Build an online fan base

Running a business without social media presence is like running a marathon without shoes. You could end up hobbling over the finish line but likely falling far behind your competitors and doing a lot of damage to yourself along the way. Here are 6 steps to get social media right.

Be everywhere

The first step is to be present far and wide. Not all platforms are created equal, and some may be more relevant than others to your product or service and demographic. That doesn’t mean they are completely useless.

There isn’t a significant social media site that you have to pay a fee for just to be on it. Grow your online presence without spending a single dollar – there is literally nothing to lose.

Cross-promotion across channels

Some social media platforms are better suited to certain types of posts than others. That doesn’t mean that you will choose another. Pay attention to the consistency between posts and add a small sign to encourage your fans on a social media app to check out your other feeds.

The perfect example is the “Publish your photo with our product” type of advertisement. Instagram gets the most engagement and shares this type of content. Facebook doesn’t do this, but posting on your Fb page through the Instagram contest encourages fans to visit and interact with multiple channels. Again, it doesn’t cost anything, but it does improve your social media strength.

Reviews are important

Consumers value the opinions of others more than flashy websites and professional sales pitches. Think back to the last time you bought something online – most of us look at the description and pictures before going straight to the reviews.

That goes for everything from a multivendor marketplace to a car to shoes and even schools. When a product or service receives consistently positive reviews, it is a sign that people like you have used it and were glad they paid the money for it.

What else matters

Building a presence on a variety of social media channels is a good place to start, but you need to start making them work for you quickly. The metrics that are important for a company vary depending on the product or service and your goals.

Monitor your analytics to find out which channel is most effectively driving the sales funnel. If you get a thousand likes for your product image on Facebook, but no one subsequently buys the product, you need to focus on a platform with better ROI.

Target-specific demographics

It might seem innocuous to expand your network to capture every potential customer, but a targeted approach is better when you learn more about your audience.

Most companies that deal with a particular genre or style of product or service find that the majority of their revenue comes from customers belonging to a specific and easily identifiable group. This group can be unique because of their age, their location, their income, their lifestyle or their gender. Knowing this, you can create a social media policy that specifically appeals to you.

Learn from the competition

Most companies will find that they already have a competitor who does well in the product or service niche with the desired target audience. Instead of reinventing the wheel, learn from their successes and failures. It doesn’t matter whether you are using a store with virtual addresses or taking photos with a specific filter.

Compare what you are doing with your model. For example, if a rival is complacent about neglecting their Instagram users, jump into the battle with the hashtags and posts that seduce those people into you. Look for weaknesses not only in stronger competitors, but also in weaker ones.