American author, Amy Jo Martin, encapsulates the crux of social media: “Social media is changing the way we communicate and the way we are perceived, both positively and negatively. Every time you post a photo, or update your status, you are contributing to your own digital footprint and personal brand.”
Social media has indeed revolutionised the way we communicate and who we are able to communicate with. We can meet people on the other side of the world – who we wouldn’t have otherwise met – thanks to platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the like. This has broadened our communities and increased the real-time interactions that we are able to have with these people. As long as they have access to the Internet and a device that they can access the social media platform, you can communicate with them. Time zones no longer play a factor.
This has had exponential benefits for providers for goods and services. No longer are they solely reliant on people coming past their shops to see what they have on offer. With the Internet and the relatively low cost of simple websites, businesses can marketing their wares to people all over the world and not just in the same geographical location that they are.
This means that social media, being forums for communication, have become platforms for digital marketers to market business’ products and/or services on. It’s become so popular that one’s social media rankings have become a very significant feature in helping to determine a company’s SEO positions. However, to make social media marketing have a tangible benefit in your organisation, there are a couple of best practices that you need to follow.
Advantages and best practices for social media
As mentioned previously, people on social media are there to connect. They are there to learn more about you, your business and what you stand for. They don’t want to be constantly marketed to.
So to make sure that you keep the social media community that you’ve done so much work at building, don’t constantly bombard them with pleas to buy your product. What this will tell them is that you have nothing better to say and, in actual fact, are desperate to make a sale. They’ll very soon get bored and will stop following you. Worse still, they may discourage their community from interacting with your brand.
So, to keep this from happening, interact freely with your audience. Comment on posts that influencers in your community make. (And avoid upselling one of your products when you do this!) Offer your opinion and share other people’s content. This will show your community that you are multi-dimensional and that you are worth developing a relationship with.
There are a great many social media platforms out there and there are more and more coming up every day. This doesn’t mean that you need to be on every single one of the social media platforms out there. Remember that social media platforms work best if there is a constant stream of original content on these platforms. So the more platforms you are on the more difficult that it will be to provide this constant stream of content. More than likely, you’ll end up abandoning all social media efforts because you can’t keep up.
To avoid this happening, choose two or three social media channels that are appropriate for your company and stick to a posting schedule that works for you. If you do this, you’ll be more likely to see consistent results from your social media plans.
Remember that your social media presence has to fulfil one overriding function and that is to provide qualified audiences for you to see your goods and services to. As social media has the ability to transcend time zones and geographical locations, social media marketing needs to form a cornerstone of your digital marketing strategy.
Want to learn more about social media marketing? The Digital School of Marketing’s Social Media Marketing Course gives students a thorough grounding in how to use social media in a way that’s right for your business. For more information, and to find out about our other online digital marketing courses, visit our website.
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