Social media usage is at an all time high. In 2019 alone, 79% of the population in the United States - almost 247 million people - had a social networking profile, and experts expect that number to rise in 2020.
How are you using that to your advantage?
Customers Expect Brand Connection Through Social Media
Customers expect brands to engage and connect with them over social media, making brand presence on these platforms an essential part of the modern business world. 65% of consumers feel more connected to brands that have a robust presence on social media.
Creating and strengthening this connection with customers is paramount to your success because more than three quarters of consumers say they would buy from a brand they feel connected to over a competitor. Not only that, but 57% say they are more likely to increase how much they spend with a brand when they feel connected. And to drive that point home even further, 71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others.
OMG has found that one of the major keys to success for high-volume online stores is communication and marketing. Social media is one of the easiest and most effective ways to advertise your online store offering, while also growing your followers, increasing reach, and attracting new business. To see it in action, check out how social media played a role in the success of the STL STRONG and “We Are” campaigns.
On the surface, social media seems easy enough. However, it can quickly become a daunting undertaking when you consider the number of social media platforms available, the different ways to post, the type of content to post, followers, and finding your brand voice.
The good news? You’re not alone! We’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help you tap into the power of social media.
Social Media Platforms
There are a variety of social media platforms you can choose to be active on, and below are the four most popular social media platforms. Each platform has a different purpose and audience, so you can choose to post actively on one or two, or all four and then some more!
Facebook is a go-to social media platform for many, and has the most active users, so consistently posting high-quality content can go a long way in solidifying your business in the mind of customers. Facebook is a community-focused channel and a great venue to invite people to share experiences, start a discussion, or ask a question.
Instagram is a photo-based social media platform, so posting visually appealing images can go a long way in displaying your creativity. Instagram provides a great opportunity to showcase pictures of your best projects or tell interesting stories about a solution you provided for a customer.
Twitter is a great platform to connect quickly with your followers in a fast paced environment. Twitter provides a simple way to have quick interactions with customers or give real-time updates on projects.
LinkedIn is a great opportunity to make professional connections with industry partners, customers and potential customers, suppliers and vendors, and talent for new hires. LinkedIn is a professionally-focused platform, which makes it a great place to share your industry expertise and thought leadership.
Setting Social Media Goals
Before launching yourself into every social media channel, step back and take a moment to consider what your social media strategy is. What are you hoping to achieve? Which social channel are your customers on? What role will social media play for your brand?
Your answers could be that you hope to gain new customers, engage existing customers, connect with community members, attract new talent for hire, strengthen your brand voice, or provide a platform for discovery.
If your purpose looks different for each social media platform, that’s actually a good thing! Each platform serves a different purpose, so it’s okay for things to be a little different. The important thing is that you set smart social media goals.
Who To Follow on Social Media
A great way to start building a following is to follow others! Start out by following these kinds of accounts:
Businesses in your industry: Following suppliers, vendors, partners, or other non-competitor businesses in your industry is a great way to build partnerships, contribute to industry conversations, and be referral resources.
Thought leaders: Follow professionals in your industry who provide thought leadership or trend insights to keep your thumb on the pulse of the industry and build a relationship with powerhouses.
Potential ideal customers: Follow your ideal customers to learn what’s important to them, and learn about their business and industry. This could eventually lead to opening up an organic conversation with them that can lead to new business.
Current customers: Engage with customers and strengthen your relationship with them by interacting with their social media posts. Sharing their posts or tagging them in yours (as appropriate) is a great way to boost the relationship.
People who follow competitors: Let them know they have options, and use social media as a low-key way to connect with new potential business.
General Guidelines for Posting on Social Media
No matter which social media platforms you use, there are a few key principles to keep in mind that can help ensure your success.
Keep it Short and Sweet: When scrolling through feeds, people don’t often take time to read long captions. Get your message across by keeping it brief.
Utilize hashtags: Create a hashtag for your business and use it in the caption of every post. Use other relevant hashtags to make it easier for new followers to find your account.
Join or Follow Groups: Many communities and industries have dedicated groups on social media. Join interesting and relevant groups to contribute to conversations and strengthen connections.
Tag Appropriately: Use posts to give shout outs to businesses doing a great job or tag your customers to showcase their projects.
Find Your Voice: Social media platforms provide a unique opportunity to engage with customers, so explore different ways to connect and strengthen your positive image.
Social Media Post Ideas
Engaging with customers and prospects on social media is key to growing your business and boosting the performance of online stores. However, with so much activity across different social media channels, it can be daunting. The great news? There are a lot of simple ways you can capture the attention of your audience. The key is to remember that social media requires experimentation, so with a little trial and error, you’ll be engaging with followers in no time.
Here are some ideas to help you generate high-performing social media captions, as well as examples. Test a couple to see what your followers engage with most and then adjust your strategy accordingly.
Ask Open-ended Questions: Invite your followers to engage in a conversation with you and use it as an opportunity to learn more about them. Ask open-ended questions in your captions like:
“What are you most looking forward to this season?”
“If you could host a fundraiser for any organization, what would it be, and why?”
“What’s the best custom item you’ve ever received?”
Give a Behind-the-Scenes Look: Share what your day-to-day operations look like and give your audience insight into what it’s like to work at your business. Including videos and pictures is a great way to help your post stand out in their social media feed. Ideas include:
Share a picture of your workspace and tell a part of your creative process.
Post a picture of a piece of equipment you use and provide a fun fact about how it works or why it’s an essential part of your business.
Share a picture of an order being completed and sent to a customer, with insight into how you came up with the idea.
Show Off Your Team or Customers: Pictures of real people tend to be the highest performing posts across all social media platforms. Introducing followers to the faces behind the magic (your Team) makes you instantly more relatable. Ideas include:
Highlight an employee. Share what they do, why they are so valuable to your business, and a few fun facts.
Feature a customer or an interesting customer project. Brag about a customer who is making a difference in their community or showcase how a specific project turned out. Always be sure to get the customer’s permission before using their name or image in a post, and tag them to increase reach!
Tell Your Company Story: You’ve built your business into what it is today, so tell stories about where it all started and why it’s important to you. Topics to consider:
Why did I choose to start this business/work here?
How do the business and the work I do impact the community?
What makes us different than competitors? Why should Teams, companies, and organizations choose to work with us?
What are some unique facts or interesting stories about how this business came to be where it is today?
Social Media Resources
Visual components of your social media content - like videos or photos - are incredibly important. Posts that include images produce 650% higher engagement than text-only posts, and people are 85% more likely to buy a product after viewing a product video. Take time and care in producing visually appealing elements to your social media post strategy, and use it as a chance to showcase your creativity and expertise.
Here are a few free resources you can use to help ensure your visual elements are in tip-top shape:
Graphic Design: Create social media images and gifs quickly with these free platforms, using templates, pre-loaded stock images, and platform-specific dimensions.
Stock Images: Power your visual elements with free, professionally-taken stock images.
Image Editors: Share impactful and visually-appealing images by using editors and filters to fine-tune your images.
Video Editors: Maximize videos by using editors or splicing together clips to create relatable, story-telling graphics.
Brands that Do Social Media Well
As you consider the voice, style, and overall presence you hope to create for your business on social media, it can help to have a few examples to provide inspiration. Here are several well-known brands in different industries that have a unique and impactful social media presence to inspire your own strategy.
HubSpot: Hubspot has a solid cross-channel presence with consistent branding. They provide helpful and educational content that engages their followers and sparks conversation.
Pop-Tarts: Pop-Tarts has a sarcastic voice on Twitter that sounds like it’s coming from a friend instead of a brand trying to sell followers a product. This increases connection and popularity on their feed.
Cisco: Cisco has been named one of the top brands on LinkedIn because of their clear and concise company page on the platform. Cisco also shares relevant, insightful content on a consistent basis, making it easy for followers to engage with them often.
Letterfolk: Letterfolk speaks with their images by creating well-thought, relatable images that can engage followers and start a conversation with them. They often include videos and product highlights to make it easy for followers to see their product offerings.
Discovering the best way to use social media for your business isn’t going to happen overnight! Which is why it’s important to get started today, and have some fun testing out different ways to approach your strategy. Your business is unique, and your social media presence should be too, so think outside the box and find ways to make it yours. Be patient, keep at it, and before you know it, you’ll have incredible customer connections through social media to power your business.
Want more free resources? Check out the OMG Marketing Tool Kit for free guides and best practices around maximizing your reach on social media!
OrderMyGear is an industry-leading sales tool, empowering dealers, distributors, decorators, and brands to create custom online pop-up stores to sell branded products and apparel. Since 2008, OMG has been on a mission to simplify the process of selling customized merchandise to groups and improve the ordering experience. With easy-to-use tools, comprehensive reporting, and unmatched support, the OMG platform powers online stores for over 3,000 clients generating more than $1 billion in online sales. Learn more at www.ordermygear.com.
Media Contact: Hayley Bell | firstname.lastname@example.org | 214-396-2110