Engaging with your customers has never been easier (or cheaper) than it is now — if you know how to use social media to your advantage.
Small businesses leverage social media to gain a much-needed advantage over their competitors. They know social media is a powerful tool.
For example, Twitter and Instagram are both great platforms to promote incentives, let current and future customers know about new news, and establish yourself as an expert.
Recent studies reveal some interesting trends:
47% of people who follow a specific brand on Twitter self-identify as more likely to visit the company’s website
Nearly 70% of all businesses now use Twitter according to a February 2017 report
23% of millennials follow at least one specific brand on Twitter
31% of American women and 24% of American men regularly use Instagram
Instagram has over 400 million active users
Instagram usage has more than doubled during the past two years
90 of the 100 top brands in the world use Instagram
Learning how to use social media platforms, like Instagram and Twitter, to boost your business doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are a few quick tips to get started:
1. Don’t worry about posting ‘too much’
Approximately, 10% of all photos taken throughout history originated in 12 months according to 2012 figures. That’s right! We are taking more pictures now than we ever have. In fact, “every two minutes, we take more pictures than the whole of humanity in the 1800s.” Marketers who want to reach their ideal customers understand that photos matter.
2. Social media is a great way to reach ideal customers
According to AdWeek, “Instagram better engagement figures than any network except for Facebook,” and half of all Instagram users follow brands. Meanwhile, photos that include at least one hashtag benefit from a 15% higher engagement rate. Also, 70% of all hashtags are branded, so find or create a few hashtags that align with your brand and use them consistently. Hashtags are important for announcements, as well.
3. Monitor industry trends on Twitter
Twitter is a great way to find out what your customers think about your products, brand and industry. Use Twitter Search to find out what the public is saying about your industry; search relevant hashtags and business names.
4. Host and engage in Twitter chats to boost your exposure
It may seem counterintuitive, but Twitter conversations, or “chats”, with individuals or small groups is a great way to reach new customers and make a great impression. Use popular Twitter chat management tools like Twubs to host or participate in Twitter chats, plus you can create reports to help track your success metrics. Another option is tchat.io. Simply connect your Twitter profile, plug in a hashtag and start tracking conversations.
5. Leverage video on Instagram and Twitter
Video is a powerful medium to share stories. According to Twitter, a “majority of users (82%) watch video content on Twitter and most watch on a hand-held screen.” Meanwhile, “An analysis of internal data found that native video on Twitter drives more overall engagement than third-party videos shared on Twitter: 2.5X replies, 2.8X Retweets and 1.9X Favorites.”
Maximum video length for Twitter is 2 minutes and 20 seconds. Start with creating useful and engaging content. For example, respond to customer questions with a short video and see how that simple twist skyrockets your engagement.
6. Repurpose and recycle content
“You don’t have to create content day in and day out. You just have to work on getting the content you already have in the hands of more people,” says Derek Halpern of Social Triggers. If you post a link to your new blog post just once, it isn’t going to drive results.
Instead, repurpose the same content in multiple ways. This not only provides a much needed SEO boost, it helps you reach marketing’s rule of 7 which states that buyers need to hear your message seven times before they’ll close the deal. Repurposing and recycling content helps you meet this quota.
Twitter and Instagram can give your small business a brand boost. So why isn’t everyone doing it? Many small business owners believe social media outlets are hard to learn.
However, if you feel like Twitter and Instagram are beyond your reach, try them anyway. Delegate the task to an intern or employee, to test it out. Keep an eye on analytics so you can see your progress. You’ll be thrilled with the results.
This article has been edited.
Parker Davis is the CEO of Answer 1, a leader in the virtual receptionist and technology enabled answering services industry. He believes that the application of data analytics, investment in technology, and fostering a positive company culture together create highly efficient and scalable growth companies. In 2016, Answer 1 will achieve record revenues while also being awarded the Top Companies to Work For in Arizona award. Parker is also the Managing Partner of Annison Capital Partners, LLC, a private investment partnership. Connect with @answer1 on Twitter.
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