Despite social media being a tried-and-tested format for brand building and marketing, there are still those who doubt its true power for businesses. If you are one of those people, or if you’re just looking for a few tips on how to utilise social, then this is the list you’ve been looking for.
Below are 39 actions to take through social media, and the potential benefits of each. Alongside each suggestion, you will find a short explanation of exactly how each one works in your favour. Click any of the icons below to jump straight into a particular section. It’s time to learn, understand and make use of social media once and for all.
1. Build brand awareness
The single greatest benefit of using social media for a business is the building of brand awareness. Not only does this act as the primary social function for brands, but it’s also a benefit that bleeds through to affect many of the other benefits that we will go on to mention. Since social platforms, Facebook in particular, have made organic posts or pages deemed ‘promotional’ much less visible, brands have been coming to a realisation. Social media isn’t about selling, it’s about brand awareness. It’s about building an audience who trusts you and is interested in your content or what you have to say. Building such an audience will put you in a much stronger position to sell your product or service through other means.
2. Humanise your brand
This is something big brands have made an effort to achieve in recent years, such is the perception of them as faceless corporations. The truth is that no matter the size of your company, you will benefit greatly from humanising your brand and engaging with customers much more naturally. People no longer want to do business with overly corporate machines. They want real and they want human. If you settle on your tone of voice and aim to give your social interactions a human element, then this will go a long way to gaining a captivated social audience.
3. Establish authority
If your product or service is industry specific, then social gives you an opportunity to really establish your brand as a leader in that area. Once you establish this authority, people become much more likely to trust you and share what you have to say, resulting in further reach and audience expansion. The more authority you build, the more likely people are to seek you out for tips, advice and news in your area. Social can help you to become a star in whatever world you inhabit.
4. Manage your reputation
In the age of the internet, you cannot stop the flow of people wanting to have their say about your company. As such, it is in your best interests to be actively responding to any customer queries or complaints. Doing this publicly will further your cause as a brand that is trustworthy, and one that listens to its clients, customers or users. Most people are accepting of the fact that no business is perfect, but they will not tolerate a perceived lack of effort to rectify such issues. Be alert.
5. Perfect your brand’s tone of voice
Your website is important, but you can’t update it every day. Social media is the one place in which you can directly communicate with others regularly, perfecting your branded tone of voice as you do so. Talking with customers in particular allows you to craft a tone that you may not otherwise have been able to perfect, one that is engaging, persuasive and wholly human.
6. Engage with customers
This one is very simple yet fundamental to the brand/customer dynamic in the present-day landscape. Social is your single best method of engaging and interacting directly with the people who buy into what you have to say or offer. From answering queries to engaging in harmless conversation, this can really affect your brand image. This goes back to the earlier point regarding humanisation – customer engagement is one very significant way to achieve such a feat. Talk to your customers, even be humorous if the context allows it. This is social media – start being social!
7. Use employees as advocates
Do you have a significant workforce? Ensure that your employees are online and spreading the good name of the company. If you do encourage this however, it is important to be careful regarding your employee’s other behaviour online. Remember, everything is in the public domain. You don’t want any negative blow back to your business. Harness this benefit properly, and it can be great for all involved.
8. Manage any crisis
Because you can reach such large swathes of your audience so swiftly, social also makes for an excellent crisis management tool. It’s the perfect place to keep people updated on news stories, abreast of situations that might affect them, and even send out statements or press releases in response to particular issues. Social media gives you the ability to act quickly in response to any crisis.
9. Grow an audience
This one happens as a result of combining a number of the others, particularly humanisation, authority, content and engaging with customers. Put these into practice and you can build an audience that trusts you, is interested in what you have to say and much more likely to share it far and wide, leading to even further growth.
10. Learn about your audience
To grow or utilise your audience in these ways, you must also understand them. Exactly what is your audience? Beyond that, you need to discover what they like, what they dislike, what they’re looking for online and much more. Get to know your audience, and you will have a much better idea of exactly how to satisfy their needs through your social feed. Neglect to do this, and you might as well be shouting into an empty void – a mistake made by many.
11. Gauge customer sentiment
From launching a new product or service to getting feedback on your existing ones, social media is a great platform for getting an idea of what your customer’s think about your business and what you’re offering. From this you can consider changes or improvements, as well as things to avoid in the future. This will lead to a much more refined, customer friendly service.
12. Create priceless brand loyalty
The 21st century consumer is inundated with a constant barrage of brands vying for their attention. Because of this, the one quality people are looking for ahead of anything else is trustworthiness. If a customer can trust your brand, then you are building a sense of loyalty from that customer, who is then much more likely to recommend you to others and keep using you themselves. Brand loyalty is the biggest step towards building an audience, and social media is the most effective method of creating it.
13. Provide great customer support
Customer service and support has never been faster or more efficient. Outside of chatbots, social media is the best way to answer questions, deal with orders and rectify service issues directly. This can be done through open conversations or by a private message.
14. Use it as a recruitment tool
People are actively looking for jobs through social media at a higher rate than ever before. Take advantage of the online talent and let the world know about any openings in your organisation. You could even throw your direct messages open to speculative applications, should you decide to be a bit more adventurous with your process.
15. Get customers to leave reviews
Certain social platforms, such as Facebook, have the facility to allow your customers to leave public reviews on your page. If these reviews are largely positive, this will be reflected in an overall score and result in others trusting you much more. Ensure that you actively engage with reviewers, whether they are positive or negative. Respond swiftly and helpfully, and you can’t go wrong. If you get a barrage of negative reviews, the function is easily removed.
16. Reach your own target audience where their attention is focused
As more and more of the world comes online, an increasing number of people are jumping onto social. Not only does that give you a large pool to play in, but the majority of those people are there by choice – they love going onto social media and focus their attention on it accordingly. As a result, your own social audience is much more likely to be receptive to your efforts. It’s the perfect scenario for businesses of all kinds.
17. Stay in your audience’s mind
The vast majority of social media users log in or use their favourite platforms every single day. If you are present on said platforms, then you are keeping your brand in your audience’s mind, making them much more likely to come to you first in cases of questions, news or even purchase decisions.
18. Distribute your content
Any business looking to survive in the current climate needs to be producing its own content. Blog posts, videos, infographics, podcasts, guides and much more are all flooding the internet. If you’re not in the game, then you’ve got little chance of really capturing people’s attention. But if you do produce content, how do you distribute it? Once again, the instant and significant reach of social to your audience can be utilised to great effect. People on social media love to discover fantastic content, especially in the form of articles or video. Give your customers (or potential customers) what they want, and they will keep coming back for more.
19. Tell great stories
Everything is storytelling in some form, and marketing or promoting a business is no different. Every brand has a story to tell, and social media is one of the best platforms to do so. Use the aforementioned content formats across your social platforms to tell your own unique story, and watch your audience respond. This helps to create a further connection between what you’re offering and the people you’re offering it to.
20. Engage with trusted influencers
Social media is likely already filled with experts in your sector, big names who influence and direct the conversation in your corner of the market. Rather than trying to beat these people or outright ignore them, the best course of action is to engage with them and become a part of that same conversation. If you catch their eye you can gain their trust, get shared by them and ultimately become a force in the field through your association with other trustworthy figures.
21. Revolutionise your outreach
As mentioned previously, social media is the number 1 tool for sharing your own content. You can also directly target influencers in specific industries and see if they would be willing to share your content on to their own follower base. Similarly, if you are outreaching content on behalf of a client, then the social sphere is full of potential placements that will give you great coverage and links.
22. Go viral!
This one is tricky to pull off, but extremely beneficial if you do. To go viral on social media is essentially to have something of yours (or something related to you) spread like wildfire across the platform, gaining significant coverage across social as a result. This often involves trending, and can sometimes even go beyond the confines of social media itself. Going viral shouldn’t be a no.1 priority for your business’ social presence, as constructing such a situation is time consuming and complex.
If you are shooting for the stars however, then aim to produce content that is related to a highly topical, trending issue. This is even more likely to take off if the content is edgy or subversive in some way, although many companies will understandably shy away from this.
23. Gain new ideas from elsewhere
Whilst copying is to be avoided at all costs, social media is awash with countless ideas to inspire your next wave of content, customer engagement and social posting. Dive into the well of creativity and information that social affords to us all, and go crazy with plans to excite and engage your customers. It is free, after all!
24. Read industry news
Social media platforms have become the news outlets of today. If you are working within a specific industry, you can use this to your advantage by keeping up to date with all the latest news in your area. This will help you to stay ahead of the competition, learn new ways of doing things, and keep on track with changes in the field.
25. Run competitions
Platforms like Facebook and Twitter are full of brands running competitions in order to entice engagement from customers or potential customers. People love free things, especially if it involves winning. With something to offer users, they are then more likely to continue engaging with you in the future, eventually becoming a part of your built-in audience.
26. Use engaging video
The numbers don’t lie. With stats showing that people are much more likely to engage with a social post if it involves video, this is something you can’t afford to ignore. Video also presents massive opportunity to flex your creative muscles and present something no one else is doing.
27. Get some easy ranking
Ranking organically for any number of keywords can be difficult, but you should be looking to rank for your brand terms at the very least. One way to do this is to have active and engaging social media profiles. These tend to rank very well and are likely to appear very highly in conjunction with your brand name, as they are hugely relevant to you.
28. Gain organic content reach
Getting your content to reach a vast audience can be difficult, and costly. With social media platforms, you have the potential for great organic content reach with little cost. This can incorporate several aforementioned points such as outreach and going viral, but the possibilities for organic content reach on social are endless.
29. Increase potential for links
The previous point detailed the possibility for content reach. There’s another element to that which can’t be ignored – links. The more widely shared your content is, the more opportunity there is for people to link to it. This can only benefit your site’s organic search capabilities and its ability to rank well in Google.
30. Help your content get indexed faster
Simply posting content onto your site, in the form of a blog post for example, will see the usual process of waiting a couple of hours for said content to be indexed by Google. In that time, it won’t appear in the search results at all. However, by posting your content through your social channels, those pages are indexed much faster. In fact, they are indexed almost immediately, at an average rate of around 2 seconds. Now that’s a result.
31. Gain more website traffic
The more you make the most of all these benefits on social media, the more people will click through to your website – be it through your profile or links in specific posts. Try not to actively market to people outside of paid ads, but be strategic and tactical in how you gently nudge them towards your site.
This is why relational content, such as engaging but relevant blog posts, is so important. It performs this function without overtly trying to sell to your audience. People see it, click it and like it. They may even share it further. All of this can lead to more and more website traffic, a sign of quality to Google, rewarded with higher rankings.
32. Jump on trends and news
When lots of people talk about something and it becomes a trending topic, it can pay to jump on that trend and increase your exposure as a result. It is best to do this with topics relevant to your business, or at least with something that you can relate back to your product or service in some way. When something gets everybody talking, are you willing to be the only one who isn’t?
33. Engage anytime, anywhere
It doesn’t get more flexible than social media. You can benefit from everything listed here at any time, from anywhere. The rise of mobile has seen brands able to reach their customers across time zones, defying geography in their play for world domination. Whether you’re on holiday or your desired customer is, the engagement doesn’t end there. With social, there are no limits to the places your business can reach.
34. Communicate faster and more openly
One problem that really gets people angry is a lack of communication. In the times we live in, where everything in the media exists in a 24-hour cycle, you cannot afford to be caught sleeping. This doesn’t necessarily mean having your social checked at 3 am (even bigger names have time windows), but during working hours you must be communicating with your customers – be it in response to direct questions, or general updates from yourselves.
The benefit of communication through social is that it is both faster and more open. Its instant nature makes communicating that much easier, whilst it also allows for a degree of transparency. People like an honest company.
35. Keep an eye on competitors
The chances are your competitors will be active on social media, which is reason enough in itself to make sure you are too. This also gives you the opportunity to keep an eye on exactly what your competitors are doing, how they’re doing it, and how you can do even better. There’s no more efficient way of getting a leg up on your competition than with social media.
36. Report and measure results in real time
One vastly underappreciated quality of social media is how measurable the results are. Thanks to each platform having its own analytics platform, as well as some fantastic external ones such as Hootsuite, you are able to track the effectiveness and growth of your social presence in real time.
37. Use targeted advertising
There are also benefits to going down the paid route on social media. Utilising paid ads is a fantastic way to target specific audiences with equally specific products or services. If you are looking to use social as a direct selling tool, then this is the route to go down. Facebook is particularly good for such campaigns, offering highly targeted advertising options.
38. Utilise cost effective marketing
Social media as a marketing tool represents one of the most cost-effective options out there, no matter what your budget. The vast majority of the points raised here cost nothing but expertise and man hours. If you have the right people, then all you need to invest in is time. Considering the plethora of benefits involved, that’s an investment worth making. For expertise, your best option is to find an agency with experience of handling social media for a range of clients. Even paid social is cheap in comparison to many alternatives, and the results are both instant and measurable, leading to fantastic ROI.
39. Use other audiences
Such is the wide reach of social, it can be a good tool for targeting audiences you wouldn’t usually go for. For example, if your product or service is most popular amongst people over the age of 45, then social media presence is a golden opportunity to bring in a younger audience who will then spread the good name of your company. On social media, you have a multitude of differing audiences at your fingertips.
Social is here to stay – ensure that you are too
Social media is going nowhere anytime soon. It’s here to stay. If your business keeps up to date with the latest trends and developments, then you will remain on the cutting edge of an evergreen platform, forever reaping the rewards of its multitude of benefits. Social may evolve, change and grow even further. As long as you’re there and in the game, you stand to benefit.
Make use of your preferred combination of the above points, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a household name in your area. Social media is cost effective and engaging. There’s a reason everyone’s doing it.
To ensure that you don’t fall behind the pack, talk to us about our own social media marketing services. Your only regret will be wondering why you didn’t do it sooner.