Harnessing the Power of Social Media
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Business outlook: Harnessing the power of social media without spending money
Let’s be honest — the rise of social media might be one of the best things that ever happened in the marketing landscape. As tough as the competition is in online marketing, you can’t deny the endless opportunities it brings to the table.
According to an article from Hootsuite, “There are now 4.2 billion active social media users — almost twice as many as there were just five years ago. Those users spend an average of 2 hours and 25 minutes on social channels every single day.”
An average of 2 hours and 25 minutes! If you come up with an effective online marketing strategy, 2 hours and 25 minutes is plenty of time to build a following which will eventually turn to sales. The greatest thing of all is that social media marketing does not require you to break the bank.
Think of social media as a public square. You don’t exactly need to pay to be there; it is an open space after all. True enough, with so many people inside, it can be difficult to stand out. But when you have the right strategy and consistently show up, it won’t be long before you’re making a difference.
What does that look like? Here are 5 ways you can make the most out of social media without having to spend a fortune.
1. Go Live! I cannot stress enough the impact of going live on Facebook and Instagram. The ultimate charm of live videos is how real and raw they can be. Nobody expects it to be perfect. How cool is that? Generally, live videos are a great way for your audience to meet you.
You don’t even need a fancy production setup to make this happen. Grab your phone, find good lighting, and go live. What matters is the content you share. How will it resonate with your audience? What makes your live video worth watching?
This is one of the best free social media features out there. But don’t waste the opportunity; make it as valuable as possible for your audience.
2. Incorporate hashtags everywhere. Hashtags are like little communities of content online. When you pair your content with appropriate hashtags, you automatically become part of those specific communities. It might be one of the easiest ways to be seen online!
Hashtags are not merely decorations on your posts. They have the power to multiply your engagement if you use them correctly. Hashtags allow people to find posts online that are relevant to their interests. It is an incredible way to get your business noticed online.
You can also claim a hashtag and create something unique to your business. Or search for relevant hashtags right from your timeline and make sure to use ones that relate to your business and content. You can’t put out content on SEO tips and tricks and include #summervibes and #worldpeace in your hashtag cluster. Use hashtags that make sense so people can find you and the content you’re offering.
3. Make your Instagram stories creative and interactive. The popularity of Instagram and Facebook stories cannot be denied. Although they have been around for a while, they continue to grow in popularity.
People love the creativity offered by stories. And you can capitalize on that by using one of many available apps to design fun and interactive stories for your business’ social media.
Product launches, promos, and special announcements make common content for stories. You can also post snippets of your day-to-day life at work to give your audience a behind-the-scenes look into your company. Add music, create a poll, host a Q&A session and more to attract and engage your audience.
4. Show up every day. The main thing is to be consistent so you can build a connection with your target audience and imprint your brand in their minds.
Consistency also means that, when you set up your social media profiles, you use the same avatars, descriptions and tone. You want to be recognizable as a brand so it’s easy for people to find and notice you online.
5. Talk and LISTEN to your audience. Who doesn’t like attention? When your followers feel like you are giving them attention, they will lean into your content and support you. Set a time, an hour or so, to read comments on your posts and reply to them.
Pro tip! Don’t be generic with your replies. Look for comments about concerns and address them properly. Send thanks to people for their positive comments and suggestions. This wholesome interaction shows your followers that there is a real person behind your brand account.
The bottom line
There is so much more you can do to leverage social media for your business. Start today with these five tips. Social media marketing may not require spending a dime, but to get results, you’ll need to invest your time.
You won’t regret putting your effort into finding the right tools, resources, and platforms that will help you build a sustainable online marketing strategy for your business.
Sharita M. Humphrey is an award-winning finance expert, money mentor and Certified Financial Education Instructor. Once broke and homeless, Sharita completely transformed her life and is now a successful entrepreneur and one of the most in-demand money coaches for individuals and business owners of color. In 2020, Sharita was named the National Financial Educator of the Year.
The Small Business Development Center at Western New Mexico University provides assistance to anyone interested in beginning, improving, or expanding a small business. The SBDC specializes in no-cost, one-on-one confidential consulting and low-cost training. Call 575-583-6320 for an appointment with a business advisor, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. More information may be found at http://www.nmsbdc.org/silver-city.aspx.
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