Social media presents innumerable benefits for business owners, but many still don’t know exactly what to do with it. “Fifty-eight percent of companies are currently engaged in social networks like Facebook, microblogs like Twitter, and sharing multimedia on platforms such as YouTube – but research from the Harvard Business Review” finds that “Although 79% of the 2,100 companies surveyed are either using or planning to use social media channels, a measly 12% of those firms feel that they are using them effectively.”
If you’d like to improve the effectiveness of your social media efforts here’s a look at four simple social media tips to consider:
Use social media wisely.
Use social media to build business relationships, rather than focusing on the hard sell and mass marketing approach. This means using a targeted approach to a specific audience, rather than a shotgun approach, hoping to hit a target once in awhile. Research indicates that “social media all-stars engage beyond the tired method of ‘shout marketing,’ by using social more often to promote their brand, monitor trends among customers, and even research new product ideas.” (Source: HBR.org)
Douglas Burdett, the principal of Artillery a B2B inbound marketing agency, says many business owners often ask themselves, “What social platform should we use?” Burdett explains, “Because there are numerous and very different social media networks, the short answer is usually something like ‘it depends,’ and the long answer is ‘who are you trying to reach and what reaction do you want them to have?’”
Create Value and Provide Answers
Once you have established your target audience create value through thought leadership. David Armanao, senior vice president of Edelman Digital, says “some of the ways this can be done is by posting reports and presentations and initiating interaction on LinkedIn.
Providing answers to peers and prospects is the most effective social media marketingtactic.” Taking a more strategic approach to building relationships and creating value, rather than soliciting social media users blindly adds to the long-term brand equity of your company and product or service.
Consider overlooked social platforms.
There are plenty of social media networks to choose from, but one of the least appreciated is LinkedIn. According to HootSuite, a social media management system provider, “LinkedIn allows you to provide authenticity and credibility to you and your business. LinkedIn users come with a professional mindset, so go ahead, market yourself and your business—they are interested in hearing from you.”
Nathan Kievman, a highly sought after Digital Strategist, explains why he got serious about LinkedIn several years ago: “I went from just having a handful of past friends and business associates connected to me on LinkedIn to now having just over twenty thousand connections with associates and business professionals and people interested in what I teach and do. I can now interact with and contact any of these individuals to expand my own network, source new business deals, get introductions, and much more.”
Take a more synergistic approach to social.
Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel combine your social media strategy with other online marketing efforts (e.g., pay per click advertising, etc.). When you fully understand how common marketing strategies and lead generation interacts with social media you can save time and money.
“Small firms that are using social media to market themselves online need to set objectives, plan their approach and make sure it dovetails with their overall marketing strategy” … “Have a look at your existing marketing activities. Each of them does a specific job, reaching your target audience in different ways. Social media marketing can work with your traditional marketing to enhance it.” (Source: Marketing Donut)
Sara Davis is writing on behalf of Foxtail Marketing. To learn more, download these free guides: B2B Lead Generation Guide and the PPC Management Guide. Learn how to create more value for customers and build a PPC campaign the right way. Connect with @followfoxtail on Twitter.
This article originally appeared on YFSentrepreneur.com