This article delves into some tips your business should adopt to make the most of social media and use it to your advantage. This is, by no means, an exhaustive list of best practices but will hopefully give you some ideas.

1. Make a commitment to stick with social media

There’s no doubt social media is a powerful tool for reaching out to and connecting with your audience but it takes a certain level of commitment for it to work well. It takes time to build your audience and create great, engaging content that resonates with them.

Unfortunately, many businesses have quit using social media as a marketing tool after just a few months mainly because it wasn’t working for them right away. Just like a certain famous shampoo commercial once said, “It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.” It can take at least 8-12 months to establish a solid following and consistent content stream. You may not see any results after just a few weeks, or even months but be patient!

Your efforts on social media are for cultivating connections and building relationships through your channels, which takes a certain level of commitment and dedication. Those connections and relationships are very valuable in helping your business grow. If you are willing to put the time in, you’ll reap the benefits. So, STICK WITH IT!

2. Set time aside to plan, create and schedule your content

With some proactive forward-planning, it’s quite within the realm of possibility to have thriving social media channels. Devoting time each week or month to planning, creating and scheduling the content for your social media channels gives an element of structure to your marketing efforts and makes the task a lot less overwhelming.

Be sure to utilise the online resources available – many of which are free! Here at Bright Light Marketing, we personally love using tools like Airtable for planning and compiling our content, Canva for creating quick and simple graphics and content aggregators such as Feedly or Flipboard for finding articles relevant to your industry.

Using a scheduling tool to schedule your content takes away the stress of having to remember to post to your accounts regularly. With tools like Buffer, you input your already written content, add images/videos/links, set the date and time and the posts are published for you. Voila! This is not “set-and-forget” though. You still need to be present to engage in any comments or messages resulting from your posts.

3. Focus your efforts on select platforms

You should be focusing your efforts on the platforms that will benefit your business the most. Many business owners think they need to be on all the social media platforms, but this isn’t true. The fact is, not all platforms are suited to your business! If your business is product-based, it may be more suited to visual platforms such as Instagram or Pinterest, whereas service-based businesses might perform better on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn.

Take the time to get to know who your customers are and which social media platforms they are using. Does the platform they use make sense for your business? Can that platform be used to boost your brand? If you are unsure of the demographics of each social platform, download the latest version of the Sensis Social Media Report to see where your target market is hanging out. Websites like Social Media News also have up-to-date social media statistics for Australian users.

4. Build trust and credibility with your audience

There is no quick-fix to building a trusting and dedicated audience on social media – it takes time. To begin cultivating that trust, you should be delivering high-quality, relevant content tailored to your target audience. Be consistent with your content.

This should go without saying but never, ever make things up or over-exaggerate just to sound impressive. In the long run, this can actually do more harm than good. And nobody likes a bragger, even on social media. Those posts with over-dramatic sensationalised headlines not only sound ridiculous and fake, but the story is also usually boring and very anticlimactic! Not to mention Facebook for one is now penalising pages that do this by not showing their posts to people. Don’t be that guy. Always deliver the content the headline promises.

It’s perfectly OK to be yourself on social media – be authentic! Do the right thing by your audience, every time – be honest! And always do what you’ve said you were going to do – be accountable! Over time your audience will learn to place their trust in you.

5. Don’t be afraid to let your personality show

Never be afraid to let your personality show through your social media channels. This is the real you and this is who your audience want to do business with. Allow the true YOU to shine through in your online persona. If you’re the happy-go-lucky, bright and bubbly type, bring that enthusiasm to your content and let that be the voice of your brand.

Your audience wants to connect with you so pull from your life experiences to find something relatable to share with them. This is your chance to be a storyteller! Your audience needs to know they are doing business with a real human and not an automated robot so let them get to know the person behind the business.

6. Listen to your audience

Are you truly listening to what your audience is saying? They may be telling you what they want from you but you aren’t hearing it? By actively listening to your audience and what they are saying to you via comments, direct messages, phone calls, and about you on social media, forums, etc, you can gauge a better understanding of what it is your target market wants from you and then adjust your products or services to suit.

Another great reason to listen to your audience is so you can take any questions they are asking and turn it into quality, informative content. For example, a question about your product/service could become an entire blog post or infographic.

Make use of the many tools available for monitoring your brand. Monitoring is searching the internet to see what is being said about your business or products/services. There are tools to automate this process, such as Google Alerts and Hootsuite, so you aren’t spending days trawling the web. Again, by learning what people are saying about your products or services, you can use this information to be more responsive to mentions and enhance your business.

If you found this post to be of any value, please share it within your business circles. We wish you all the best with your social media efforts, however, if you still feel as though managing your own social media is too much, give us a call to discuss your needs and how Bright Light Marketing can help!

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