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How you can use social media to grow your business
People are nowadays glued to their smartphones – managing their life through a series of clicks – online shopping, banking, restaurant reservations – even dating! Here in the Philippines, there is simply no better way to reach your audience than social media.
If you are a business owner and you haven’t explored online marketing, read on and get started. We’ve rounded up 8 steps that will help you build an online following.
1. Have a strategy
Like any other project, creating your social media strategy should be your first priority. Don’t skip this step lest you end up being all over the place. The goal is acquisition and retention: gain new customers, and create a following. Remember in the internet, first impressions last – you cannot lose those clicks!
Your strategy should be able to establish who your audience is, where they are online and what kind of culture you want to cultivate with them.
2. Stick to your branding
A strong brand identity is important because this allows your audience to recognize you amongst the many brands that keep popping up their social media feeds. Try to go back to your logo and color scheme and think of ways of how you can translate this online yet still be recognizable to your existing customers. Make sure these are used consistently across your social media channels – Profile covers, ads, etc.
3. Pick your channel
Choose your social media platform. Managing each channel takes time, so stick to one or two and really focus on them. There are social media networks that work best for a specific audience, product and industry. Facebook is a must, but after that each platform depends on the type of business you’re in.
New kids on the block: Instagram, Pinterest, Linkedin.
Instagram is the latest one that has allowed ads and sponsored posts. Most clothing brands and restaurants favor Instagram, especially because their audience appreciates a good feed with interesting photographs.
4. Image is everything
Studies show that people respond most to posts with visuals. Attention spans have shortened and you should be able to communicate your message in seconds.
a. Good photos – Use good high-resolution images. Invest in a good camera to take your social media photos.
b. Graphics – Make sure your announcements are well designed and match your branding. It is important to be consistent with your brand identity.
c. Use online graphic tools – if you are not very creative and find it too expensive to hire a graphic designer solely for social media, there are online tools that make this easy. Sites like Canva have well designed templates that allow you to drag and drop elements and create graphics by yourself.
5. Find your timing
When you’re just starting to build your online presence, frequency and timing are very important. Find out when your audience is online and most active this is your “golden hour.” Take advantage and post during this time to get the most traffic and engagement. The analytics section of Facebook provides this information for free.
If you’re always thinking of what to post next, having a monthly content calendar does the trick. It helps to match your content with relevant holidays and celebrations. Join latest trends too – for example, a Pokémon and Stranger Things themed posts have worked well for brands these past weeks.
6. Engage your audience
Find ways to spark conversations on your accounts, share stories, information and encourage your audience to share theirs, too.
a. Contests – Promos and giveaways can be a strategic way to increase your following. Have a most likes contest or tag a friend to a post and win a freebie. Find what works best for the product.
b. Goodwill posts – Posting life tips and other useful information that is not solely about your product can make customers appreciative of your help.
c. Humor – inject a little fun to your captions if you can. A good laugh never hurt.
7. Geotags and hashtags
Make it easy for your customers to find you by using hashtags and geotags. Determine one or two to use consistently and stick to it.
8. Look at the numbers
Look at your results and see what posts your audience responds to best. This will help you plan your future content and see if your strategy works. Once you have the data, adjust accordingly.
Facebook gives this data for free, but there are great apps at minimal cost that you can use, too. Check out Hootsuite, Buffer, and Honeypot!