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7 ways to take social media to the next level

Social media continues to expand at a dizzying pace. Most businesses are aware of the need to be on social media, are making strides to be consistent and share valuable content but signing up to these online social properties is not simply enough. Below are 7 ways you can take your social media to the next level for your business with some simple tweaks.

1. Maintain Consistency: Consistency is key. Inconsistent messaging and information across different channels can cause customers to mistrust your brand whereas brand consistency helps engage customers and promotes a positive brand experience. It’s always important that what you say is consistent, whereas HOW you say it can change depending on which social media channel you are using. If you have trouble keeping up with time it takes to post to multiple networks, scale back the number of networks that you participate in so at least you can keep consistency with those posts.

2. Be as visual as possible. We know that images get a higher click-through rate but it’s a lot more than just stock images. Upload videos and photo of your team. If a team member did something interesting or exciting, post that on your social channels with an image or video. People respond well to real world events, so this is a good way to get out there. Get your team involved as this will spark more conversations and opportunities to share the team experience online. People like to hear from other people, not just a logo. Images are a fantastic way to grab that attention.

3. Concentrate on quality and type of content: Producing great content consistently and frequently is a major challenge. It requires dedication, creativity, excellent writing skills, deep industry knowledge and insight, However, there are ways around that. For example, share real-time industry news like a breaking story and add some commentary; Apple Watch anyone? People also love numbers and facts. By using industry research reports (i.e. Gartner) with data and statistics, it will give your content a lot more relevance and credibility. Along those lines use case studies, testimonials, infographics and visuals in the form of video or photos. This will help your message resonate even further with your audience.

4. Improve Your Online Profile: Just like your web site, changes and updates need be made along the way. It’s important to create a compelling profile as it’s a valuable calling card that can impress your target audience or leave them out in the cold. For starters, make sure you have the basics down pat. Photos, web site URL and location are up to date and accurate. Also, make sure to share some recent achievements, did you get a new certification? Land a big contract? Win an industry award? Share it! Your profile is a valuable piece of marketing collateral that you can use and time and time again.

5. Leverage Apps: Social Media can be very demanding but you can add a few apps into your Marketing toolbox that will help you streamline your online communication and automate your efforts, even when you aren’t in the office. There are some great ones out there:

> Hootsuite: a centralized social media dashboard that allows you to manage all of your social networks one one web site. It allows you to schedule posts to each network, track clients and prospects posts, and analyze traffic.

> Canva: this is becoming a very hot site for graphics creation for businesses. You can design amazing graphics for your web site, email letter heads, social media posts, flysheets and promotional materials. Graphics can be manipulated to your preferred size and can either be free or cost a couple of dollars.

6. Interact with your customers: It’s not a monologue, it’s a dialogue. Take advantage of social media to learn about your customers and improve relationships. One of the best ways to do that is to ask questions. By asking questions you are telling them what to do: respond and get involved. The great thing for you is that when someone responds, that answer and post will most likely go on their home feed which = more exposure for you.

7. Give Social Media a front seat: Just as in the 90s, it was about making sure you had a web site, in 2015 companies are expected to be online. Too often social media takes a back seat as part of a Sales and Marketing strategy and toolbox. Social Media can be a very cost effective way to promote your business, your services and what makes you unique. As long as you keep consistency and push valuable content, it will work nicely alongside your other Sales and Marketing go-to-market strategies.

Marlene Mullowney
Bright Beam Digital