You have probably heard of some of the advantages of using social media for business but perhaps you are still not convinced whether you should invest time and energy in spreading to the social.

Many experts believe that social media are here to stay and the sooner your business takes advantage of these alternative communications channels, the sooner you begin to see results and ROI.

The truth is, most successful brands have been growing their social following for quite some time now, so remaining outside of the social networks is simply no longer an option in a business environment which favours two-way communication, interaction and rapid response.

Luckily, social media presence need not be time- and resource-consuming. We have prepared a few tried and tested tips that will help your business grow and your brand become more visible.

 

1. Have a plan, and make it achievable

Social media may sound like fun and games, but it is a serious set of marketing tools. Draw out short- and long-term goals that are measurable, attainable, specific, timely and realistic. For example, instead of saying ‘I want to get 1 million likes on Facebook’, say ‘I want to get 500 likes in two months’. At the end of set time look at your results, evaluate effectiveness and set your next goal.

 

2. Posting times

If content is king, timing is queen. Posting at different times of the day and week will bring varying response results, so identify your audience and experiment with different posting times. Even though 9-5 schedule makes most sense given office work hours, some researchers have argued that engagement levels are most impressive in the evenings and at weekends (e.g. a study by Yesmail showed that 10pm-12am was a golden time for interaction). Don’t worry, you won’t need to work around the clock – there are great tools out there that allow for scheduling and automatic posting, such as Twitterfeed (which can be used for Twitter and LinkedIn as well as Facebook), Hootsuite, and even Facebook’s own new option to schedule future and past updates.

 

3. Be visual

We live in times dominated by visual culture and social media just love pictures: photos, cartoons, memes (photos with captions), infographics, Instagram, you name it. Use images to bring your story to life, to show a personal side of your business and to grab the reader’s attention. Use striking images to punch through the digital noise, but use them wisely, paying attention to copyright. Sometimes it’s worth getting a designer to design something unique that will be more likely to go viral.

 

4. Repost and Share

Don’t just broadcast your news in an empty room. Support other businesses by reposting and sharing their social media content. Become a part of the conversation; this will help build relationships with others and will hopefully in turn get them sharing your information to their fans.

 

5. Don’t promote. Listen and engage

Social media are revolutionising the ways in which marketing is conducted. It may at first sound counterintuitive, but don’t think of social media as your personal marketing playground. Be patient, listen to and engage with your audience. Monitor hot topics and tailor your communications to provide your readers with something of value for them. Connect with them on a human level, avoid sales pitch like fire or you risk turning them off. If you create value for your target audience they will keep coming back and referring you to their friends and networks. And once your brand is visible and always on top of mind, they are more likely to spend their money with you when the opportunity arises.