Creating a social media presence for your brand can be a challenging task. Not only do we have numerous social media platforms but the sheer number of users on each can be intimidating for any business new to the game.
Take a look at the following statistics:
1. Nigeria has a Facebook population of over 12 million active users.
2. Every minute of the day, people share over 2m post on Facebook.
3. Over 200 million monthly active users on Instagram alone.
4. Twitter users tweet over 277,000 times per day.
5. Pinterest users pin 3,472 images per day.
In the face of such huge activity, the questions then would be:
1. How do I choose the right platform for my brand?
2. How do I cut across the noise and grow your follower base?
3. How do I understand what my competitors are doing and how can I use that to my advantage?
4. What social media strategy can I use to build a brand for my business and increase sales?
Let examine this questions in this post.
Just before we begin:
It is tempting to think that social media is the answer to your business promotion online. If you take a look at the sheer volume of people alone, you might be tempted to put all your resources to building a strong brand on social media.
This is usually the pitfall of most business new to online marketing world. A lot of myths exist and without proper guidance, it is easy to get lost.
Social media should generally be a medium to interact with customers and brand loyalist, make new friends and probably win new customers.
It should not be seen as the all in all solutions. Your website remains and should be the focus. Social media is just one of the numerous paths you have to direct people to whatever the offer is on your website.
With that out of the way, let begin.
What is Social Media?
According to Wikipedia; Social media is the social interaction among people in which they create, share or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks.
The most popular social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, GooglePlus in that order yet there are some you may never hear of.
Choosing the right Social Media platform for your brand?
The greatest problem with building a social media presence is to know exactly where to dissipate your energy.
Should you start with twitter?
Will Facebook be better for your brand?
Or should it be great Google+?
The key to picking the right platform for your brand is to understand what you are selling and who you are selling to. That means you need to understand your target market.
Some of the questions you might want to ask are:
1. Who are they?
2. What is their demographic?
3. Where do they go for information?
4. Where do they prefer to get gossip, news etc
5. What really are you selling?
6. Why should they buy it?
Understanding your buyer’s persona will help you identify where your target market might be hanging out.
Take for instance; while 45% of the total Nigeria Facebook population are women, Instagram boast of more women within the same geographical location. If you run a women fashion store it might make more sense to build a strong presence on Instagram as my most important social media platform while Facebook would be a second option for me.
Once you understand your target audience, the next thing is to understand the platform. Each social media platform was created to fulfil a particular need. For example on twitter; you are supposed to say whatever you have in 160 characters or less. While Facebook allows you more flexible with words, Pinterest simply plays on the basis of making use of images to share your thoughts.
In simple terms, you need to get a grab on how each platform works. If this means, reading documentation on your target platform, go ahead or simply outsource.
How do you cut through the noise and grow your social media follower base?
Once you have picked a social media platform, you will see that you are already a late-comer to the party. While the party might be in mid-stream, there are still a lot of things that you can do that will make you the center of attraction.
These simple tricks will allow you get your message right to the right people and you can begin to build quality follower base.
1. Make your presence seen: The first trick in your social media hat will be to make your presence known. If you are late comer to a party, would you want to sneak in and quietly pick a seat or you would prefer to make a grand entrance?
The easiest way to do this is to make sure that your profile is equipped with relevant catchy image and matching words.
2. Follow Interesting people: The next step is to pick a list of interesting people you want to follow. Immediately you setup your account on practically all the social media platform, you will notice that there are lists of suggested account that you may follow. Do not limit yourself to this account or even follow any one of them.
Take your time to browse through different accounts and pick the interesting ones you want to follow. You can begin your search by using your keyword.
e.g “SEO” or “fashion” etc will give you a list of accounts you may want to follow. At the beginning, try not to follow brands but people. Remember people interact with people.
3. Post regularly: Unlike SEO, social media is a game of numbers. The more you post great and relevant content, the higher your profile view and as your profile view increases, you will start getting noticed by people who matters. So make it a point of duty to post a minimum of 5-6 times per day on Facebook and about 35 tweet per week on twitter.
What should you post?
A. Post information from your blog
B. Post content from blogs you have read
C. Post content from people who are following that you have actually read
D. Depending on your platform, you may not be too serious. Ok, this rule does not apply to LinkedIn.
4. Interact and Interact: One social media bane is the desire to approach it with a seller’s mentality. You want to sell all right but shouting it out at hangouts and dinner party will not do the trick. The trick is to interact with people. As you interact, seek to meet their needs.
Did someone ask a question? If you have the answer or you know resources that can help, lend a helping hand.
If you are dedicated to spending 10 minutes a week only to listen and not add to the noise, you would have done more social good for your brand.
How do I understand what my competitors are doing and how can I use that to my advantage?
One simple but overlooked hack to social media is that we tend to focus only on our self. Because we are so ego centric, we forget that we are facing a stiff competition for brand exposure and customer’s attention.
But what if I told you that you could actually win a customer over by spying on your competitors?
No matter what niche you are, one of the things you should do every once in a while is to analyze your competitors and try to understand them with the intent to catch them when they slip.
Here are simple tricks to spy on your competitors.
Get to know them:
The first step is actually figuring out what their social media accounts are. Because of the need to shout out on the roof top, most brands have their social media account on their website page. So the first thing you need to do is to take a look at their website.
This will tell you what social media platform they find interesting and are active on.
But what of their team member’s social media account? Can we learn a lot from it? Yes. By simply identifying their prominent team member’s social media account, you can actually see who they are following and who follows them. This can tell you the kind of influence they have and are building.
Take the example of ahref, they have their team members page populated with social media and email accounts. But what if you cannot find this information easily on their website?
There are tools to the rescue. You can use tools like followmonk to get a quick bird’s eye view of what other popular or obscure networks they’re using.
What do you want to know about them?
It’s important to understand the ins and outs of what they’re doing, who they’re following, how they’re engaging, what types of content they’re sharing successfully and more importantly: what is their reach and who is listening?
Really understanding how your competitors are leveraging social media successfully or unsuccessfully can give you a solid understanding of what your target audience will be receptive to. Once you’ve located the social networks where they’re most active, examine the following:
1. How many times they are posting?
2. Who are their core influencers are?
3. What their customers are saying about them?
4. Which of their customer’s questions are left unanswered? ( A chance to steal one)
5. What feature are their customers requesting or need? ( A chance to make your product better)
The key takeaway from social is this. If you up a listening post, you can easily build a better presence for your brand.
Let briefly recap on our social media strategy:
1. Identify the most profitable platform and get on board.
2. Be known. Create a compelling profile presence
3. Post often and consistently eg. 6 to 7 times a week.
4. Build relationship with influencers, customers and people you want to attract.
5. Answer questions and ask questions.
6. Use paid option to get boost your brands presence
7. Analyse, rinse and repeat
It isn’t very difficult to get use social media to promote your brand. All you need is the right mind set and a comprehensive guide like this one.