Guest Post by Paul Ritterbush
Marketing on Social Media is necessary today for making your brand visible. People are very active on social media, and it would be a waste not to plant your flag in the ground for users to peruse your service or product. Social media encompasses many platforms, including (but not limited to) Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest. Some tips I give for maximizing your impact on social media marketing are universal in that they apply to all platforms while other tips concern a particular platform. Let’s begin with universal tips.
Using keywords goes a little further than just distilling what you know about your service or product into single words. You also need to consider what you’re marketing from the perspective of a potential client. That is, what would someone who looks for the solution that you offer search in google in order to come to your service or product? Research a little on the common words that set your industry or niche apart from others. Consider the type of people you want to reach–are they limited to a certain location, industry, or need?
Most importantly, once you know your keywords, be sure to use those keywords often enough in your posts, updates, and links to social media. This way, you don’t get people hitting on your site who don’t want what you offer, and you don’t have people who want what you offer completely missing your site.
Tell Your Story
People like compelling stories, where doubts are overcome, risks were taken, challenges faced or needs to be met. What is your or your company’s story? Telling your story can go a long way toward building both an understand and a feel to your brand. Why your founders came together to start your company, or how you first noticed the needs of your industry or just your vision for what your company aims to do are all aspects of your story to know, refine, and bring up in different ways as you market your brand on social media. For storytelling, be sure to lock on to the specifics, and, if possible, make use of direct quotes from the founders or execs of your company. Be sure not to go overboard with tired expressions such as that your company “revolutionizes” this or that, or that it “changes the world.” Instead, show the specific passions that identify why your company continues to clock in day after day for work. Keep your story factual and believable, of course, but also, convey a sense of love, wonder, and ambition for what you and your company does.
Tips for Particular Social Media Platforms
let’s look at particular popular social media platforms, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+. If you are photographically-minded, be sure to look up additional tips on Instagram (I have nigh zero experience with Instagram, so apologies for that!). In marketing your brand on social media, it’s a good idea to master two or three of these platforms, since they have more users than anything else online.
Once you have a profile, the next step is to create a new page for your business, if you haven’t already done so. To do this, there is a handy video made by Facebook, here.
Next, make an inventory of your product and services and be specific about what they are and who they are for. A good way to find your target audience is through various Facebook groups. To find a group, search a keyword (e.g. “nursery flowers”) and filter the search by groups. Join as many groups related to your target audience as you can, particularly ones with a lot of members (100 +). Once you have been accepted to the group, read up on the group’s rules and, if you can, post on the sort of product or service relevant to the group. If you aren’t allowed to advertise, then you should contribute to the group in a way that adds value to the group, attracting those who like your post to your business page (you could even reference your business page if you are allowed to). If you aren’t allowed to post at all, join a different group. It can sometimes be difficult to find groups with a lot of members for your particular niche, but be creative to reach the most people possible. For example, you may join more general groups, such as those about business startups, and there you could share your startup’s story (the one we talked about above).
LinkedIn is a good place to find professionals. Connecting with them for marketing, however, can be challenging since LinkedIn’s policy has typically been that you should know the person you’re connecting with. Practically speaking, very few will connect with you if they don’t know you (or don’t think they will gain from connecting with you). You could pay LinkedIn for premium services that allow for messaging any individual you want about your product, but it is likely, not worth the money.
Instead, search particular groups and join them much like you do for Facebook (search keywords in the search bar and filter by groups). Post discussions and original content around the targeted group of interest and use them in conjunction with your brand to add value to it.
One more tip about LinkedIn is a little secret. Use the following method sparingly, for two important reasons: 1) You don’t want to come across as spammy to potential clients; this is not good for your brand. And 2) if those you attempt to connect with choose not to connect with you on a number of occasions, LinkedIn will restrict or suspend your account. The method is that when you connect with someone, you can customize the message you send them when connecting with them. In that message, it’s best to be transparent about why you want to connect with them and include why the person is a good fit for your product. I’d recommend using this method only in highly targeted circumstances, such as when you know the person on the other end.
With Twitter, searching keywords remains invaluable. Be sure to put a hashtag “#” before the keyword. Find out what people are saying around your keywords, and add to any discussions. When you tweet, include your keywords. This way, people searching these terms can find your tweets. Early on tweets will get lost in the pile, with posts with the most retweets and followers making the top. Because of this, it’s important to build a following. Do this by retweeting your target group with a novel response to your own (be sure to follow anyone in your target domain). Quick wit goes a long way in the Twitter-verse since tweets are limited to 140 characters. If you tweet and retweet everyday, you should start to notice that slowly but surely, people are following you, and the tweets on your service or product are more visible.
Once you have set up a profile on Google+, join communities related to your keywords. On the most relevant communities, you can usually post the specifics about what you offer. This is done with a green pen icon on the right side of the discussion board. Just be sure to be informative about particular deals, offers, or ideas with your service or product to minimize your post being mere spam.
From here, it is a good idea to not only post news about your services or products but to also provide content for the communities and groups with independent value. This way, people will find out about your product by wanting to find out more about you. You could write helpful guides on your industry, even covering the particular problems that need the solutions you provide.
You can even search profiles with you keywords. While many are not active on Google+, those who are logged in will see a notification of any message you send, even when they are on other google-owned sites such as YouTube.
Making use of social media everyday by creating new content around your keywords, and putting your story out there will go a long way to gaining a presence for your company’s brand.
Paul Ritterbush is Manager of Media Relations at HireTeamMate, a tech-recruiting startup that uses Big Data and Smart Algorithms to simplify hiring and job search. HireTeamMate shows job seekers which job openings they best qualify for and gets hiring managers the best talent for their job openings.
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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