Think back to the not-so-distant past. Back before social media was a thing. You know, when brands and businesses relied on email lists, snail mail lists, print circulars and in-store POP to inform customers.
But now? With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and whatever other social media platforms just popped up, it is easier than ever to reach your customers and potential customers.
The real question is “How do you do it effectively?” You’ve got a couple of options to consider – organic and paid posts. The important thing to remember with organic posts is to encourage engagement with your fans, especially on Facebook. Their ever-evolving algorithm means your fans might only see a mere fraction (about 10% or so) of what you post in their news feed, but it also prioritizes their actual friends’ posts over those of brands.
Beating the algorithms
To see the most success, you must post organically and put money behind posts as well. Depending on targeting, you can go after existing fans, attempt to reach those outside of your follower lists or both.
I have also seen some brands and stores encourage their fans to mark their posts as ones they will see first when they go to Facebook. This can be done easily by going to a brand’s page, hovering over the arrow on the “Following” button, then checking “See First” in the dropdown.
Twitter and Instagram do similar things with their algorithms, by shuffling posts with high engagement to the tops of their feeds. Needless to say, the same applies there – post highly engaging organic posts and supplement them with paid ones as well.
Follow your calendar and focus
One thing you absolutely must do is establish a regular posting cadence and content calendar. It will take the pressure off maintaining your social presence by having posts (or at least ideas for posts) scheduled and ready to roll. Also experiment with posting times throughout a typical day to find the time where your engagement numbers are optimal.
And always remember the importance of focusing on the channels that are the right fit for your audience. While they are somewhat always changing, think of the overarching demos for each channel. For example, Snapchat might not be the right fit for you if your audience isn’t millennials, but everything is worth a shot.
If you’re unsure, try a channel for a few weeks, and if you’re not seeing the desired results, turn your efforts to one that has proven to be successful.
Take advantage of social media’s real-time nature
Social media does have real-world advantages in driving sales. You are able to reach your customers where they are spending a large chunk of their time.
Want to publicize a flash sale (maybe an extra 20% off clearance shoes or 15% off all used vinyl for the next 3 hours)? There’s nothing better than social for that. Post it organically, and if you see solid engagement numbers in a specified timeframe, boost it with a bit of cash.
Utilize it for new product announcements. Got in the new season from a popular clothing line? Blast it out across all your social channels. Launching the latest release from a cult stationery company? Take a pic, write some witty copy, click “Post,” done. Run a record store and it’s New Release Friday? Let the world know what’s out!
You can use it to run contests for your fans & followers. Maybe you have a relationship with a local concert promoter who hooks you up with tickets to give away. Create contests to run across social media to give them away (and pair it with an in-store component to boost foot traffic).
Getting new followers and fans
But how do you get followers and fans? Through paid posts targeted to non-fans, to start. Want to drive traffic to a specific promo, blog post, etc.? Post the link in your IG bio and in corresponding posts, add “Link in bio.” Don’t forget to post links to your social channels on your website. But you can also go old school with it too – put your social page URLs on your receipts, and post some POP at your cash registers.
It’s all about experimentation and figuring out what works for you and your business. Just remember that social media is supposed to be fun, so treat it that way!