Social Media Engagement 101: How to Get Started
The topic of social media engagement almost seems passé these days. What was once considered an esoteric new tool for big agency marketers and PR professionals has now become a mainstay in modern business. Over the last several years, the social media landscape has rapidly evolved, coalescing new sites, plugins and analytic tools to form a highly-sophisticated strategy for targeting consumers.
Despite these rapid advancements, however, many startups and small businesses are still behind the curve with their social media deployment; indeed, many of them don’t have a social media presence to speak of at all. For these businesses, the prospect of developing and executing a social media strategy can seem daunting in light of how fast the tools and processes are evolving. But it’s important not to let the breakneck innovation scare you away—your business can reap tremendous value even with a bare bones strategy.
In this post, we examine three fundamental channels—Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn—providing recommendations to help you leverage these channels to advance your marketing strategy.
Thanks to its interactive capabilities, a Facebook business Page is a great supplement to any website. On it, you can include everything from company location and contact information to updates and multimedia. According to Hubspot, 52% of all marketers have found a customer via Facebook in 2013.
Here are some rules of thumb to follow on your business’s Facebook page:
- Interact With Your Audience: Remember that engagement is a two-way street, meaning that in addition to posting updates about your business, you should monitor what is being said about you by others and join the conversation when the opportunity arises.
- Monitor Your Page Performance: The Facebook Insights feature lets you track the performance of every post. You can use it to monitor reach, click-thru rate and much more. You can also measure how much traffic your Facebook page is driving to your website by using an integrated web analytics tool.
- Integrate Other Social Media Activity: There are applications for the majority of social media platforms so you can include them in the top bar of your Facebook page. This makes it easy for visitors to find your other social media accounts instead of searching for each one individually.
- Create Custom Tabs: Custom tabs come in handy when you want to showcase or provide information about something that doesn’t have its own app. You can create a custom tab by adding an iFrame Page Tab.
- Use Hashtags: Using a hashtag # (or pound symbol) in front of a word makes the posting searchable by other people, extending your reach to those who have an interest in the topic you’re posting about.
After its launch seven years ago, many pundits predicted that Twitter would be a flash in the pan, building buzz for a short period before fizzling out into the ether. To the contrary, the microblogging site has continued to grow at an exponential pace, and the 140-character update has become an art form perfected by modern marketers.
Our recommendations for using Twitter effectively:
- Think Before You Tweet: Tweets are intended to be informative and newsworthy, so use them that way. Always keep your audience in mind and stay away from content that could be considered controversial, unless it really aligns with your business interest and positioning. Also remember to always check grammar and spelling before hitting send; your style is a reflection of your brand.
- Follow Your Industry: Follow individuals, products and companies within your industry to keep up with trends, news and events. A significant amount of the time, these users will follow you back in return, increasing your Twitter reach.
- Reach Out and Respond to Others Using @Replies: This goes back to the importance of engagement with your audiences. When you reply to someone’s post or mention that person in a standalone post by using the “@” sign, you not only increase your engagement with the person, but you also increase the potential of building greater visibility amongst that person’s followers.
- Encourage Conversations with Hashtags: Hashtags are a way of tagging tweets to make it easy for anyone anywhere to follow, promote and respond to news, products, ideas, events and offers. They enable you to be found by people who are searching for info on the topic you have tweeted about.
- Include Shortened Links: Including links in your tweets is a great way to point to additional resources on Twitter without going over the 140-character limit. Use a URL shortening service such as bit.ly to make the links you want to share on Twitter more tweetable.
As of January 2013, LinkedIn had over 200 million users worldwide . This social network makes it easy to find potential employees and customers as well as seek industry-specific advice. On LinkedIn, you can post jobs to your company page and pose questions for the community to answer.
Here’s some tips to help you leverage LinkedIn for your business:
- Build Brand Awareness: Posting regularly on your company LinkedIn page (even if it’s just one post a day) helps you to bolster visibility of your brand and align it with attributes and values that resonate with your customers. You can also build brand awareness by actively participating in LinkedIn groups.
- Discover New Leads: LinkedIn’s advanced search feature allows you to locate business connections by name, company, job title, geographic location and other attributes.
- Interact with Your Contacts: When you discover potential sales leads on LinkedIn, engage them by sharing relevant content that direct them to your website.