The social media movement
Websites used to be the place to to get information online. Now, with the huge popularity of social media sites, people now expect you to go to them — on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and so on.
The social media movement isn't just about location. It brings a different way of communicating with your audience. When you post or tweet updates, people can respond to them. People can also post questions and comments about your services, products, or organization via social media. You can and should reply to them. Social media is interactive.
Using social media for small business
While you'll probably make some sales via social media, you'll lose followers if you just post offers. Social media is a place for companies and organizations to share relevant information, to show their expertise in a conversational way, and to build and maintain their brand. Increased sales will be one result.
Using social media for nonprofits
For nonprofit organizations, social media is a way to connect with supporters. It can be a useful tool in fundraising campaigns. Between those campaigns, engage your supporters with updates on what your organization is doing, interesting stories, and news related to your niche. These posts will attract followers and help them feel a connection with your organization.
When people feel connected with your organization, they'll be more likely to donate during your fundraising campaigns.
Your social media marketing strategy
First, establish goals. Do you want social media to help increase sales? Improve your image? Attract new employees or volunteers?
Second, know your audience. What is their age range? What social media sites do they spend more time at? What are they likely to have in common?
Third, know your competition. Or with nonprofits, know what groups are doing similar work. What is their social media marketing strategy? What works best?
When you post, consider content types, post frequency, and post timing. Experiment to find what works best for you.
Fortunately, a variety of social media tools are available to help you monitor what's being discussed, which posts are the most popular, what days and times of day get the most engagements, and more. Some tools allow you to schedule your posts in advance. By using social media analytics tools, you can tweak what, when, and how often you post to get optimal responses.
Bigger companies often have a large budget and a team of employees just to manage social media. Small businesses and nonprofits don't have those resources.
For clients I'm already working with, I offer these services:
- One-time: Analysis of your current social media strategy, comparison with the competition, and creation of a social media plan based on your goals
- Ongoing: One to two hours a week managing your social media for you: posting, responding to comments, monitoring social media analytics, and tweaking the approach based on those analytics