Social media has completely taken over the marketing world in the past decade. It has created a lot of hype, a lot of excitement and a lot of pressure for businesses to get involved in order to stay relevant — but all the hype is well-deserved. Social media presents you with many opportunities to propel customer engagement and brand awareness. For starters, social media creates a holistic experience for customers so that they feel constantly connected with your brand even when they are not present at your location.
Promoting relevant, entertaining content on social media can help you create a brand voice that attracts more customers. Once you’ve drawn some people in, the power of social media does the rest and shares your voice with millions of customers worldwide. It even allows you to take the next step and start rich conversations with your patrons – conversations that actually engage and build loyalty. This approach is in stark contrast with traditional marketing methods, which for the most part, simply broadcast without building any real customer connection.
Obviously, effectively utilizing social media is not as easy it sounds. Only 50% of businesses that use Facebook as a marketing tool find it very effective. However, if you can find a way to make social media work for you, you can expect to see increases in sales, brand awareness, online traffic, and general excitement about your company. So, at this point, you should probably be thinking—Ok, I get that social media is important, but how do I get started and launch a successful campaign? Just follow these 4 steps and your social media account should be thriving in no time.
1) Who are you talking to?
Speak to your target audience! Start by identifying who those might be —frantic businessmen who hurry in during their lunch break from downtown, families who want a peaceful night out, or teenagers who drop by twice a week for takeout. Next, you need to understand this audience. Start by analyzing their behaviors and interests. What attracts them to your restaurant? What would they like to read or hear about on their social media accounts? Once you’ve figured all of that out, you can take the first big step – decide which type of social media account to create! Not every social media site is created equal and each has very different purposes and members – so make sure you create the account that you think will be the most effective in reaching your target audience. For example, if your primary audience were teenagers and the younger millennial generation, Instagram would be the most attractive media. Or if most of your crowd comprises of say working professionals, Facebook and even Twitter could be extremely valuable for you.
2) What do you want to accomplish?
Set realistic goals! One of the biggest mistakes businesses make while first attempting to get involved with social media is having unrealistic expectations. Chances are, you won’t be able to get a thousand Facebook likes within a few weeks of first setting up your company page, but that doesn’t mean that positive results aren’t just around the corner. Social media takes time and patience – trial and error – so before you start, make sure you set specific and realistic goals. Take over the world of cyberspace one week at a time with tangible targets so that you can achieve measured success.
3) How are you going to reach those goals?
Develop a social media strategy! We have now arrived at the most difficult (and most fun) part of social media — deciding what to post. The most important thing to keep in mind when developing social media content is customer perception. Most people’s social media accounts are personal — though they might use it to keep up with the news or browse stores, the primary focus is staying connected with friends and entertainment. People will unsubscribe to companies quickly if they feel that their newsfeeds are being bombarded with sales pitches.
So, it is crucial that you balance your posts with both user-beneficial and promotional content. A common breakdown is 80-20, respectively. Once you’ve made this first decision, you can move on to deciding what kind of content your audience would enjoy. If you want to attract teenagers, it might be a good idea to post jokes or lifestyle pieces. If a majority of your clients are busy corporate employees, sending out snippets of news issues in your industry or other relevant fields might be a better approach. No matter what the content is, however, always try to keep text minimal. Use images and videos wherever you can. People scroll through newsfeeds incredibly fast—make sure your post pops!
4) How do you keep it going?
Follow through! Social media is all about the follow through. Results take time and it is important that during that launching period, you stay on top of posting relevant content frequently. Be sure to take part in the conversation surrounding your brand! Address both the good and bad comments to show that you are dedicated to customer satisfaction. Don’t get disheartened if sales don’t jump dramatically right away. Stay patient and focus on achieving those weekly goals you set for yourself in the beginning. The return on your investment is only a few keystrokes away, literally.
Congratulations, you’ve made it! To both the end of this article (finally, I know) and hopefully, a successful social media account! You’ve taken the first big dive into what is a revolutionary social trend. The scariest part is over. Now, however, it is important to keep expanding your online support and to stay active. Start conversations! Change up your content based on seasons, the latest trends, or even a changing audience. Social media is all about constant improvement and keeping up with the newest trends. The more you keep up with it, the more you will get out of it. Rest assured however, that you’re well on your way to a new world of boundless opportunities and incredible resources.
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