Over the past few weeks we have been looking at a number of different social media tools and looking at the best ways that you can use a few of them — Email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram — to stay in touch with your customers and ensure that they become more engaged with you and your business.
With this in mind I want to give you four final practical tips to make sure that your social media efforts are successful.
- Make sure you have a firm goal in mind
The one thing that holds people back more than anything on social media is not having a firm idea of what they want to achieve. Before you invest a great deal of time, sit down and set yourself some measurable targets.
This could be any number of things. Perhaps you want to acquire more fans so that more people are regularly exposed to information about your business? You may want to encourage people to sign up to your email newsletter list or to donate to your not for profit. The fact is that you won’t get very far if you don’t plan these goals.
Be specific. Set a percentage increase or target number with your goal and make sure it is achievable. For example, how many fans do you want to add and by when, how much money do you want to raise in donations before a certain event?
- Don’t overstretch yourself
Although in the last few weeks we’ve told you about several different social media sites, don’t bite off more than you can chew. It’s much better to do one or two of the networks well than to do all of them in a mediocre way.
If you are stuck as to which network to start with, think about where your audience is. If you are a creative or design company a visual site like Pinterest might be the right for you, alternatively if you a business that provides services to other businesses then you might want to consider LinkedIn.
A word of caution, if your audience is on Facebook and you can’t stand using it, you are better off not using it (or delegating to a colleague who does like the site). If you try to force yourself to use a network you don’t like your audience will see through you and you won’t get the results you desire.
- Measure your results
For anyone to take your social media efforts seriously, including you, you must make sure you’re measuring your results. When you start to measure things like the growth in number of followers, or the number of people who like and share your content, you will know what is successful, be able to report that to stakeholders, and be able to improve your future efforts.
There are a great deal of online programs that will allow you to measure the impact of your social media efforts for a small fee. Before you shell out however, analytics for your business Facebook page are free for you to use and easy to decipher. Alternatively if you use a social media management tool like Hootsuite you can get good quality reports provided to your account.
- Be yourself on social media
As a final note: Be yourself. The businesses that are the most successful on social media are the ones that are authentic, and believe me, it is much easier for small businesses to be authentic on social media than for a big company with many employees.
People like people, and are more likely to trust someone they feel they know rather than faceless organisation or corporate brand which lacks personality. If your business is just based around you, don’t use your logo on social media, use a good and professional-looking photo of yourself. If you have a couple of people who monitor your account, end posts with your initials. These are just small things but it goes a long way to prove that you are human, and your customers will thank you for it.
What is clear is that using a number of different ways to stay in contact with your customers yields results, social media is a powerful channel to do this. Find out how you can use social media campaigns to grow your business using the Constant Contact Toolkit – get your free 60 day trial here and start today
I am the Marketing and Communities coordinator at Constant Contact UK. I blog about things social media related (and other cool stuff) and keep our social feeds up to date with loads of useful stuff for you and your business. I am also a part time mountain climber, cricket fan and font enthusiast.