Snarky, informative, personal, professional--these are just a few of the adjectives that could be used to describe the social media presence of businesses today. Whatever tone your business uses, you can set your business above the competition by using social media to carry your marketing messages (or any messages) to your audience.
Steps to Building a Strong Social Media Presence
The key? Use your social media channels to engage with your customers and fans. Use it actively and consistently to reach out to your current audience and reach new ones.
Why Use Social Media in Your Business?
You might be asking yourself, why should I include social media in my digital marketing strategy in the first place? Why not a newsletter or email? The answer is in the numbers.
Social media has an ever-expanding reach. Take Facebook as an example. As of June 30, 2018, Facebook had 1.47 billion daily active users and 2.23 billion monthly active users. Looking at those numbers, can you afford not to use social media?
Businesses, government agencies, charitable organizations and more can all benefit from social media. Take the Orem, Utah Police Department (OPD) Facebook page as an example. The current population in Orem, Utah is around 97,839. The OPD Facebook page has over 48,000 followers. That’s a little under half of their city’s population—an impressive number of constituents.
Why might they need a Facebook page? Well, they frequently post photos regarding crimes, important information for citizens and more. In turn, their followers identify suspects, help connect lost children with parents and more.
Part of their success in getting a high number of followers is their approach to social media. They employ a lighthearted, sometimes snarky tone that engages their followers. They have “felony Fridays”, share photos, give the public a rundown of the exciting things that happened in “daily shenanigans” and more.
To give you a taste, their “daily shenangians” posts always end with,
“Keep your rage in a cage, if it’s not yours don’t touch it, eat it don’t tweet it, hugs not drugs and the more you weigh the harder you are to kidnap.”
A quick scroll through their posts and you’ll see many more examples of their tone (as shown in the screenshot below.)
They present an excellent example of the potential social media poses for entities engaging with their audience. As a juxtaposition, the larger neighboring city of Provo, Utah also has a police department Facebook page, but only around 13,500 followers, less than a third of the OPD. The OPD Facebook page is so popular, they get requests from nearby police departments to help identify suspects they’re looking for as well.
Making the Most of Social Media
It works for police department, but can it work for you? The answer is yes. First, you must have your social media up and running and be using it consistently. If you’re strapped for time, pick the top one or two social media channels that work best for your business and focus your efforts on those.
If it’s too much trouble to use social media daily with all your other to do list items, consider setting aside a block of time each week to plan out your social media posts for a week or month at a time. Then execute that campaign with a minimal daily time investment or utilize a software or program to make the posts for you.
You might also consider running a social media promotion to garner more followers and extend your following to more people. I’ve followed many local businesses on social media due to a giveaway or promotion that a friend or acquaintance shared or posted about.
In many ways social media is the new “word of mouth.” Friends and family approach each other on social media outlets to ask for business recommendations and share their good (or bad) experiences and more.
In addition to your own social media presence, don’t be afraid to engage with other local businesses on social media. You might find working together with other businesses a beneficial way to help raise awareness in a market share you haven’t been exposed to yet. I frequently find businesses promoting one anothers products on social media, creating a win-win situation for both.
One newsworthy example of businesses engaging with one another on social media took place in the UK between two museums. The two institutions battled it out on social media over which museum could top the other. (Screenshot below.) Bringing humor, images and more into their interaction brought attention to both.
Outperforming the Competition
Consistency and frequency can help you stand apart from your competitors to get more customers. Say you’re in the dry-cleaning business and you keep your social media updated with your hours of operation, specials, helpful tips and more. If your competitor hasn’t posted in a few weeks, but you posted that morning—someone local to your area will be more likely to reach out to the business that seems in business.
Also, as referenced above, don’t be afraid to employ a more personable tone on social media. You can talk about industry topics and give insight or opinion. You can engage your followers by posting questions and responding to their comments. This article from Forbes has more ways to engage with your customer base on social media.
Conclusion - Building a Strong Social Media Presence
Engaging regularly on social media creates brand awareness for your business and carries your message far and wide. Don’t be afraid to be personable with your audience and be quick to respond to comments and feedback. In short order you’ll begin to see the benefits of social media for your business.
Our guest author, Rachel Stones specializes in helping small businesses succeed by offering advice and tips to make their ventures even better. She spends her time writing for the Built for Teams PTO Tracking blog, when she doesn’t have her head stuck in a book.