Getting Started on Social Media:
- Just like Traditional Networking, social media networking takes time and multiple interactions to develop relationships.
- Have a Plan. Know your target audience and how to reach them. Decide how you will measure success. (see more below)
- Mere Exposure Theory is used in advertising and translates to social media also. “The mere-exposure effect is a psychological phenomenon by which people tend to develop a preference for things merely because they are familiar with them.”(Wikipedia) So, the more often people see your name and your brand, the more likely they are to pay attention to your message.
- Viewer Fatigue. People will tune out your message if it is too repetitive. Vary the message and vary the medium. Anything too familiar eventually becomes “background noise”.
- 8 Second Attention Span. A Microsoft study found that our attention span is shorter then ever. In fact, the latest trend in TV ads are 6 second commercials. Remember this concept when making video or info-graphics for social media.
Social Media Audiences
- Think outside your typical social media outlet. LinkedIn seems like a natural for B2B business, but you can also get leads from Facebook…and this will help you with Mere Exposure. That mom who is on the PTA with you, also is a lawyer that could become your client. The guy who sits next to you at church, knows a friend who needs your service. Facebook could be the perfect way to get your message across to them. No matter your type of business, try to link to potential customers. If you have a visual product or service, think about Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. And finally, Google+ is a must for small businesses, as it will help with SEO.
- Keep business and personal separate. Posts about employees having fun at work, celebrating their successes, having birthday’s, etc. are fine. But, keep really “personal” conversations off of business sites. I see this sort of mistake mostly with small businesses. So, when using Facebook, have your personal page and a separate business page.
When to Post to Social Media
- There are specific times and days that work best for each outlet. (see this PDF for specifics)
- Think about what your audiences’ schedule is like. Schedule posts for when your audience has the time to view it.
- Use HootSuite to help schedule posts at the perfect time for your audience. They have a free version available if you only use 3 social media outlets.
How Often to Post on Social Media
Make it a daily focus. Put time aside on your calendar each day, even if it’s just 15 minutes reading a trade magazine or business news from which you share articles. Remember, you can schedule posts to coordinate with your audiences’ schedules.
Best Content to Get Noticed
- Don’t sell… Educate. You are an expert, prove it to your followers.
- Re-post good content. But don’t just re-post something because you like the headline. Be sure to read it first to make sure it is high quality. Also, make comments about the article prior to posting it, so you add some value for your followers.
- View your followers profiles and comment based on information you see on their wall and their posts.
- Always thank businesses or people who share your work, and congratulate others on their successes.
- Trends to try for 2017 include: real-time engagement, social commerce, live-streaming video and using data driven decision making.
Social Media ROI
- One of the more elusive aspects of social media marketing is deciding how to measure success. Since being “social” inherently means “interacting”, track your interactions. The experts suggest setting goals based on the number of shares, comments, re-blogs, invites to guest blog, etc.
- Test different types of messages to determine how your audience responds.
- Use the statistics that each social media outlet provides to get insight on the individual outlet’s performance.
- Not all outlets will be equally productive, BUT think of mere exposure and viewer fatigue theories. Even if some social media outlets don’t perform as well as others, variety is the key to success. As long as you get some interaction, keep posting what works. Allocate your time based on the returns.
As technology advances, so does social media. Be sure to keep up on social media best practices each year.