Developing a Social Media Content Strategy for Success
Social media outlets provide customers with an efficient way to move material items (think Facebook buy/sell groups), connect with each other on a daily basis and share information about what services, products and businesses benefit their lives and – possibly even more importantly – which ones don’t.
Developing a social media content strategy that works, however, takes more effort than simply opening Facebook and Twitter accounts. There are specific strategies that successful businesses use in order to help their social media outlets create an engaging community that grows not only their online presence, but their business as well. Social media outlets, when managed effectively, give businesses the opportunity to have a worldwide customer base, no matter where they’re located. Here are 5 tips that can help you develop a social media strategy that will give your business its best chance at being a successful one.
Determine Your Target Audience and Connect Accordingly
At the top of the list for a successful social media strategy is determining your target audience. If, for instance, your business’ primary service is to provide child-rearing information to parents and parents-to-be, your best bet is to look for keywords such as mom, dad, father, etc. as you search for whom to follow on Twitter and other social media accounts. The people who will join your social media groups and who will be the most interested in what you have to share (and who will be most willing to share your information with others) are those who have interests that are in line with what your business has to offer. As you begin developing your social media strategy, start by making a list of what types of customers you want to attract and connect with, and then use that list as a map that will help you know how to create your content and grow your social media presence effectively.
Publish Valuable Content
It’s important not to post on social media accounts without a well-thought-out strategy. In order for people to want to be a part of a business’ social media accounts, business owners need to create content that provides value to the reader. Typically, social media account readers and followers are looking for information on social media accounts that will:
- Teach them something they want to know
- Save them something, be it time, money or convenience
- Provide entertainment
- Help them to feel like they’re a part of something
In addition, creating engaging photos to use with your posts, by using a plugin such as the Easy Media Gallery Pro Plugin, will help customers be more attracted to your site. By keeping these tips in mind when creating content for your social media outlets, and by writing content in a way that is engaging and entertaining to readers, you’ll keep followers coming back for more, you’ll encourage followers to share your content with others, and you’ll help ensure you are keeping your business close to the forefront of followers’ minds.
It’s also important for you to publish your valuable content on a regular basis. Don’t let more than a day or so go by without making sure you’re active on your social media accounts. The more time that passes between posts, the more time customers have to forget about your business and move onto other things.
Create an Engaging Atmosphere with Followers
Successful social media strategy also involves creating an engaging atmosphere for followers. When readers feel like they’re a part of a group, and when they can identify or benefit from the content being published, they’re more likely to leave comments, share posts and encourage friends to follow as well. Working to form a relationship with your followers will keep them engaged and active in what your business is doing. Businesses can work to form relationships with followers on social media accounts by responding to comments, asking questions, getting opinions from followers and by sharing content that touches the heart. Work to implement these tips for engaging readers and watch as your social media outlets grow.
Commit to Providing Exemplary Service
All of the great content in the world will do you little good if your business has a reputation for providing less-than-stellar service. Providing a valuable product or service is important, however; treating your customers like royalty will leave an imprint on their hearts for years to come. In today’s up-to-the-minute, information-sharing world, customers no longer have to take the time to write a letter to a company CEO in order to share a story about how they received bad service.
“One complaining tweet can turn into a million reached customers and potential customers in just minutes.”
Don’t give your customers a reason to tweet or post negative experiences about their business with you. Instead, train your team to remember that top-notch customer service, along with your best product, is the surest way to success, and reward team members accordingly when they show a pattern of providing exemplary customer service to your clients.
Utilize Customer Feedback
Too many companies ignore customers who want to share a bad experience, and when that happens, clients are left with a sour view of that company. If the occasion should happen (and your primary goal should be to make sure that it doesn’t) that a customer has a bad experience with your company, it’s vital to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to resolve the issue and make the customer happy when possible.
Replacement products, free products, discounts and heartfelt apologies with a quick and above-and-beyond resolution are all ways in which you can turn a client’s bad experience back into a good one.
The same goes for customers who leave feedback on how to improve your product or service. It’s important when a client takes the time to share an idea or share suggestions about how to make your company better that you as the business owner or manager reply promptly with a positive response. By paying attention to customer feedback and utilizing that feedback to keep customers happy and sharing their great experiences about your company on social media, your business can continue to grow and prosper.
Social media marketing may be the “wave of the future” for some companies, but the fact of matter is that social media is one of today’s top forms of advertisement. Don’t let your company be left in the dust because competitors have a handle on how to effectively gain and keep clients through social media channels and you don’t. Instead, stay ahead of the game by learning to create social media content and connections that allow people to see your business for the gem that it truly is.
Do Local Listings Really Matter?
The most popular trends in digital marketing today are social media and content marketing. This is quite understandable. After all, content marketing is the “white hat” SEO strategy that Google loves, while social media marketing takes advantage of the ongoing fascination of the masses for Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
But these trends don’t necessarily mean you should just forget rudimentary marketing techniques such as the use of local listings. We’re not talking about the ancient printed Yellow Pages here. We’re talking about their online equivalent – Yelp, YP.com, Yahoo Local, etc.
Local Listings and SEO
For most people, SEO invariably means ranking highly in Google, because that’s the search engine most people use. In the US, Google has 67.55% of the market, and its dominance is even more evident in mobile search, where it owns 87.1% of the searches. Google is also very popular among consumers of all types, because almost 6 out of 10 use it to look for a particular local business.
So it makes sense that you’ll want to rank in Google searches for your keywords. But what most people don’t realize however is that getting citations in online directories can help with your local SEO efforts.
In local listings, you’re invariably allowed to place a link to your website. Which is good for your rankings. Local directories do this so people can get more info about your goods and services than what’s shown on their website. And when you have citations in numerous directories, you can expect that there will also be an increase the number of people who visit your website.
These directories are extremely popular, as Yelp alone gets about 80 million monthly visitors in the US. That means more people are exposed to your brand and your advertising, and potentially this can mean more sales for your business.
But here’s where it gets interesting: since a large part of Google rankings depend on how many websites feature a link to your own website, when you have dozens or even a hundred citations in local directories, that’s going to help your SEO considerably. After all, numerous quality websites linking to yours is good for SEO.
Achieve Greater Visibility through Local Listings
The reason businesses spend an obscene amount of money on television commercials, newspaper and magazine print ads, and billboards is that they want to reach as many people as possible. That’s pretty much a given.
That’s also the point why you have a website in the first place. To be seen by potential customers. This is not a trivial marketing strategy, because 70% of all Internet searches are for local business. Now when you consider that as of last count Google gets almost 12 billion searches a month, it means 8.4 billion searches were primarily for local business.
When you have your own website, it’s like having a single number in a roulette wheel on which the ball can drop. But when you’re listed in a local directory, it’s like you get an additional number in the roulette wheel. You get more chances of being seen by your target audience. It’s sort of like getting an additional magazine advertisement or billboard that can be seen by more and more potential customers.
The more local directories you join the more chances you have of being seen. So when your business is listed in a hundred different local directories, you have a hundred different ways through which a potential customer can find you.
Local Listings Let People Know about your Business
Like the old Yellow Pages phone directories, local listing directories allow you to promote your business address and phone number in a profile so that they can display on their website. This alone will give you a leg up on your competitors if your business is listed on these sites and they are not.
Local Listings offer a lot more information and more chances to interact with customers than those big heavy phone books of the past.
Local Listings, Reviews & You
It’s no secret that customer reviews can have a dramatic impact on your business. Word of mouth has always been a huge influence on buying decisions and customer reviews can make that decision easier. Almost 9 out of 10 people consider online reviews as trustworthy over recommendations from their friends. Now that’s some serious influence!
But you should also know the importance of your own responses to reviews. You can thank positive reviewers and reinforce those warm & fuzzies between your business and that particular customer. This creates brand loyalty and super fans of your business.
You should respond to negative reviews by issuing an apology, offering an explanation, or by emphasizing your good points. Responding to negative reviews can minimize the damage they can cause. There’s also the chance that the reviewer may reconsider their negative review simply because you responded and showed them you care. Nearly a third of all negative reviews are updated to positive reviews just because somebody acknowledged their issue.
Citations are a Good Thing- Go Grab Them
If you haven’t done so yet. it’s time prioritize local your listings. Most local directories don’t charge a thing, yet they can really make a difference in a multitude of ways. It doesn’t take much time or effort to get your business listed and as a small business owner, capitalizing on cost effective resources to grow your business just makes good business sense.