Using social media to engage current and prospective clients is fast becoming a non-negotiable part of marketing. At the same time, it can become overwhelming to know where to begin or how to approach some of the different platforms. The best way to use social media to build your practice is in providing valuable information, and other content that relates to your business or services.
Boosting your credibility through social media posts may not get you as many retweets, shares or likes but it will help establish your brand. You can share company news, press releases and appearances at industry events. The 3-to-1 Rule is important to remember when posting on social media. For every promotional post, you should have 3 non-promotional posts.
You must have a social media strategic plan and a calendar. You can do it yourself, have a staff member handle it, or hire an outside company or contractor. In any case, choose what the best situation for you is. If you have the time and know how to effectively brand your message, go to it. If not delegate the responsibility to someone else. Plan in advance so the important aspects of your practice get highlighted. Having a structured approach to social media allows for a more varied and engaging platform. You can always add to it as events, appearances, PR opportunities, and news comes up.
There are many programs such as Hootsuite and Sprout Social which allow you to schedule internal and external events. You want to try to pre-plan as much content as you can to reduce the daily work load required. Consistency is key when posting on social media and this will ensure that you have enough content lined up for the week and posts ready for special events, holidays and other seasonal occasions.
Plan also to maximize the benefits specific to each platform. Instead of going all-in and getting every site done at once, focus on one social media app at a time. Learn how to use the uniqueness of each to build your practice in a different way. As such, the tips for will be different depending where you are posting.
Unlike Instagram and Twitter, hashtags are not very effective on Facebook. Photos, on the other hand, are very important when posting on Facebook. They stand out better than status updates or posted links.
Although we mentioned that consistency is important, quality over quantity is key. Research shows that pages posting one or two times a day receive 40% higher user engagement than pages that posted more than three times.
One option that is fairly new to Facebook are sponsored ads that allow you to set a budget and advertise quickly and effectively. For as little as $5.00 you can target a certain audience and promote an important post about your practice. As well, sharing content from trusted users is an easy way to engage your audience and connect with new people.
If you want to increase your engagement on your page there are a few tips to follow:
- Encourage new likes by offering incentives or prizes.
- Ask questions to spark dialogue and engage your audience. Example: What’s your favorite face moisturizer and why?
- Respond & monitor all comments and posts in a timely way.
- All events should have a registration.
- Share content from organizations, partners, clients and other like-minded agencies that share your message.
With Twitter, you can post more frequently than with Instagram and Facebook. Multiple times a day works, and at least once is essential. Retweeting valuable content is important along with using industry related hashtags. As well, be sure to use hashtags which are trending. Even if they may not directly relate to your industry, you will still have more people engaging in your posts. For example, on Fridays adding #FlashbackFriday or #TGIF may help boost your post. Make sure to add photos and emojis as well to capture peoples’ attention.
Other tips to encourage successful engagement on Twitter include:
- Retweet valuable content, especially from referral sources: use 5 words.
- The more accounts you follow the more twitter will recommend you.
- Follow local potential referral sources and groups, retweet their posts.
- Use @others #hashtags.
- Follow all respected industry and AAD, JDD and ASDS accounts.
Instagram is one the most visual of the platforms. If you have new products that you are selling, try running a contest. Take a picture of a gift bag, post it to your Instagram account and have a giveaway for the 500th follower or you can have them tag a friend under the picture for a chance to win and pick randomly.
Liking photos that are in your industry or niche will also help grow your Instagram account. You can spend 5-10 minutes a day going through photos on different accounts and liking them. Leaving a comment on them is even better! This will allow people to see your post, click on your Instagram name and follow you.
Like Facebook and Twitter, responding to comments you receive is very important as is leaving genuine comments of your own on others’ posts. Hashtags are crucial for growing your page and audience. Another way to stand out is to create your own hashtag and encourage others to use it as well. This is a great way to build community and gain new content for your account.
Other tips include:
- Choose images that customers can relate to.
- Use #hashtags, info graphics and quotes.
- Pick a color, tone, filter and be consistent.
- Post all Facebook posts here.
- Use @others #hashtags.
- Use photos, emoji’s and video.
LinkedIn is the business professional of social media. If you have or are starting your own practice make sure to have a company page for the practice or add yourself as an employee. If you are looking for a position or looking to hire, LinkedIn is a great resource. Most profiles are public, so you can see their employment and education/work history.
Joining popular groups in the industry will also help you to gain connections and your profile will look more reputable. Spend about 10-15 minutes a day connecting with other people in the industry as well.
First thing is to sync your phone and email contacts to gain connections quickly, which should be repeated every six months. Next, you’ll want to work on your page and list your work experience, skills and endorsements, accomplishments and interests. Having all this content will help to grow your brand and show your experience and passion in the field. Sharing articles, blog posts, events and educational content that your target audience will find interesting is also important.
These tips will also help connect with your target audience on LinkedIn:
- Find referral sources from connections and relevant groups.
- Display your expertise to colleagues and industry partners through a professional profile.
- Post any job openings and take advantage of the public profiles of potential candidates.
- Post articles that share your expertise and experience.
In the end, know what each app is intended for. For example, Instagram is more visual, whereas Linkedin is more professional. Using them in ways that are beneficial to your audience will help boost engagement. At the same time, there are certain rules of engagement no matter what social media outlet you are using.
Overall Posting Tips
- Measure likes, followers, subscribers and views and adjust accordingly. This is the best way to track results and engagement.
- The 3 to 1 Rule cannot be understated. For every promotional (sales) post you need to have 3 non-promotional (valuable content, or other information).
- Pre-plan as much as you can so it’s less daily work.
- Try to acknowledge by responding to all likes, comments, shares, etc. When possible, acknowledge those who are mentioning you. You will then appear in their feed and on their posts. Thank new followers, encourage them, and make sure they can easily make an appointment.
- Balance text, image, and video posts for interest and variation.
Inviting conversation is also key when positing on social media. This is one of the most effective ways to open your platforms for two-way communication, which helps build relationships and engage your followers. Making an effort to have a presence on other social media accounts in your industry is also important. Commenting on their posts will allow you to stand out to their followers who may start following you! You also want to respond and acknowledge accounts that have mentioned or liked your content. A simple thank you goes a long way!
Research shows that there are also days and times that are best for reaching your audience and gaining followers. As well, track what media platforms and posts are receiving the most engagement. This way you can adapt your overall plan to accentuate what is working.
As you can see, using each social media platform in a similar but unique way, is the best way to build your online presence. Take each one, a step at a time using the tips and resources suggested and you will be well on your way to successfully marketing your social media message.
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