The world of marketing has shifted over the last decade, as I know all of you are aware. What you were doing 10-15 years ago is likely not as effective as it once was. Digital is taking over the world, with social media the reigning king. While some may think that social media is just for teenagers, others may be well aware that it is an important facet of their marketing plan. Whatever side of the fence you are on, you need to understand that in today’s marketplace, those who do not embrace this change will soon be left behind. However, it can be scary and somewhat intimidating when trying to attack this new medium that you may have little experience with. I’m going to give you some tips that will help you get moving in the right direction!
Social Media Tip #1:
You can’t do it all.
Choose a few platforms to do really well instead of being mediocre at all of them. One of the main reasons that social media can seem so intimidating is the fact that there are dozens of social media platforms, each with a different niche. Perfection is not guaranteed in all of them. You need to think hard on this before you jump on the social media marketing bandwagon, because this can be the choice that brings success or failure to your efforts. Some of the main platforms include: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Youtube, Vine, Tumblr (or any other blogging platform), Periscope, Google+, Houzz, Buffer, Delicious, Digg, Pinterest, Reddit, StumbledUpon, and many many more. In deciding the platforms that you’ll start with, ask yourself these 3 things:
- How much time or resources can I dedicate to this? If you are ready to fully commit, you can choose more platforms to tackle than if you can only dip your toes in the water. It is better to dominate one platform than to not make an impression on many.
- Who is your demographic and which social media platforms are they spending more time on? This is another question of key importance. If your demographic is between the ages of 45-55, you won’t have much success with Snapchat, or likely Vine. These platforms skew a much younger generation. Facebook has an older demographic, while Twitter is popular with a middle aged crowd. Do your research before getting started! You’ll be wasting time and resources if you don’t.
- Ask yourself what your key demographic would be looking for on these platforms. This greatly depends on your business. If you are in the Kitchen & Bath category, you know that there is a lot of information that goes into making the decision to remodel. If your audience would be craving information & clarity, you need to know. If they’re looking for design inspiration, you need to know, if they’re looking to know more about your specific business, you really need to know! Don’t give them what you THINK they want, give them what they want.
Social Media Tip #2:
Make a plan.
After you’ve done your initial research on the platform(s) that you should be focusing on, you need to make a plan. If you’ve decided that your audience wants information about product materials & design inspiration, you may have chosen to start a blog (on your website or Tumblr), to share this information on Facebook (The platform your demographic is using) and to share design inspiration on Pinterest (where your demographic goes to get ideas on style and trends). Here are some tips on how to make your plan.
- When to post. Research the best times of the day to post on your platforms. This can have a big impact on your engagement, which is the point of your posts in the first place. Every industry is different, and those that like or follow your page will have their own habits of checking social media. There are many tools online that can help you with this. Sprout Social is a dashboard that will give you key information on your demographic’s habits. You can use IconoSquare for Instagram stats or TweetDeck for Twitter. If you spend some time digging, you can find anything you’re looking for.
- How often will you post? You want to make sure that you post consistently, but not TOO frequently. Those who will follow your social media accounts want to see action, or they will lose interest. There are different “rules” for each platform that you can find if you do your research.
- Research competitors & businesses in similar industries. This will give you ideas on the type of content that may work for your audience. If you see certain types of posts with lots of engagement, take it as a sign that this audience is interested in what they’re being given. Adjust these concepts to make them your own. This is a “Hypothesize, Test, Repeat” kind of thing. You may not hit a homerun on your first try, but analyze what is working vs. what is not, and adjust accordingly. Doing your research up front on posts that are working for others will save you a lot of time in the end. Take a look at the hashtags that are being used by your audience and tie them into your posts! Make sure you link all posts back to your website, when at all possible. The point is not just to engage on social media, but to pull them into the buying funnel!
- Put it in writing (or typing). Now that you know where you’re posting, when you’re posting and what you’re posting, you need to set it in stone. Nothing great is ever accomplished without a plan. There are many templates online of content calendars for social media that you can edit in Excel or Google Sheets. They will have columns for all the key information that you’ll need to effectively plan you posts. You can opt for a social media dashboard like HootSuite, which will allow you to plan & schedule all of your posts (for most platforms) in advance. This will definitely save time. I recommend you take 1-2 hours each week getting all of your posts scheduled for peak posting time.
Social Media Tip #3:
Engage to get engagement.
I’m sure that you’ve heard the saying “To have friends, you need to be a friend.” This concepts hold true in the world of social media. It is rare to get without giving in some way. Social media can be seen as a “Cocktail Party”. When you think of it this way, it helps you understand the concept more clearly. When you’re at a cocktail party, you don’t simply go up to everyone you see and tell them why they need to buy from your company. That would be very inappropriate and in-your-face. The key is to network. You meet someone, have a great conversation with them, and let them know what you do. You become interested in what they do and how you can help them. When that person is in the market for your services, they may reach out to you, as they remember the positive interaction that you shared. They may even tell their friends about you! Keep this in mind as you embark on your social media journey. You need to genuinely be interested in the business or lives of others to get people interested in you. Seek out companies like yours or individuals in your demographic to follow or connect. Engage with their content and share your thoughts! This is the “introduction” at the cocktail party. Remember that this is a long term plan to increase awareness and sales in your business, and you will need to work at it in order for it to work for you. Once your posts are scheduled for the week or the month, log on various times during the week to engage, or answer questions or comments directed at you. This is key in becoming successful in social media.
In our next article, we’ll dive a little bit deeper into social media marketing success. There is a lot to learn, but if you take it one step at a time, you will find that it not only gives you a great return on investment, but it will give you much deeper insight into what your customers are looking for. Until next time, pleasant posting!
Written By: Allie Bloyd
Allie is the Marketing Director at Builders Surplus. Builders Surplus is a full service remodeling and renovation company in Louisville, Ky and Newport, Ky, which also serves Cincinnati, Oh. Builders Surplus focuses mainly on Kitchen and Bathroom Design, Flooring, Windows, Doors, and Tile. If you have any questions for the author, feel free to comment below!