The future is online and so are your clients.
Almost eight in 10 Australians now use social media, with 94 per cent of us routinely checking Facebook. And it doesn’t stop there – 53 per cent of Australians use YouTube, 46 per cent use Instagram, 32 per cent use Twitter and 18 per cent use LinkedIn.
So if you’re not making the most of social media platforms, you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity to tap into new pools of potential clients. In fact, one in three Australians say they check a company’s social media before they buy a product or service.
But that doesn’t mean you need to be across every single channel. Rather than spreading yourself thin, the trick is making sure you reach the right people. Here are some things to consider before you get started.
What do you want to achieve with social media?
First up, you need to consider your desired outcomes so you know where to focus your energy. You should write down a list of clearly defined goals that will form the basis of your marketing strategy. If you’re not particularly social media-savvy, it’s worth engaging other team members in the brainstorming process and sharing ideas.
Your social media goals could include:
- Increasing awareness of your brand
- Becoming a trusted presence in the community
- Growing your client base
- Strengthening relationships with existing clients
- Building connections with industry partners
Which social media channels will you use?
Before you dive into the social media pool, it’s a good idea to invest some time upfront into researching the various channels. Different demographics use different social media channels, so you need to find out where your ideal clients spend their time.
For example, older Australians tend to favour Facebook and YouTube over newer platforms such as Snapchat and Pinterest, which are more appealing to younger people. And women are more likely to be on Instagram than men, who prefer Twitter.
You could also look up the best times of the day to post, so you can plan accordingly. The busiest periods are usually first thing in the morning and during the evening, when around 60 per cent of us are checking our devices.
What will you post on social media?
While it’s tempting to use social media to push your services, this might turn potential customers away. Social media users value content that is interesting, relevant and shareable. You need to create content that fits with your brand, and also positions your practice as a thought leader and expert in your field.
It’s not necessary to come up with all this content yourself – social media is a great place for curating and sharing ideas. Visual posts tend to have higher levels of engagement, so make sure you include plenty of images and videos in your posts.
Your content might be a mixture of:
- Blog posts and whitepapers
- Updates about your practice and team members
- Industry news
- Useful tools and resources
- Educational videos, interviews and webinars
- ‘Fun stuff’ – such as gifs and memes
On some sites, such as Facebook, you can even set up a group where members are able to communicate with you and each other. This helps to build a community and foster deeper engagement with your practice. You can also use hashtags to help social media users (and potential clients) find your content when they’re searching for a specific topic.
How will you keep up with social media?
If you’re not careful, social media marketing can take up a lot of your precious time, taking you away from running your business. That’s why you need to approach it methodically, by organising your content in advance.
How often you should post depends on the platform – from once a day on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn to multiple tweets a day on Twitter. If this sounds like a lot of work, there are plenty of online tools that enable you to schedule your content and post automatically at set times.
So, at the beginning of each month, you could set aside a few hours to plan all your posts for the next 30 days in a spreadsheet, making sure you have a combination of different kinds of content. That way, you’ll only need to check your social media regularly throughout the month to respond to comments and questions, keeping your audience active and engaged.
What does success look like on social media?
In order to keep tracking consistently towards your marketing goals, you need to put in place reliable ways of measuring the effectiveness of your social media. This is not just the number of followers you have, but also how engaged they are with your brand. Social media platforms and other tools can offer businesses insights into:
- Views and clicks. These metrics give you an overall sense of how far your content is spreading and what drives users’ curiosity.
- Demographics. This breaks down your audience engagement into age bracket, location and gender so you can ensure you’re reaching your target clients.
- Hashtags. You can see which hashtags created the most engagement so you can use these with future posts
- Website traffic. This helps you understand what kind of posts are motivating users to find out more about your practice.
 Sensis, Yellow Social Media Report 2018 – Consumers, released June 2018
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