Most of us now use Facebook for social interactions in our personal lives. But if you're setting out to use the platform - or any other social media - to promote your business, the process and implementation can be intimidating.
You want to engage with your audience so that they feel an affinity for your brand, and think of you first when making future purchases. But how do you build and nurture a real fanbase who'll actively seek you out and want to hear from you?
Our 5 Golden Rules of social media for businesses will help you confidently plan, post and promote yourself.
Use these tips as inspiration for a foolproof social media business strategy, or talk to us today on 3891 3800 to see how we can help.
1) Be genuine
If you only remember one rule, make it this. The importance of being genuine on social media cannot be underestimated. The key question you should ask yourself before posting any kind of update or content is: "Is this genuinely of interest to my audience? And does it align with my brand?"
Remember, once your business is on social media it almost takes on a life and personality of its own. That means everything you post must be true to your business 'identity' that you project out into the world.
Some examples of being genuine are: posting funny content that you think your audience will enjoy, offering social media-only discounts and special offers, helping customers out with their queries, and responding to any criticism (and there will be criticism!) quickly and in a positive way.
Examples of non-genuine behaviour include: not interacting with your customers, scheduling multiple posts and tweets in advance, posting about the same subject too often, and bombarding the audience with your views without trying to find out theirs.
2) Have a good balance of promotional and non-promotional content
No one likes to hang out with friends who only talk about themselves. And the same goes for social media.
Of course, your audience wants to hear about your business or they wouldn't have followed you in the first place. But they also want to know what makes your company 'human': the things you find funny, details about your workplace, your personality, and your values.
When preparing a social media strategy for our clients, we usually advise that just 1 out of every 5 posts should be promotional – the rest should be casual, interesting content that makes your audience think, laugh, share, and hopefully, start a conversation with you.
3) If you think it's boring, then chances are your audience will too
Don't post content just for the sake of it. If you don't have anything to say, check online for exciting industry news, interesting photos or anything else of note.
Remember that many social media platforms, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and Vine, are extremely visual. So it's important to find ways to present your content that will get people's attention. Infographics, videos, typography and photos are great for this – so get creative, and start thinking about how you can tell your brand's story in a more visual way.
Before posting anything, ask yourself: "Would I like this if I saw it in my newsfeed?" If the answer is no, then chances are your audience will feel the same. Challenge yourself to create the very best content possible.
4) Social media is just like real life (and all the same rules apply)
In its most basic form, social media is simply you, a business owner or manager, interacting with another person: your customer. Sometimes it's easy to get a bit confused and overwhelmed about the right way to behave when using social media. But the truth is, you should conduct yourself exactly as you would in real life – because this is just another type of social interaction, and all the usual rules apply.
Ask questions. Be interested in the responses. When people reach out to you by starting a conversation, whether it's commenting on your photo, sending you a private message or writing on your wall, don't forget to reply! Be polite, be genuine, be cool. Be yourself.
Remember that behind every social profile lies another person, and you really can't go wrong.
5) You don't need to be on EVERY platform – just the ones where your customers are already hanging out
Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Vine... it can seem like the list of social networks that your business 'should' be on is endless.
But actually, it's a far better strategy to focus your time and effort on the platforms that your target audience is already using, and that suit your business, rather than having a half-hearted presence across them all. For example, a visual, B2C business such as a florist shop would suit platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, while a technical B2B business such as a mining company would be more suited to platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+.
Scout out what your competitors are doing, and see where other companies in your niche are doing well – and where they're falling a bit flat.
Why should you spend time and resources on social media anyway?
Today, a social media presence has become a necessity rather than a luxury for businesses.
By using the right social media platforms, your business will benefit from increased customer loyalty and trust, increased brand awareness, improved social signals (which are a major ranking factor when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation), and increased audience reach and influence.
If you'd like to see what the right social media strategy can do for your business, we'd love to hear from you. Give us a call on (07) 3891 3800 and our expert Brisbane marketing agency team will talk you through your options.