A strong social media presence is essential these days to ensure that you not only attract a strong consumer base, but manage to hold onto them and create a relationship.
The problem is that newcomers can easily find themselves posting for hours on Facebook and Twitter with little to show for it.
Social media is a vital tool for marketing and brand awareness, but it has to be used with care and skill.
The following guide on how to use social media for business marketing should help you tread that fine line between abusing the medium and using it to enhance your online presence.
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Creating Your Social Media Persona
A Twitter handle is a great way of showing the human side of a business, perhaps by sharing photos of new product lines as they arrive in the office, and it always helps to refer to yourself – your own actions and opinions – rather to your company name alone.
It shows people that there is a real face and voice behind the posts and product links and this can help when building a relationship.
The importance of a strong customer relationship online cannot be overlooked, but it takes more than simply spamming users with countless links and going overboard with content.
It is also crucial to find the right voice when talking to customers and followers online.
There is a middle ground between being overly-friendly and overly-personal and being robotic and impersonal.
100 pictures of the office cat will get annoying, posting a picture of said cat “enjoying” a product from your latest range on National Cat Appreciation day is cute marketing.
It is all about coming off as a professional company that knows how to treat its customers well.
On this note, it is also important to remember that civil conversation, compliments and positivity go a long way on social media posts.
It is about sharing good news and solutions, not criticizing others for bad choice and questionable opinions.
Play nice, enjoy the positive attention of customers that you actually want to keep and avoid looking aggressive or negative – or worse, like a troll.
Content vs Conversation
When bloggers and website owners discuss how to use social media in affiliate marketing, there is some debate over the importance of content over conversation.
Both are important when communicating with customers.
You want to be able to talk to followers about their concerns and opinions, but you need strong content and information to build that relationship upon.
In order to create this relationship and strong content, and to ensure that sense of professionalism, it is good idea to base the majority of your output around your own homepage.
Engage in conversation via Facebook and/or Twitter, but ensure that these potential customers eventually come directly to you to continue the relationship.
Focus on the homepage not the Facebook page!
In order to do this, you need a welcoming, engaging website that continues the conversation and gives followers access to the information, ideas and products hinted at in your posts.
Make sure to provide information that consumers can relate to in order to reinforce this idea of a two-way relationship.
The better the website and its content, the more likely they are to post it themselves and potentially bring in a wider audience.
Take your time to create something attractive and professional looking, where it is clear that this is your main base of operation and your twitter handle is just an extra.
Know When to Leave Alone
In can be too easy to rely on social media and to become hooked on it. It is not just teenagers that find themselves spending more time than they had imagined liking posts, chatting with friends and retweeting pictures that catch their eye.
The same can be said for online business owners that are looking for the next customer and the next strategy.
Engaging with customers each day is helpful; constant posting for hours on end is not productive. Set a timer each day to create a small window of time on social media and make it count.
It also helps to pick a primary platform and focus your energy there, rather than posting the same information over and over on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and whatever random pages you have that are somehow still active.
If your core consumer base tends to hang out on Facebook, stay there.
Use The Time Wisely
There is an additional issue here where considering how to use social media for business marketing: how do you make those precious minutes count?
The concern for many newcomers is that by turning off their mobiles and logging out of Twitter they may be missing a chance to make another connection or sale.
It is all about finding the right people, using the right language and leaving the posts and followers to do the hard work for you.
A good place to start here is by targeting followers that not only fit with your niche and your company ethos, but that have the social reach to bring in other people along the chain.
Bloggers, writers, podcasters and celebrities all have influence and a wider platform that can be used to spread a message.
If, for example, you are a business with an environmental conscience, find groups and individuals with the same views – and plenty of followers – and let them share your opinions and goods while you work on more important business over at the main website.
The other trick is to use SEO in your posts.
You may think that SEO is only reserved for the larger pillar articles and home pages that need to stand out through Google’s rankings, but they can also be used in social media.
You only have 140 characters per tweet, so it pays to make each one count and carefully crafted posts will be recognized by search engines.
The Ideal Social Media Presence
These tips on how to use social media in affiliate marketing show that there is a brilliant middle ground between over use and under utilization where website owners create the ideal, personable persona with great views and content, but know when a tweet is a waste of time and characters and when to log out.
A small amount of time each day on social media, if managed correctly, can really help to bring content to a wider audience and spark conversation, but if you go overboard the venture is no longer productive and you risk scaring people off.
Work on your homepage, your persona and time management, target the right people with helpful posts and SEO and watch as social media suddenly works in your favor.