10 Fundamentals of Using Social Media Effectively for Your Business

Using social media effectively is something that a lot of businesses struggle with. There are many reason for this but often it’s simply because it’s treated as an afterthought with no real plan in place for how to use it properly.

If this sounds familiar, then below are ten fundamentals that will help you get the most out of social media.

1. Post the right type of content

When thinking about the type of content you post on social media, it’s incredibly important to recognise why people use it. When people are using social media, it’s usually because they’re looking for something interesting they can share – whether it’s a picture, video or article; or because they want to connect with others.

You’ll notice that neither of these motivations involves buying products. Therefore, you should put a focus on creating and sharing content that will be of true value and interest to your audience.

It’s fine to promote your products and services sometimes but if your entire social media presence is about self-promotion then you’re not going to get the benefit out of it that you otherwise would.

2. Limit the number of platforms you use

There are dozens of social media platforms you could use to promote your business but using a scattergun approach usually isn’t a good idea. Instead it’s much better to focus your efforts on a handful of platforms that are suited to the type of business you run and the audience you want to reach.

Facebook and Twitter are suited to all types of businesses so they should always be where you start. Other than this you’ll perhaps want to use a visual platform – Instagram being the best example. LinkedIn is also excellent for creating personal connections with influencers in your industry.

3. Excellent branding is vital

Due to the nature of how social media works, people can easily come across one of your posts without having ever heard of your company. In such a scenario, you want to make the best first impression possible. This is where great branding comes in.

Nearly all social media platforms give you the ability to add your own header/cover graphic as well as an icon. You want to make sure that you have a consistent image across all the social media platforms that you’re active on. It’s worth paying a graphic designer to brand your social media accounts professionally.

4. Customise your content to the platform

One of the biggest mistakes that businesses make when it comes to social media is taking a uniform approach to the content they post, regardless of the site they’re posting to. For example, content that works well on Twitter might not be as appealing to Facebook users.

As well as thinking about the type of content you should post on each platform, you should also optimise any images you use so they’re the right size for the site you’re posting on.

5. Make your content visual

Visual social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest have grown massively over the last few years. Facebook and Twitter have also put a much bigger emphasis on visual content in recent years too.

Infographics are an excellent form of visual content to share. What makes infographics so effective is that they manage to convey complex information in a way that’s interesting and easy to digest. Infographics are also extremely shareable and if your infographic goes viral, it could do wonders for your brand.

6. Post at the right times

Having a posting schedule is extremely important when using social media, after all consistency is what helps you build a following. Success isn’t just dependent on how often you post though, but also on what times you post.

There are peak times to post on social media that differ for each platform. There are some excellent tools that give you insights as to when the best time to post for each platform is. Establishing this habit will help you reach the most people and build your brand faster.

7. Write great headlines

When sharing an article you’ve written on social media, your headline is the single most important thing. Your article might be the best one there is on the subject but if your headline is weak then no one is going to click on it.

Writing great headlines is a skill that you get better at with practice, just like anything else. As a general rule you want to evoke some kind of emotion with your headline, whether it’s fear, excitement, joy or curiosity. Headlines that include a number always do well, which is why you see so many list posts online.

8. Learn from the best

Whatever industry your business occupies; they’ll be examples of companies that are already using social media very effectively. Learn everything you can from these businesses since they are clearly doing something that works, and more importantly appeals to the audience you want to reach.

9. Measure your results

Measuring your results is essential if you want to know how you can improve the strategies you’re using.

The most obvious metric to measure is the number of followers you have on each platform. This is of course a very clear measure of how popular your social accounts are but it’s not the only thing to pay attention to. Engagement is just as, if not more important than the number of followers you have.

Sales are another obvious measurement of success although it can be hard to correlate sales directly with social media unless you’re using a paid advertising service, such as Facebook’s Pay Per Click (PPC).

10. Have a clear plan for what you want to achieve

The main reasons that businesses use social media are –

1. To increase sales
2. To build brand awareness
3. To build connections
4. To improve organic search results (SEO)
5. To improve customer service

When you set out at the start, you should have a clear plan and know exactly what success looks like. Maybe you want to offer a more personal touch with your customer service via Twitter; or you might want to use Instagram to help build your brand recognition in a very visual way. Whatever the case you should be clear about what your goals are from the start.

It would be great to hear your thoughts and success stories in using social media or your feedback on Grant McGregor’s social media presence.

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