Inbound marketing has many different parts – email, blogs, content offers – but one of the most critical is social media. In fact, social media is a very important part of any modern marketing strategy, because social media has become an integral part of the life of the modern American.
Consider that of the 277 million Americans who use the internet, a whopping 74 percent are active on at least one social media site – that works out to more than 200 million Americans using social media. And among younger people, the number is even more overwhelming: 82 percent of Americans age 49 or younger use social media. That’s simply far too large an audience to ignore.
Using social media “the right way”
One problem we see with many businesses is a tone deaf attitude when it comes to social media. They use it simply as a promotional tool. There might not be a guaranteed “right way” to use social media, but using it simply for self-promotion is definitely the wrong way.
Social media is all about collaboration, participation and sharing. People use social media to share their lives with others and post photos, thoughts and links that resonate with them; and then comment on similar posts from others. This is the mindset you need to have when considering your own business’ social media activity.
Humanizing the brand
In other words, don’t think of your business as an entity – think of it almost as a person. Develop a personality for your business, a way of thinking and acting. To be truly successful at social media, you need to appeal to your audience at an informal, personal level. Yes, this flies in the face of traditional business ideas such as “always be professional,” but social media is anything but traditional. New marketing arenas call for new marketing methods.
So how can you ensure you’re humanizing your brand on social media? Follow these tips:
Always show there’s a person behind the screen
Your social media followers are aware that your business hasn’t become sentient like Skynet; they know there’s a person behind the social media account. Don’t hide it! Embrace it.
Comment and interact
This goes hand-in-hand with showing there’s a human behind the screen. Don’t be afraid to comment on the posts/tweets/photos of others and interact with them. After all, what could humanize a brand more than that? It’s social media, remember? So get social! Followers will get a kick out of the interaction, and it will be a boost to your image.
Understand the differences between each social media platform
Every social media platform has its own traits and customs that you need to keep in mind. With Facebook, you should always respond to comments on your posts in a friendly manner; and if someone posts to your wall, respond then, too. On Twitter, retweet interesting or funny tweets you see from others. On Instagram, “like” photos and leave comments on some of them.
Have a sense of humor
Be careful with this one; as the old saying goes, comedy is hard. But if you find the opportunity to make a joke that’s in good taste, by all means, do it. Perhaps a better thought to keep in mind is “don’t be so serious.” Social media isn’t life or death. Try to have some fun with it, and don’t be afraid to post things that are silly. As long as it’s respectful and inoffensive, your followers will enjoy it.
Post plenty of photos
People love pictures on social media. They will always be the most popular posts you have, by far. So post them often. It doesn’t matter if they have anything to do at all with your business (in fact, they’ll probably be more popular if they don’t). Did someone have a birthday in the office with a cake? Post a picture of it. Did employees dress up for Halloween? You’d better post it on social media.