This guide is meant to provide a very basic understanding of social media marketing. Mainly we’ll cover what social media is, why your business should be participating, and how to go about using the main networks.
What is social media?
Simply put, and for the purpose of this guide, social media marketing refers to word-of-mouth marketing via online social networks (e.g. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn).
The main element that sets social media apart from traditional media is audience interaction. Traditionally, marketing has always been a one-way street, that is: marketers send a message and the audience receives it. Social networking allows a two-or-more-way conversation between a business and its patrons.
Why do I need to use social media?
When was the last time you opened the phone book? Or even saw a phone book? Do you even know what a phone book is? Jokes aside, everybody knows the fastest way to find anything is Google.
These days, having an online presence for your business is an absolute no-brainer. Nearly 80% of the U.S. population uses the internet and Facebook users are 800 million strong. It’s a medium that your audience is using every day.
Being able to interact and engage customers is a sure-fire way to keep your brand in their head. Enter social media.
Facebook makes it easier for brands to connect with their consumers. Watch this video to learn more:
Here are just a few quick strategies to keep in mind when posting:
- Post regularly – Set aside time each week to make posts. A page is no good if there’s no good content.
- Create relevant content – The key to engaging your followers is to post content that genuinely interests them.
- Mix it up – Share a variety of content. Photos, videos, blog posts, contests are all things that will gain prominence in the News Feed.
- Be personable – Remember that your audience is made up of real people. Social networks are fun and casual venues. Drop the stuffy business writing!
Twitter is what we like to call a “micro blogging” platform. Each post is limited to 140 characters, so messaging is very concise and to-the-point. Check out how people use Twitter:
Here’s some key Twitter Terminology (borrowed from Small Business By Design, thanks!)
- Follower: When you decide you want to be able to see what someone is saying on Twitter, you follow them. You don’t have to know someone to follow them, and in most cases they don’t have to “approve” you following them. Likewise, people can follow you as well. They can be people you really know or complete strangers.
- Tweet: A tweet is a post. It consists of a 140-character message of your choosing.
- Retweet: This is when you re-post something someone else said. The benefit of this is that you are passing on a message from someone you follow to the people who follow you. Great content spreads quickly like this.
- At-reply: When you want to direct a message at one someone, you include their Twitter handle, which includes the “@ sign” followed by their username. When you do this, the user will be notified that you referenced them in one of your tweets.
- Direct Message: A direct message is essentially like a 140-character email message within Twitter. This form of communicating in Twitter is private.
- Tweeting or Twittering: The act of posting tweets.
#Hashtags are important too! Here’s a snippet of Twitter’s definition of a hashtag:
- People use the hashtag symbol # before relevant keywords in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets to show more easily in Twitter Search
- Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other Tweets in that category
- Hashtags can occur anywhere in the Tweet
- Hashtagged words that become very popular are often Trending Topics
There you have it.