Social Media for Dummies

Ahhhh…social media. Some of us love and embrace it. Some of us dread and wish it didn’t exist. Regardless of how you feel about it – it’s here to stay. Not only that, it’s essential for business today. Here at Sprout Marketing, we often hear things like, “There are too many social media platforms. Which ones are important?” Or “Social media takes way too much time!”

If you, too, have thought these same things, take heart! We’re here to help! In this article, we’ll share some guidance on how to utilize social media to benefit your business. Plus, we are always here to answer your questions and advise you on your social media activity and strategy. We can help you do certain things yourself, while executing and managing the other activities that you may not want to do, or don’t have time for.

LIMIT YOUR CHANNELS – (AT LEAST IN THE BEGINNING)

It does no good to have 8 social media accounts and then barely use or ignore them. Choose the two that your target audience uses most (obviously, you need to identify your best target customers). For some businesses, Facebook or Google + may be your knight in shining armor, for others Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn may better suit your needs.

Focus on doing a great job on these two platforms, providing value, education, positive messages – in other words, great content! (Not a writer? Hard time coming up with message ideas? Sprout can help, Take a Look.)

FOCUS ON ENGAGEMENT

Better to have a few hundred engaged viewers/followers, than a few thousand who ignore your posts and couldn’t care less about your business. Focus on content that speaks to and thus engages your target customers. Look at what successful competitors are doing. Follow their social feeds, and view the reactions they get. Keep people engaged with meaningful messages, helpful information, and the occasional humorous or lighthearted post. Remember – it’s not all about you. Constant promotional posts will turn people off. Share community news and events, industry statistics, and other content besides just things about your business.

GET CREATIVE WITH CONTENT

Like all good things that produce reward, you have to make a time and effort investment in writing great content for your website and social media. Digital marketing is no walk in the park if you’re new. You know that guy on LinkedIn whose posts you quickly scroll past? Or that Facebook friend you unfollowed so you wouldn’t see their posts? They weren’t sharing good messages. Don’t be that guy! You need to post thought-provoking questions, along with contests and surveys. Offer rewards for responding, prizes for winners. Incentivize people! “Share our event on your FB wall today and we’ll give you X”.

And so the gist of this article is, if you limit your social media platforms (at least, until you really have them down), and you consistently provide interesting, entertaining, and engaging content that is designed for YOUR audience, you’ll see your results improve. Then and only then should you add more platforms to your mix. (And if you can’t wait to add them, have Sprout Marketing handle the other platforms for you).

Social media shouldn’t be scary, or frustrating, and if it is, you know where to find us!