You’ve launched your new website or blog, and you’re eagerly awaiting all the people who will visit your site.
A few weeks pass. The phone should be ringing off the hook, but there’s silence. You check your Google Analytics and you can count your page views on one hand. Your email inbox remains empty. Even with all of the best search engine optimization and keywords, you get the feeling you’re not getting the eyeballs you know your site deserves.
Don’t lose hope! Your website is fine. People just don’t know about your business yet so they can’t visit your site.
That’s when social media can come to the rescue. It’s time to use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all the others to drive traffic to your site and start bringing you new clients and new sales!
What are People Looking for on Social Media?
When someone logs into their Facebook account or checks Twitter or one of their other social media profiles, they’re probably hoping to find out what their friends are up to, be entertained, or read about news and upcoming events.
Generally, they’re not looking for information about businesses or planning to buy something. That means that companies need to provide content that stands out and appeals to their customers’ interests.
So with that in mind, what can your company offer that’s entertaining, educational, newsworthy, or interesting enough to grab someone’s attention?
Here are a few ideas to get started:
- Offer tips on how to get the most out of one of your products/services (or something aligned with what you do). These could include things like productivity tips, tutorials on related software, or healthy living advice.
- Post something funny or intriguing that is relevant to your business.
- Request suggestions, feedback, or ideas.
- Share links to articles, tools, or inspirational content your customers will love.
- Show behind-the-scenes videos of how you make a product.
- Do a Q & A or AMA (Ask Me Anything) about your business.
- Tease an upcoming product release
- Try Facebook Live video tours or conversations
The key here is to provide things that are interesting and compelling. While it’s okay to announce sales or events from time to time, you should offer a variety of appealing content. Above all, invite your customers or fans to interact with you.
Top Tips for Using Social Media
When you have a business, whether it’s online or a brick-and-mortar shop, having a social media presence is an affordable way to raise awareness about your business and attract new customers.
If you’re new to promoting your content on Facebook, Twitter, or other platforms, it can seem overwhelming. Where do you start? How do you know if it’s working?
Because the social media platforms are always evolving and changing how they display content to their users, it can sometimes be difficult to define “best practices”. Instead, here are a number of things you should consider as you get started:
- Start small. When you’re just getting started, choose the platform you know the best or use the most often, and start posting content there. Once you get the hang of it, you can branch out and expand to other platforms.
- Images and videos get more eyeballs. On Twitter and Facebook, always include an image with every post. Your posts will stand out more and, depending on the platform, may be shown to more people. Until recently, Facebook favored videos over all other content, although as of January video content will not receive the same priority it has in the past
- Encourage conversations. People like to think there’s a real person behind social media accounts. The strength of social media is the engagement you can build with your customers and clients. Develop your own style and tone, and don’t be afraid to let it show.
- If you’re a small business or craftsman, consider using your own photo rather than a logo as your avatar. People will find it easier to connect with you, and that will increase engagement even more.
- Share relevant information and links. People who follow your profiles are looking for extra value. They want to be entertained, educated, and updated. Sometimes they haven’t committed to becoming a customer and want to learn more, while others want to know the latest news. But many people will unfollow your profile if everything is a promotion. Consider telling customer or staff stories, explain how to use a product, ask for feedback on new designs or recipes, and share links to other websites or news that your customers might find useful.
- Post content frequently. Ideally, you should be getting your name out there daily, or at least a few times a week. Due to the sheer volume of content on social media, most of your followers won’t see everything you post, so you need to keep things fresh. On Twitter, you should plan on retweeting the same content a few times.
- Don’t be afraid of using humor or going the extra mile. Customers respond well to excellent social media interactions, and if you handle it right, you can get a lot of free publicity. Check out some of these examples on how you can use social media interaction to turn people into life-long fans.
- Use cloud-based software to schedule your content. Don’t try to post everything live. With the right software, you can schedule your tweets and other posts days in advance. Buffer is a popular option or, depending on your other needs, you might consider Coschedule, which helps you schedule social media posts for each blog post, or Tweetdeck if you mostly need to schedule Twitter. An excellent option if you have a lot of social media channels to manage is Meet Edgar.
- Keep an eye on your analytics. Watch for the kinds of posts that get the most views or engagement. If certain content gets more comments or shares/likes/retweets, then make a note of that and adjust your strategy accordingly. Sometimes the silly little posts actually make the biggest impact, so don’t be afraid to try different things.
- Experiment with pinned posts. These can be useful to drive people to special offers, events, or other content you want to make sure people don’t miss.
For more ideas on how to drive more traffic to your website or blog, check out our blog on growing your audience. And check out Tom Kuegler’s 50 tips on making your blog better over on Medium, as well Post Planner’s tips on increasing your engagement on Facebook.
Complaints and Support Requests
When you have a social media presence, your customers will often reach out to you on social media when they have a problem.
Rather than see this as a downside, consider it an opportunity.
- Customers are looking for a response. By posting to your Facebook page or tweeting to you, or finding you on other platforms, these customers hope to hear from you. Even if you can’t do what they want, they will usually value you taking the time to acknowledge their concerns. So whenever possible, respond in a timely fashion and endeavor to keep the public interaction positive.
- Never argue with or criticize your customers. That will almost always go badly for you. Instead, do your best to be open-minded and listen to their feedback. From there, take the conversation to a private message, email, or support ticket.
- Most angry customers are just frustrated. If you can resolve their issue quickly and to their satisfaction, not only will you defuse their anger, but you can often turn them into a lifelong fan of your business.
Advertising and Boosted Posts
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter allow you to create two different kinds of ads or sponsored content.
The first, and easiest method is to boost posts. Boosting, in this case, means pushing your published content to larger audiences that haven’t already discovered you. The result can be new fans on that platform or increased traffic to your website or event.
The second method is to create stand-alone ads that promote your product or service. Ads are a bit more complicated in that you need to create your visuals (for the graphically challenged, Canva is a great tool to make quick and effective ads). For Facebook and Twitter, advertising professional Chelle Honiker suggests the return on ads is better than boosted posts since they tend to stand out more and can turn into sales if you have a solid call to action.
For both boosted posts and actual ads, you can define the audience that will see your content using location, age, gender, and personal interests. You also determine how much you want to spend. The social media platform will then display your content to a percentage of the population defined by your criteria, with larger budgets giving your content a wider reach.
If you need more help creating your ads, here are a few options. Buffer offers a step-by-step guide on how to create and run Instagram ads. Twitter will walk you through ad creation, and Facebook offers a step-by-step wizard to create an actual ad. Follow the wizard to add the blog post name as your headline, and explain the value to your audience in the text body. Choose your budget and presto! You have your first Facebook ad. Facebook will optimize the traffic for you over time as it learns who views and clicks your ad.
Making the Most Out of Your Advertising Budget
Although there are easy steps to creating your ads, there are a few things to consider before throwing your entire budget at promoting your website or other content.
- You may need a business account. Most social media platforms will require you to set up a business account or profile before you can start boosting posts or running ads. Among other things, this allows them to capture your billing information separate from your personal accounts.
- Know what you’re buying. Different platforms have a variety of ways you can buy ads. Especially when you’re just getting started, set a total advertising budget, and establish an end date. Don’t leave anything open-ended, because ads can end up costing you much more than you expected.
- What’s your Call to Action? In other words, what do you want people to do when they click on your ad? You can run ads that direct someone to your website or online store, but you have other options. Consider encouraging people to sign up for your mailing list. Set a goal of ‘awareness’ and direct them to a useful blog post. Or allow them to download something of value like an ebook or free software tool in exchange for their email address.
- Choosing the right audience. Try to target your ads to the audience that you think will most want your product or service. Imagine your ideal customer. What problem does your company solve for them? What are their interests? If you run a food blog, you could target fans of the Food Network, for example, while a website developer might target small business owners.
- Don’t be afraid to iterate. You’ll likely need to test a few audiences to see which ones work best, so keep an eye on your analytics. As you figure out what works for you, you can stop the ads that don’t have a good response rate and spend more on the ones that do.
Above All, Be Social!
At the end of the day, always remember that social media is exactly that—social. That means people look for conversations and interactions. Whether you’re posting content on your profile or page, or you’re running an ad, be open to those opportunities to engage with your customer and add a little value to the exchange. When people realize that you’re not just selling a product or service, but you want to improve their lives in some small way, you’ll gain your customers’ loyalty and support.
In the comments below, let us know if you have any suggestions or best practices that have worked well for your own social media interactions. We’d love to hear from you.