, or reputation management. Obviously, the platforms and how you use social media would be different for lead generation versus service and support.
    2. Incorporate brand personality and voice.Popular BPOP +3.70% culture these days expects a more humanized brand voice, and constituents are listening carefully to the tone, vision, and expertise of that voice. Think about how you can project the voice you want, and make sure it is consistently used by all team members across all platforms used.
    3. Identify the smallest segments possible of your constituents. Due to the information overload felt by consumers today, marketing at the generic segment level no longer works. Social media is the only one which allows you to be hyper-granular and drill down to micro-segments, to dramatically improve engagement levels and conversion ratios.
    4. Identify the communities for these micro-segments. Traditionally, community implied a physical grouping, but today a community is characterized by what they value, more than proximity. More important than finding a community, is creating one, with your blog and other social media engagement. The best communities then become your advocate.
    5. Identify the influencers of these communities. Social media brings all the aspects of important influencers these days, including peer pressure, authority, credibility, and in some cases, celebrities. Because feedback from social media operates in real time, you don’t have to wait months for results. You spend the months influencing the influencers.
    6. Create an action plan with metrics. Good action plans include a listening plan, channel plan, SEO plan, and a content creation plan, with activities and metrics. Social media activities span the gamut from curation to gifting, building relationships and groups, blogging, service actions, to lead conversion. Pick the ones that fit your desired outcome.
    7. Iteratively execute and measure results. Measuring is all about return-on-investment (ROI). This can be customer acquisition cost, revenue growth, profit, or whatever other parameters are key to your success. Iterate and expect to pivot, based on results, because you can’t get it all right the first time. This is not trial and error.

According to http://smallbiztrends.com:

1. Start with Social, but Plan Bigger

Whether you have a website or not, there are several benefits when you use social media for business to help establish an online presence including:

  • Simplicity and speed: easy-to-use interfaces mean your presence can be up and running in minutes.
  • Cost-effectiveness: a social media page can be developed for little or no cost.
  • Built-in base of members: social networks are a place to reach and engage existing and potential customers.

If your business already has a website, you can use your social media channels as marketing tools to amplify your company brand, message and content in order to drive visitors back to your main website.

But if a website isn’t in your strategy or budget (despite the fact that you can actually create a great website today for free), your business can still benefit from registering a unique, descriptive domain name. Two primary ways to use a domain (or multiple domains) in support of a social media presence are:

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1. As a branded Web address that points to your social presence.
2. As a branded email address to reinforce your social presence while giving your business added credibility.

2. Use Content to Attract Customers

The best way to get your customers’ attention and drive user interaction is to deliver frequent, high-quality and compelling content on your website and social presence, or with a blog post that targets your audience. Here are a few tips:

  • Have a plan: know what you want your content to do for your business. Are you looking for leads or brand awareness? Your plan will help you see the path ahead, and more importantly, allow you to measure success or failure.
  • Define your audience: know who they are, what they know, and — more importantly — what they don’t. This can help you form your content.
  • Play to your passions: your content is bound to be more compelling and attractive if you have a deep and clear interest in the subject matter.

3. Try Paid Advertising to Get in Front of New Customers

Paid advertising relies upon a variety of targeting mechanisms including keywords to put your ads into the paid advertising or “promoted ad” section on social networks where your customers and prospects spend time. Display ads may also appear on the sides of the users’ pages and as they are integrated seamlessly into the user’s experience, they don’t generally feel like typical obtrusive ads. Paid advertising can be an effective strategy and many social platforms have budget-friendly options.

  • Placing ads on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, can work with any budget, and ad campaigns can easily be set up with just a credit card. You can also target your audience using age, gender, location and interests, among other demographics.
  • Consider including images in your ad. Ads with images are more attention getting, leading to more clicks, shares, likes, and re-tweets.
  • YouTube offers a variety of advertising options, in some cases charging fees only if users actually watch your videos.

According to curata.com:

Embrace the visual

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We all know tweets with images get more engagement. We’ve known for a while that photos on Facebook get more engagement. Even images on LinkedIn get more engagement. Three of the “newest” social networks, Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat, are based entirely on images. So why aren’t you leveraging the visual when promoting your content? Create not only a branded “featured image” to share with your post, but also create separate images for each of the main points in your content so they can be shared when you repeatedly post them to social media (see below for more on that point). Check out my post on top social media for business quotes for an example that clearly illustrates how to leverage the visual.

Headlines matter

You’re writing great content, but are you writing a title worthy of grabbing someone’s attention in social media? If not you either need to

    1. Create better titles that help your posts to be more promotable in social media or…
    2. Create a new title specifically for sharing your content in social media. Don’t just settle for one title. You should be posting your content multiple times, so you should be creating multiple titles, and even doing A/B testing to see which headlines are more effective to promote your content on which social networks. You might also want to use a tool like BuzzSumo to help you research effective titles for the same type of content per social network. (See Curata’s post about curated content for more tips about creating new titles.)
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Customize for the platform

When sharing content, utilize the customizable posting features on each social media platform–this includes the headline, image, and a description of the content you are sharing. Every marketer and social media user is competing to catch the user’s eye, so the more optimized your post is for a particular platform, the more effective your social media promotion will be.

For example, if you shared a link via Facebook, you have the opportunity to create a post that will truly stand out amongst the rest; all you need is an attention-grabbing headline, a clean, relevant image that piques interest (which might be different from the featured image used in your content), and a short, compelling description.

With this formula, you can entice readers to click on your content. In the same manner, appending your content with hashtags can help make your content more discoverable for those social networks that support them. See a recent tweet by Curata CMO Michael Gerard for an example of a tweet using hashtags and an image:

View image on Twitter

Follow

Michael Gerard @michaelgerard

How to fight halitosis with event swag and tchotchkishttp://bit.ly/tchotchke1  #Halloween and event #Marketing

  • 22 Retweets

  • likes

Share at the right time

Though this tip may seem like common sense, many content marketers overlook this simple concept. For maximum engagement, the content you’re sharing needs to reach as many people as possible, so you have to go where the crowd is–and when they are online and active. Then you can compile a posting schedule to ensure you post during a certain time of day.

Keep in mind that different social media platforms may not have the same peak times. While there are manyinfographics telling you the best time to post in social media, some of it simply comes down to understanding how users engage on each social network and experimenting. Some social media platforms have features designed to aid you in this process, such as Facebook Insights. In addition, third party tools such as FollowerWonk help estimate the best times for some platforms.

Don’t be afraid to post multiple times

Numerous data studies suggest you will be more effective by promoting the same content multiple times on social media. With multiple images and multiple headlines for your content, you can engage with your followers without them even knowing a link is to the same content you posted earlier. As social media users don’t see most of your social media posts on any given day anyway, consider posting multiple times to social media as a way to ensure your audience has a chance to see your content.

Ask questions

ThinkingManWithQuestionMarks

Don’t just drop links. Drive social media users to communicate with you–and increase the chances they engage with your content–by asking for questions and feedback. Because social media was made for people and not for businesses, you should always be striving to create a human connection with social media users.

The beauty of social media marketing is that it can be used to improve both your public relations as well as content marketing simply by asking for a response. To generate feedback and promote engagement on social media, include a question with your content that compels readers to respond. Better yet, create questions for some of your headlines and test the waters. Questions are a great attention grabber, and help foster a community of connection that results in more effective social media promotion.

Share on the right platform

With so many new social media sites sprouting up and vying for attention, it can be hard to keep up. Just when we thought we knew everything with the emergence of Ello, now comes Tsu. While having accounts on various sites can be advantageous for fostering innovation and staying creative, it can also be difficult to choose which platform to post your content to.

To reiterate, since different sites serve different purposes and audiences, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the major social media platforms your target audience uses. Avoid redundancy and simply “dumping” content across all channels. Concentrate on the platforms where you have the highest chance to engage with your audience. Use this list of content promotion tools to see which platform best fits your needs.

Once your social media promotion is successful on these platforms, use the information you glean to start embarking on a new platform. Don’t forget to share your multimedia content to social networks like Slideshare, iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher and, of course, YouTube.

Pay to play

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Why pay for Likes or Follows when you can promote your content to a micro-targeted audience in social media?Paid Social is mainstream, meaning you can pay to promote your content into the news feeds of social media users, where you are guaranteed visibility from a relevant audience. If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to start shifting your budget to experiment in this area, whether on Twitter, Facebook or another network.

Maximize your brand advocates

Does your company have an employee advocacy program? Even if you don’t have a structured program, having more employees or partners that might already be sharing your content socially do so more regularly can only help promote your content. Fortunately, there are many tools that make it easy to manage and measure social media sharing by brand advocates. See the aforementioned list of content promotion tools for a full breakdown of different advocacy tools, such as GaggleAMP and SocialChorus.

Leverage communities

An employee advocacy program is one way of leveraging communities and utilizing the strength in numbers approach to promote your content to more social media users. However, you first have to have a community in order to do so. There are already literally more than two million communities within LinkedIn alone, not to mention additional communities in the form of Twitter chats, Google Plus communities, shared Pinterest boards, and even Facebook Groups.

Joining and becoming an engaging member of relevant communities allows you to promote your content to a very targeted audience of social media users that could be in the hundreds, thousands, or even more–the largest LinkedIn Group has more than one million members! (There’s even a community to talk more about content marketing & content promotion, called The Content Marketing Forum.)

Experiment with content creator communities

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I saved this for last because it is not everyone’s cup of tea, but there are a number of communities such as Triberr,Social Buzz Club, and Viral Content Buzz that exist outside of social media for the sole purpose of bringing together content creators and enhancing your social media promotion. If the content you discover on one of these sites is something you would considering curating, then this might be a good site to consider promoting your own content on.

What’s Next

When it comes to promoting content, social media is one of the most powerful tools available; however, most content marketers fail to truly maximize its potential. By utilizing one or all of these 11 ways to promote your social media content you will be well on your way to generating a lot more traffic from social media for your precious content.

Which of these 11 methods have worked for you? Any others that you would add to the list? Please chime in!

About the author

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Adam Webb

Houston, TX based Digital Marketing Specialist. Adam is a senior editor at DigitalReview and was formerly an editor at Mashable. A resident of Houston, Texas, Adam covers digital trends and much more.

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