Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade, you know that social media is a huge part of our lives now. Chances are high that you use social media yourself and maybe even have a page on Facebook for your business. Did you know that social media can actually help your business grow? The opportunity for marketing your business and reaching more customers through social media is exciting! Understanding social media essentials for businesses can lead you to greater marketing effectiveness and a wider reach.

Consider these statistics on social media usage from Hubspot:

  • Over 3 billion people use social media worldwide.
  • Over half (54%) of social media users research products on social platforms.
  • Almost three fourths (74%) of Facebook users check the platform on a daily basis.
  • 96% of Facebook users access the platform on mobile.

It’s incredibly important for you as a business leader to understand these realities and determine how they impact your business. Here’s the truth: whatever your business is, your customers are on social media. The question is: how will you respond?

Implementing best practices can help you take full advantage of the power of social platforms. We’ve developed six social media essentials for businesses to get you started.

“Know Thy Customers”

Sun Tzu famously encouraged his readers to “know thine enemyin his book The Art of War. While your customers are certainly not your enemies (in fact, quite the opposite), the same principle applies. Knowing your target audience, your ideal customer, is just a business basic. Social media takes it another step further. You need to know who you are trying to reach with your product/service. You also need to know where to find them online and what kind of content will engage with them and draw them in.

Knowing your audience means more than just determining their demographic characteristics. It takes more than knowing that your audience is “middle-aged women” or “families with children between 6-12”. Demographics are great places to start but your product/service should be marketed to people with specific needs and values. What do your customers need specifically? Where do they seek solutions to their need? Understanding these types of things, at each stage of the marketing process, will help you properly direct your social media marketing to the right people.

Connect on the Right Platform

In addition to knowing who your audience is and what their specific needs are, you need to know where you can find them online. Not all social media is created equal for everyone. For example, younger people (ages 12-34) prefer Instagram over other social platforms. In fact, other social platforms like Facebook and Twitter have actually slightly declined in usage by young people in that age category. If your product or service appeals to young people in particular, your social media marketing strategy should reflect this reality.

Knowing where to connect with your audience is important but it’s only the beginning. You also need to know what kind of social content will engage them. Do they prefer videos? Articles? A photo gallery? These different types of content appeal to different people with different purposes. For example, someone seeking entertainment on social media will most likely be drawn in by a video. On the other hand, a businessperson on LinkedIn might be more engaged by a compelling article relating to a subject they are interested in. That’s why it’s important to know where and how to connect with your audience on social platforms.

Be Consistent

When it comes to publishing content to social media, consistency is key. Businesses that rarely publish content to social media lose trust with social followers. On the other hand, businesses that share too much also annoy social followers with oversharing. It’s imperative to get into a consistent rhythm of publishing content so that your followers notice your posts but don’t ignore them due to oversharing. This can be a tricky balance but a good rule of thumb is posting between two and three times a week, depending on which platform you are using. Developing a predetermined publishing schedule can really help nurture consistency.

The Spice of Life

Variety. It’s the “spice of life” and it’s absolutely essential for your business’ social media strategy. No one wants to keep seeing the same thing over and over again. It’s important to keep your social content engaging. You can bring variety to your social content by switching up the purpose of your posts (brand awareness, special offers, fun polls, educational resources), the medium (written article, video, photo gallery, audio podcast), or just design (colorful images, short written posts, minimalist layout, bullet points). The possibilities are endless for creative business leaders who have a mind for telling their story in unique and engaging ways.

Take Advantage of Paid Reach

In social media marketing, there are two terms used to describe reaching your customers: organic and paid. One example of organic reach is when your customers or followers see a post from you in their newsfeed. Paid reach, however, happens when you pay social platforms (like Facebook) to put your content in front of people who may not have previously interacted with your business. These are essentially social media ads.

Don’t neglect the opportunity to grow your business through social paid reach! Facebook is a great place to start since the platform arguably has the most comprehensive advertising system among social media platforms. You can easily “boost” a Facebook post to get wider visibility. Paid reach is one of many social media essentials for businesses because it is getting harder to improve your page’s organic reach due to changing algorithms. Taking advantage of paid reach is perhaps one of the most effective actions you can implement to grow your business on social media.

Social Media is Social

There’s a reason they call it social media, after all. The purpose of your business’ social media presence is to engage and connect with new and existing customers. One best practice is to respond to your followers through messages, comments, and posts. For instance, if you make a post about an upcoming offer and one of your followers comments with a question, make sure you respond to them! Brand responsiveness on social media contributes to almost half of social sales!

How do you do this effectively? What if someone is upset and turns to social media to complain about your business? Here are some specific tips for interacting with your followers and customers on social media.

Furthermore, your business can also build trust on social platforms by sharing reviews. This incorporates other people into your brand and adds an extra dimension of social trust and reliability to your business.

Parting Thoughts

Social media offers a wide (and deep) array of marketing opportunities for your business. If you neglect these platforms, you’re certainly missing out on the chance to build relationships with new customers. By following the tried and true best practices mentioned above, you can start building an effective social media presence for your business that will enable you to reach your audience more effectively. 

If you can take one action step from this social media overview, let it be this: get your business up and running on one social media platform that your audience uses regularly!

IX Publishing can help you share your story on social media and through the web in general! Our inbound marketing services will help you grow your business by attracting, converting, and delighting your audience. Reach out to us today and tell us more about your business!