The Gateway for Your Brand: How to Manage a Social Media Strategy
In today’s digital-first world, it’s critical for brands to have a strong online presence. At the center is a social media strategy that, when properly managed, can act as a gateway to new customers and a point of reference for returning visitors. By creating profiles on popular social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, you are automatically expanding your internet footprint. But the question remains: are you being strategic about your presence?
It’s important to know that social media won’t generate new business on its own. Instead, it should be seen as one tool in your arsenal designed to increase visibility among your target audience. At the very least, it gives people proof that you exist and you have something of value to offer. But we don’t want the bare minimum. We want it to be the best it can be.
How the Top Social Businesses Do It
All businesses can learn a thing or two from the more socially active brands that have successfully turned their social media accounts into customer building, lead generating and influence building machines. Take a look at some of the brands you admire and you’ll be able to identify the core components that drive their social media strategy, including:
An Active Blog. Regular blog posts can help brands highlight their ideas through fresh and compelling content. More importantly, blogs are social engagement tools that make it easy for people to share your posts with others, which can drive among your other social media components.
Active Engagement on Two or More Social Media Platforms. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest or another platform, brands that engage with their audience on several platforms help humanize the brand and make for a better experience.
Not all brands require a Twitter account or have enough content to merit a blog, but for those with knowledge to share and an active audience on a certain platform, it’s worth the time investment.
Plenty of tools exist to help plan your social media activity. Websites like Hootsuite help you schedule posts in advance so you don’t have to worry about manually posting throughout the day. Although these tools are convenient, they are not meant to replace your active participation. If a current—or better yet, prospective—customer engages with your profile, responding in a timely manner will show followers that you’re there to help and address their inquiries. Sure, you can’t be readily available 24/7, but if you set a precedent of responding within certain hours, your audience will take notice.
Social media contacts who have moved along this process may be ready for more direct communication, so it is up to you to facilitate it. The most effective way is to utilize your website to create opt-in opportunities. You can do this by offering a subscription to a newsletter, a special offer for a free eBook, an invitation to a webinar—any sort of offer that gives value to your audience. Once they enter your database, you can gather more information from them and begin to communicate in a more direct approach through email, private social messaging or by phone. Remember: Social media is a step in a long journey toward earning new customers, but it’s an important step that lays the necessary groundwork.