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Leveraging Social Media for Your Business

You may also view the original article in The Huffington Post here.

Photo by obostudiohamburg

Photo by obostudiohamburg

A Standard for Business

Social media has become one of the most effective advertising channels by far, making it a standard for virtually any business to have a social media presence. But just because you’re on Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and/or any other platform does not mean you’re reaching potential customers. Many businesses also struggle with finding ways to leverage social media to their advantage. Do I pay for ads? Do I just post photos and videos? How else can I get my business out there for people to know it exists? The truth is, it really all depends on the type of business which also determines who your market is.

Selecting the Right Platform

Each social media platform has their strong points and serves different purposes. One of the first steps toward choosing the right platform is by figuring out who your target market is. Are they teenagers? Baby boomers? The next step is figuring out what you plan on using social media for. Is it to share content? To interact with your customers? (you should be doing both) Below are a few examples of different platforms, their strong-points, and purposes.

Tumblr: Serves as a blogging platform that’s more focused on content curation rather than content creation like that of Wordpress. The majority of Tumblr users are also teenagers so if your market consists of baby boomers, this isn’t the platform for you.

Twitter: Is a micro-blogging platform that allows you to “Tweet” short messages (limited to 140 characters) that can reach a very large audience. It’s a great way to engage with your customers and share updates. If interacting with your customers is important to you and your business (which I hope it is), then Twitter is something you’d definitely want to be on.

Instagram: Has become one of the strongest advertising channels to date. Geared toward photo/video sharing, this platform will help make your brand more visible to your market. Like Twitter, Instagram utilizes #hashtags which can be a very effective tool for getting noticed. Just be sure not to go overboard! Depending on your type of business, geotagging is another useful feature that allows users to add their location when posting a photo/video. Instagram is also full of brand influencers in different niche markets that could definitely help generate new leads and continue to build your brand.

Social Media Advertising

Setting up a social media advertising campaign is fairly simple but doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be effective. Facebook is one of the main platforms to advertise on and if you plan on creating Instagram ads, you will also need a Facebook page. Facebook provides you with basic instructions on how to create an ad and for different purposes (ie. to increase page “likes,” to drive traffic to your website, to promote individual posts, etc.). In order for these ads to be effective and giving you the best ROI, you’ll want to customize each campaign based on your needs.

Location: Before deciding where you want your ads to be seen you have to know where you want your product(s) or service(s) to be delivered. If you’re a local retail store in Los Angeles, CA looking for foot traffic, chances are you don’t want your ads to be seen in Russia. If you offer to ship but don’t want to ship internationally, then you’ll want to keep your ads within the United States. You can also exclude certain areas which is beneficial for narrowing down where your clients are more likely not to be. Just like when deciding where to open up a business, “location, location, location.” The same applies to advertising.

Interests: This is one of my favorite features Facebook allows you to target. You are able to target users who have an interest in Facebook pages related to your product/service. For example, if you’re a business selling video games you can target users who have an interest in video games, game consoles, etc. Another great feature is the ability to exclude users based on their interests. If you’re looking to show ads to new potential customers, then you can exclude users who already have an interest in your page.

Age: One of the basic features of many advertising platforms is the ability to advertise to certain age groups. This should be a no-brainer for most. You wouldn’t be advertising Viagra to teenagers. And you most likely wouldn’t be advertising the latest in technology to users over 65. Keep in mind that even though there are some customers that fall outside your age demographic, when advertising you want to show ads to people that are more inclined to buying your product/service.

Placement: Do you want your ads to be shown on desktops? Mobile devices? Or both? Generally, you can’t go wrong advertising on both but this can also be used to your advantage. If you’re trying to advertise a mobile app, you’re better off showing your ads on mobile devices and making the most out of your budget.

Imagery: The image(s) you use in your ads are very crucial because it’s usually the first thing consumers see before reading the ad copy and takes up the most real estate. If you want consumers to read what you have to say, you better have good imagery to catch their attention. Also note that if your image(s) contain(s) too much text, Facebook may limit the number of times your ad(s) are shown. So be light on image text.

Social Media Influencers

How many times have you seen users with a large following post product reviews or advertisements to get their followers to check out what they’re promoting? Brands have been utilizing many strong social media influencers to get more exposure as well as generate new sales. I’ve worked with many of these influencers and have seen the incredible results they’re able to produce. Kylie Rae (Instagram @kylieeerae) is a prime example of a great social media influencer (and model) that I’ve had the opportunity to work with.

Social Proof: We make many of our decisions based off of what other people do. If a new brand of watches is released, most people will disregard it at first but once they see these influencers promoting it, they become more receptive.

Engagement Rates: This is a very important aspect you must take into consideration before hiring a social media influencer to advertise your product/service. The main purpose of spending any money in advertising is to gain the highest ROI possible. So what happens if you pay Jane Doe $5,000 to post about your product for a week and you only get 1 customer that’s valued at $100? You’d be pretty upset! And chances are, her social media followers are fake or don’t engage with her content at all. So checking the engagement rate should be the first step toward hiring an influencer.

Simple Formula:

  1. Find their most recent post that’s around 1 day old.
  2. Add the total number of “likes” with the total number of comments together on that post.
  3. Divide that sum by the total number of followers the user has.
  4. Multiply that number by 100 and that’s your engagement rate percentage. Good engagement rates should be 3% and above but anywhere between 2% and 3% is considered ideal.

Final Thoughts

There are many factors to consider when using social media for business. When done correctly, you’re connecting with a very large market. So take advantage of these platforms! This was just an overview of the potentials of using social media, if you’d like help with maximizing your campaigns or even just getting things set-up and running, you can contact us here.

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