Editor's Note: This post was originally published in July 2013 and was updated with additional information in October 2023.
If you’re new to social media marketing and feeling overwhelmed, you aren’t alone. Chances are you initially treated social media like a door-to-door salesman - if you ignore them long enough, they’ll go away. But unlike that salesman, social media isn’t going anywhere. Social media also doesn’t depend on you and will continue to flourish whether you participate or not.
If you want to grow your business - or even just your personal brand - on the Internet, you need to start attempting to understand social media.
With that in mind, here are a few social media marketing tips to help you get started:
There’s no sense in burning yourself out before you know what you’re doing, so when you decide to give social media a try, don’t immediately sign up for every social media platform this side of Pinterest. Start small. Dip your toes into the water to test the temperature before you dive in.
The easiest way to do this is by selecting one platform and only branching out once you get the hang of it. No, you don’t need to get thousands of followers on Instagram before you add Facebook or LinkedIn to the mix, but at least make sure you feel comfortable with your social persona before developing a second one.
Tip: Use your intuition and start with the platform that makes the most sense to you. It doesn’t have to make a lot of sense; choose the one you think you understand the best (hint: it doesn’t matter if you actually understand, it’ll still make things psychologically easier).
Don’t worry; social media isn’t all that. There’s nobody special you need to impress. The easiest thing to do is be yourself. If you’re serious, be serious; if you aren’t funny, don’t try to be funny. The worst thing you can do is come across as insincere - just be genuine, and you’ll connect with the same people you’d connect with in real life. Also, just like life, social media is a two-way street. If you make it all about you and don’t engage with other people, you’ll soon realize that the only one who is listening to you is you.
Tip: Social media is real life. It’s one giant meeting place that’s perpetually ongoing. If you treat social media as a real place with real people and you act like the real you, you’ll have success.
Successful social media marketing strategies are dependent on the content you produce and the authenticity of that content. By being yourself, your social profiles resonate with real people who feel connected and invested in you and your social content.
Do Some Research
Understand your audience's preferences, behaviors, and the best times to post content. This research will guide your content strategy and increase engagement.
Once you understand your audience, competitors, and social media platforms, you can develop a content strategy tailored to your needs. And you can develop a social media strategy tailored to your specific needs and goals by researching. This will help you reach your target audience and achieve your business objectives.
Tip: Don't forget that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If you find a competitor or business doing the type of social media marketing you like, see how you can imitate it for your business while still keeping a consistent brand tone and voice.
Invest in Interactive Content
Interactive content encourages users to engage with it in some way. This could be by voting in a poll, answering questions in a quiz, or participating in a live video. Interactive content performs better than static content because it is more engaging and fun to consume. It also encourages two-way communication between your brand and your audience.
When creating interactive content, it is essential to keep your audience in mind. What kind of content are they interested in? What type of content will encourage them to engage? Ensuring your interactive content is high-quality and accessible to use is also essential.
Investing in interactive content is a great way to engage your audience and boost your social media presence. By creating interactive content that is relevant and engaging to your audience, you can encourage them to interact with your brand and learn more about your products or services.
Adapt these tips to your business or brand and continuously evaluate and adjust your social media strategy for optimal results.
Become More Efficient
To become more efficient with your social media marketing, consider the following steps:
- Set a Posting Schedule: Establish a consistent posting schedule to keep your content organized and engage your audience regularly. This helps maintain a cohesive online presence.
- Create a Social Media Strategy: Develop a well-defined strategy with clear objectives and goals. Without a strategy, it's challenging to measure success and effectiveness.
- Optimize Workflow: Streamline your social media workflow by using tools and automation. This can help you save time and manage your social media presence more efficiently.
- Share Resources Company-Wide: Collaborate within your organization by sharing social media resources and tools, fostering team efficiency.
- Platform-Specific Strategies: Tailor your content and approach to each social media platform. Consistency is vital, but your strategy should adapt to the unique characteristics of each platform.
As you become a social media expert, you’ll quickly go from being intimidated by the learning curve to being overwhelmed by how much time you’re investing. That’s where a tool like PromoRepublic or Buffer comes in. These tools allow you to space out your updates across multiple platforms throughout the day from one location.
Tip: There are other alternatives to PromoRepublic and Buffer, most of which are just as helpful. Find something that works for you and go with it; it'll be a huge time-saver and organizer.
Being effective and efficient are two different things, especially when it comes to using social media platforms. Setting up an effective social media marketing strategy is the building block of your campaign. If it works, it works. It's effective. Being efficient with your social media networks means minimizing the time spent on social media while your platform works for you behind the scenes. It runs without your constant input, but that comes with time. Starting social media marketing for small businesses is one thing, but setting yourself up for success in the long run requires an efficient system.
Set up and improve your social media marketing goals by making them measurable. By utilizing social media metrics that matter, you can define your social media niche and plan accordingly.
Leverage the 4 Cs of Social Media Marketing
The 4 C's of social media marketing can be used as a framework to ensure a brand's presence on social media platforms is efficient and interesting. The 4 C's are:
- Content: Refers to the information and messages brands share on social media platforms. Quality content should be relevant, valuable, and compelling to the target audience. It should promote a product or service and educate, entertain, or inspire the audience. This can include blog posts, videos, infographics, and more.
- Conversation: Social media is a two-way communication channel. Brands must actively engage with their audience by responding to comments, participating in discussions, or hosting Q&A sessions. This encourages a sense of community and can lead to increased brand loyalty.
- Community: Building a robust and engaged community around your brand can be one of the most valuable assets in social media marketing. This community becomes a group of loyal followers or advocates who can help amplify your brand's message, provide feedback, and even defend your brand against negative feedback.
- Connection: This emphasizes the importance of establishing meaningful relationships with followers, other brands, or influencers in your industry. By connecting and collaborating with others, brands can expand their reach, enhance their credibility, and tap into new audiences.
When effectively combined, these 4 C's can guide a brand toward a successful and holistic social media marketing strategy.
Go Forth and Be Social
Social media isn't as complicated or ineffective as its detractors like to think, and the only way you’ll ever really know is if you try it out for yourself. Social media marketing is only what you make of it! But here’s the thing: ease into it!
If you need help getting started, the team at WSI is here to help—get in touch!