5 Ways to Use Social Media in 2014

Social media is ever-changing, so how can your business make the most of it?

5 Ways to Use Social Media in 2014

Social media should be every small business’s best friend, the Ying to your Yang, the Batman to your Robin. In fact, think of it more as an extension of yourself, a phantom limb if you will. It helps you connect with your audience on a more personal level whilst also influencing your search rankings. Best of all: it’s free.

Or is it? Social media in 2014 has become increasingly competitive, and some of the largest social networks are now encouraging us to pump money into our accounts. Facebook recently released a statement claiming it would be dropping a post’s organic reach. Put simply, your content won’t reach the same people it used to without you paying for promoted posts. So what’s a person to do in today’s ruthless social society?

  • Keep it visual- although it already goes without saying, Facebook recently released a statement confirming that updates rich with different media such as images and links will perform better under its new algorithm update than plain blocks of text. It makes sense to follow this approach anyway. People use social media in their down time (okay, maybe the odd cheeky peek at work too) and they don’t want to read essays about your most recent product launch. Not unless it involves a grumpy cat.
  • Use it to promote your content. Arguably the most valuable thing about social media is its ability to strengthen your other channels, particularly content marketing. All of a sudden that blog you spent hours perfecting can reach thousands of new viewers in such a short amount of time, who in turn can share this with their contacts, and (fingers crossed) start linking to it.
  • Focus on quality not quantity. Don’t get me wrong, you need to be posting regularly to keep your audience interested, but one post a day that gathers attention and sparks a conversation is far more valuable than three updates that speak at your users and not with them. A mixture of light-hearted posts, comments on timely issues and questions that tap into your audience’s current concerns/interests is the best way to grow a successful social media campaign. It’s the approach we adopt and works best for clients from all industries.
  • Explore paid opportunities. In light of the way this article started, it might seem as though I’m suggesting you dance with the devil, but if you have the budget available, it can work well. Especially when you use the right features such as Twitter’s Tailored Audiences. This new tool allows integration with your CRM accounts so you can target paid ads towards specific people, and is said to be producing improved engagement and click through rates.
  • Get creative. If you really want to stand out from the competition and grab your audience’s attention then you need to think beyond the usual status updates and competitions. One of my favourite social media campaigns over the years has been Burger King’s “sacrifice”, where social media users where encouraged to defriend a contact in return for a free burger. It was controversial and eventually got pulled from Facebook but it served a purpose and got people talking. Another great one was Ikea’s photo tagging competition, posting items from its new catalogue and awarding them to the first people to tag themselves to the image, resulting in something of a frenzy.

Get it right and social media can unlock a wealth of potential new business, improve relations with your customers and help shape your brand. Get it wrong, and your competitors will leave you for dust and nothing echoes quite as loud as a question in an empty social media account.

 


Ben Austin is CEO of digital marketing agency Absolute Digital Media

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