With all the advice and information available to you about how to use social media to promote your business, it's difficult to know where to start. It's with that in mind that I've put together a short list of what I personally have found to be the three most valuable rules when promoting your brand or business using social media.
1. Lead with Value
What captures your attention as you scroll through your social media feeds? For me, whether it's a hilarious cat photo or a new movie trailer, the common element is value. Value can mean a lot of things, so here is how I define it within the context of marketing: communication that leaves me better off having received it
Some examples of valuable communication include:
- a video that entertained me
- a news story on a topic I care about
- an update about a product that I'm following
- a coupon that will save me money
- a chance to win an incredible prize
- a tutorial about how to do something
If your communication is valuable to one person, there's a good chance they know someone else who will find it valuable too and are that much more likely to share it. As tempting (and easy!) as it may be to repurpose existing promotional material and publish it on your business' Facebook page, ask yourself: "would I share this?" If the answer is "no," perhaps it's time to rethink your approach.
2. Know Your Audience
Before you can deliver value to your audience, naturally you need to know who your audience is in order to understand what they value. The most popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube provide helpful dashboards with demographic and other data about your audience. There are also a variety of 3rd-party tools that can analyze your audience against your competitors'. It's also critical to create personas or profiles of your ideal customers in order to better plan and segment your communications.
3. Start Conversations
This may seem obvious, but all too often I've seen this be one of the first things to go out the window when it comes to a company's social media presence. Posting dozens of times each week with heavy sales pitches and product messages, overwhelming their audience and tanking results in the process. Remember: social media is not a broadcast channel, it's a conversation with your current and potential customers. Ask questions and engage your followers - you just might learn something new.