It’s a brand new year and, for most of us, with every New Year comes a resolutions or two, many of them recycled (exercise more, read regularly, drink less etc) but also a few new promises we’ll be trying to keep. If you’re a business owner, however, one of your ‘new’ resolutions should, without doubt, focus on social media and, with a little extra effort, 2016 can be your biggest and best digital marketing year ever.
Here are just a few of the best new year resolutions you can make for your business:
I will stop abusing hashtags
This is a big one: hashtag have a purpose and, if you are going to use them, do so properly – and sparingly!
It is important to keep in mind that each hashtag is turned into a link, but if it is irrelevant what are you really linking to?
You should not embrace the “hashtag everything” mentality and, instead, use the following guidelines:
– Carefully choose the hashtags that you wish to use: No more willy nilly hashtagging.
When you are choosing a hashtag, think about the message you are trying to convey. In most cases, it will be an effort for people to discover what you offer when they click. For example, if you have a post about wedding bouquets, create a relevant hashtag that will bring people to what you want them to see – a random tag such as #freshflowers will not provide the desired results.
– Be sparing in your use of the humble hashtag: While hashtags are a great tool for both discovering and organizing your information, you should not overuse them. Again this comes back to avoiding the “hashtag everything” mentality. In fact you should really reconsider using more than one tag per update, and it is not even necessary to use them for every post that you create. Also, be diverse; do not use the same relevant hashtag over and over again.
– Test the effectiveness of the hashtag you choose: You should not just choose a random hashtag; instead test how well it works, or doesn’t work, as the case may be. You should make sure that the term you choose is relevant and being used. If you click the hashtag and wind up with unfocused or random material, chances are you should find another term to use instead.
I will set goals for growth
If you don’t know where you are going, how will you get there? It’s the same with your social media. If you don’t know what growth you want to see from your social media profiles, how will you know what to do or whether you’re succeeding? As such, it’s time to set some growth goals for 2016. Look at where you are now, think about where you’d like to be this time next year – and put in place a content calendar for making it happen.
I will not be an over-inviter
Everyone has that one friend or follower that is constantly creating events or posts to be followed and inviting everyone in their community. DO NOT be this person. Not only is it annoying, but it is also completely ineffective from a business perspective. If you continually invite people to the opening of an envelope, chances are they will either start ignoring your posts or just unlike your page altogether. Instead, wait until you have a truly special event to promote. That way, your followers will actually notice your events and, possibly, even attend!
I will focus… and focus… and focus
Why are you using social media? If you do not have a clear intent when it comes to your business’ use of social media, you need to develop one.
If you do not do this, your posts are likely going to be irrelevant to the message that you want to present. There are a number of reasons that you may be on social media, such as staying connected, improving brand awareness, increasing traffic or, simply, to grow your client and business network.
The fact is, it does not matter what your intent is, you simply need to define it and then make that the focus of your posts and content strategy.
I will improve my response times
Social media is wonderful for providing timely customer service, but the key here is the word ‘timely.’ If a customer or potential client asks you a question via social media, answer it as soon as possible. Don’t wait until you’re at home in the evening and have time and don’t ignore questions, no matter how trivial they may seem. Similarly, respond to your clients. Even if it’s just a ‘thank you’ for the kind comment, be responsive. Good customer service doesn’t occur only via phone or face-to-face, it also applies to how you treat clients online.
I will use apps that are available
The idea of creating content for an entire year may seem overwhelming, but you don’t need to do it all yourself. There are a number of apps and tools, with more being added each day, that provide you with the ability to aggregate other people’s content that you can then share with your followers, as well as tools that will allow you to schedule that content and ensure it has as much reach as possible. By using such tools, even if you can’t create content (or enough of it), you can, at the very least, share other content that may be of interested to your followers and ensure as many people see it as possible. Try tools such as Pocket, which allows you to find great stories and store them for later, and Buffer, which allows you schedule content for posting at various times throughout a day.
I will be active on my other social media accounts
When it comes to social media, it’s not a case of one size fits all. While most businesses will have a basic Facebook presence, others may also have a Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and/or Pinterest presence. Whatever platform you’re on, be active on it.
Too many businesses still set up social media accounts and then disappear. Questions and comments go unaddressed, or worse, you have an automated response appear. Not only will this lose your followers, it can also hurt your entire brand image. Make a resolution that you will log on your social media sites, at minimum, once a day to answer questions or respond to comments. This will boost your brand loyalty and may, even, lead to sales.
Some other, somewhat simpler resolutions that can be implemented include:
• Completing your profile on every social media account that you have;
• Create relationships with your target market, not just random people;
• Integrate your social media presence with your website;
• Establish an effective schedule so that your accounts will never appear abandoned;
• Cleanse the accounts that you have;
• Be more creative and have fun, after all the point of social media is to be social!
I will be, erm, social!
Following on from the last point, social media is about being social and interacting. So many brands don’t even allow customers to comment on their pages, which prevents a two-way dialogue. And, others only post their own content or talk about their own products. Be social. Share other people’s content. Like other people’s pages. Comment on other people’s posts. Social media is about a two-way dialogue. It’s not about brands and monologues!
Using these tips is should be no problem to embrace a new attitude toward social media in 2016. There is no point in sticking with techniques and efforts that do not work. Using these ideas will help you create a more effective and streamlined social media presence that will truly pop in 2016.