It’s not enough to set up a social media profile for your company and post some updates these days.
With so many extra features being added to social platforms on a continuous basis, you simply can’t afford to not be making the most of every tactic available to keep standing out from the crowd – it’s noisy out there.
If you’re a small business or a freelancer, you probably won’t have a ton of spare cash to invest in social media advertising. Whilst, when done right, this can be a brilliant tactic for building brand awareness and generating leads, there are some basic (no-cost) things you can do through the way you manage your account, to help gain traction online.
This is exactly what I’ve had to do to build my profile as a digital freelancer at Digital Drum.
So here are three great habits to get into when it comes to managing your own social channels, which increase your chances of attracting leads and converting to a sale:
1. Harness your hashtags
Using hashtags isn’t just a Twitter thing anymore. LinkedIn has deployed something similar by way of being able to filter updates by hashtag topics, and it’s the same story on Facebook.
With every update you post, you need to be including a healthy number of #s to ensure you maximise your potential reach – this vastly improves your chances of broadcasting your content beyond your 1st-degree connections/followers.
Use a tool like Hashtagify to research and identify trending / most popular hashtags for your updates (see this example of a successful post below). A free option would be Hashtag Tracker, a good tool to track and listen to hashtags to successfully engage your audience and unlock opportunities you had no idea existed
#smallbusiness? Here are four good reasons you should outsource your #socialmediamarketing to someone like me! [blog]: https://t.co/GL6fFV1NZH #smm #socialmedia #smallbiz #founder #ceo #csuite #director #sme #startup #startups #marketing #startupgrind #freelancer #freelancers pic.twitter.com/dfQhhlznMm
— Digital Drum (@Fi_digitaldrum) June 10, 2018
But it’s not just about posting updates with hashtags…
You can also use them to garner some useful intelligence about your audience.
For example, if you’ve got access to a marketing platform like HubSpot, you can set up ‘social listening’ streams to monitor particular hashtags and handles – and from this, you can get a feel for what your audience is talking about, as well as the ‘sentiments’ associated with them (there are tons of these kinds of tools available in the marketplace though, so see what you can find which suits your wallet).
You can also pick up breaking stories and trending topics in this way and begin to identify who your influencers might be in your target audience space.
If you don’t do anything else, make sure you set a listening stream for your own handle, so you can keep abreast of when and how people are talking about your brand, your services/products, and your content!
2. Flex your expertise
If you’re a small business or a freelancer, you probably live and breathe what you do. This is your chance to show that off. Produce regular pieces of content which convey your invaluable knowledge and experience.
Show your target audience that you really know what you’re talking about by creating content which ticks one or more of the following boxes:
Then promote the hell out of that content on all your social media channels (taking into account tip #1!). Over time, this reassures/persuades your potential customers that your product/service can be trusted.
If it’s overwhelming to think about, bear with me…
Yep, you’ll have to invest some time in it – and you’re already running a business – but creating content doesn’t necessarily mean creating long, scrolling lengths of prose – it can take the form of short, bite-sized blogs, video content, mailer campaigns, or even through taking part in a live Q+A on a social media platform. It’s all content.
3. Talk to your audience
Social media channels are an excellent place to communicate and get to know your audience. Whether it’s responding to ad-hoc questions, customer service queries, or proactively offering insight on relevant topics, it’s all there for taking when it comes to both making your presence known and building a good reputation.
If your focus is B2B, LinkedIn is most likely your strongest bet for making strong connections and conducting conversations. If you’re going after B2C, focus your efforts on building followings through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
And, if you’re on Facebook, look at how you can use your company profile page’s native chat feature to respond to incoming enquiries. Did you know that last year, there were 33,000 of these being used on this platform alone?
Set up notifications correctly, so that you get tipped off whenever anything happens!
Don’t just ‘publish and forget’
When it comes to posting updates, don’t just post something and then shut things down – spend some time on your newsfeeds and see what value you can add. Take a look around relevant groups and see what you can glean.
Immersing yourself in genuine engagements with current and potential customers is a good investment of your time.
And don’t be afraid to tag people (where appropriate) to give them a ‘shout out’ if they’ve recently had a positive engagement with you – be it on or offline (see an example below). You can also include relevant web links in your responses to drive traffic to your website.
If you work with content on a daily basis, I would encourage you to check out @escmum’s great two-dayer on #ContentDesign. It really makes you think. #contentwriting #ux #contentwriter #contentcreation #userexperience #websites #webpages #contentdesigner #wordsareimportant pic.twitter.com/INw1mLXJaP
— Digital Drum (@Fi_digitaldrum) May 12, 2018
All it takes is a bit of proactivity and getting into a bit of a ‘rhythm’ when you’re managing your accounts. The watchwords are ‘slow’ and ‘steady’ here – and you will need to persevere. But guess what? Stick at it, and you’ll start to see some positive movement in your follower numbers, engagement levels and website traffic.