When it comes to social media or any content for that matter, give your readers what they want. Focus on how you can help them be successful.
Distributors and manufacturers will benefit from this "Digital Marketing 101" mini-series I put together, containing some basic elements to look for as you gauge your digital marketing capabilities. Don't expect them all to be in place, but a small handful of any would be a great start. I hope you find the series helpful!
Your company’s social media is one of the first places a potential customer will look when they want to learn more about your business, your company culture, and your products and services. It's important therefore, that your company makes a good impression on each of your social media platforms.
Let’s start off with a few rules of thumb to ensure your company is always looking its best:
1. Your social media must be updated regularly
2. Any questions or comments on your social media platforms must be responded to promptly
3. The content being posted on your social media platforms must be engaging and relevant to your industry
If your company does not have the resources to follow those three rules of thumb, you can and should avoid social media altogether. Be aware, however that these platforms can be an effective way to promote your website to buyers, connect with buyers directly, and foster their trust. These platforms can be set up to answer questions a buyer may have about your products and services or be alerted to any type of problem. In addition, when buyers see your website compellingly promoted on social media, you'll see more traffic to your site, which will be a huge step toward attracting new customers and increasing sales.
If you elect to build a social media presence for your company, the first thing to consider is the platform(s). There are many social media platforms to choose from, but not all of them are relevant to your buyers. Do you know which social media platforms your audience segments spend time on? Do some research and select the most relevant platforms. Your marketing team will then use these platforms to reach and engage your buyers.
Here is some information about the more popular social media platforms:
Twitter can be an excellent platform for reaching buyers because it's quick and easy to share information; it helps build a community and simple communication forms. For example, many companies set up their Customer Service accounts on Twitter, where they can easily share updates on their services and provide answers to immediate questions from their buyers.
LinkedIn is also popular among business buyers and is a great place to share articles, connect with potential customers, and build relationships, especially if your target market is a B2B buyer.
Facebook and Instagram are popular platforms for reaching end users and can be used to share information about your company, upcoming sales, and more.
If you are a distributor who sells decorative home goods, such as furniture or kitchen and bath items, you might consider using Pinterest to share images representing the more attractive products, which can also help attract potential buyers.
And finally, there is YouTube, which has somewhat morphed into a social media site, where you can and should share videos about how your solutions help other customers.
Most distributors find that creating content for social media can be a daunting task. Nevertheless, if you want your company to use social media (and you should!) it is essential to keep in mind that your followers are not looking for a sales pitch. Instead, they're expecting to see engaging and relevant content. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Make sure your profile is complete and up-to-date. Every social media platform will give you a profile to fill out. Be sure all information asked for is given. Using compelling, persuasive language in your social media profiles is an acceptable way to boast a little bit. Include keywords in your descriptions or in any other areas of your profile the social media platform provides to you. Add a recognizable profile picture (usually your logo), including information on how to reach your customer service team, and be sure to link to your website.
Post regularly, but don't overdo it. A good rule of thumb for any company is to post once or twice daily, but no more than that. If a company bombards its followers with too much information, those followers will be less likely to pay attention to anything the company posts and may decide to unfollow the company altogether.
Keep it interesting. You can use your company's social media profile to help readers learn new things about you, but it’s important not to do this too often. Sharing links to articles and other content is a very good way to keep it interesting, but it’s got to be more than just sharing links. Include a compelling remark about what’s being shared; and be sure you’re not rehashing the same information repeatedly. Remember, quality is better than quantity.
Make sure your links are relevant. The links being shared on your social media accounts should relate to the reader, your buyer. Only information that will be helpful or interesting to your buyers should be shared.
Avoid politics: There are a myriad of opinions and personalities on social media, and while your company may share a social media post that is 100% innocuous, it just takes one nasty comment from a viewer to turn that post into something ugly. Comments can easily be taken out of context, or they can be triggering, so it’s best to avoid the possibility of a negative situation altogether.
Keep it respectful. First impressions are everything, so don't post anything that would reflect poorly on you or your business. Do you know who has access to your social media accounts? You should. Remember that anything that goes on the internet can live forever. You don't want to go viral for the wrong reasons!
Be safe online. Spam content is one of the biggest red flags social media platforms look out for, and sharing spammy posts can result in your company being penalized or banned from a platform. Keep an eye on your company’s posts. Do not allow the use of bots or third-party integrations. In effect, any type of system that promises to spread your posts further than your posts would otherwise be spread organically must be avoided.
If your company posts more than once daily, ensure it's not publishing too many posts within a short timeframe. Instead, the posts should be separated a few hours apart to maintain an organic stance and lessen your chances of having your account restricted.
Put your best foot forward. Your company's tone of voice is relevant, and so is its authenticity. Studies show that authentic content tends to generate 3x more attention. It's not always easy to find the right voice for your brand, but it's possible. Make sure you're staying true to your brand values.
In today's world, it's hard to imagine living without social media. Everyone seems to be on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or other social media platforms. However, managing multiple social media accounts can be time-consuming and challenging. Thankfully, as social media becomes an increasingly integral part of your company's sales and marketing strategy, there are tools to help manage these accounts more efficiently.
Let's look at just a few:
Hootsuite. Hootsuite is a platform marketers use to manage all their social media accounts from one place. It gives a company the ability to post once and then share that post across your platforms (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.) It allows for post updates or scheduled posts for the future. Hootsuite also provides analytics to track how well your posts are performing.
Sprout Social. Sprout Social allows companies to connect their accounts and then use analytics, scheduling, and other tools to manage them. It is an excellent platform for businesses of any size.
Buffer. Buffer is a tool that allows for the scheduling of posts on multiple social media accounts easily. It also gives companies the ability to monitor their followers and to see how people are engaging with your posts.
Recent studies have shown that more and more people are using social media sites to connect with friends and family, find information, and stay up-to-date on current events. This is great news for businesses. Social media platforms tend to have the most accurate demographics, which means they provide a unique opportunity to connect with potential and existing customers.
So, what is the best social media site for distributors? Short answer: LinkedIn, Facebook, and maybe Instagram (depending on what you’re selling). If you’d like to explore additional platforms (I am not recommending that, by the way), or if you’d like to choose just one or two platforms, here are a few general tips for getting started:
Create profiles on the most popular social media sites. With so many platforms to choose from, it can be overwhelming to know which to choose. Start by creating profiles on the most popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn and then watch to see which platform garners the most responses. For instance, your company might have three times as many followers on Instagram as Facebook. The platforms from which you get the most response are the ones to spend more time on.
Add cohesive, branded images to your social media profile. Make sure your logo is pristine. Pictures shouldn’t be cut off or low resolution, and the images you use in your profiles match your website's colors and design.
Engagement is key. Social media is not a one and done exercise. Continually engaging with your audience will help build the perception of how responsive your company is. You’ll learn what your customers want or need from your business, and you’ll have more opportunities to serve them.
Set goals for your social media promotion and track your progress. It's not enough to simply post content and hope for the best. Set specific goals for your social media promotion and track your progress to ensure you're getting the most out of your efforts.
Here are a few tips for setting and tracking your social media goals:
First, define what you want to achieve. Do you want to increase brand awareness? Drive traffic to your website? Increase leads or sales? Define what you want to achieve, and be specific.
Second, set a time frame for achieving your goal. For example, how long do you want to give yourself to achieve your goal? Putting a time frame in place to accomplish your goals will help you determine how often you need to post content.
Third, create measurable objectives that can be tracked. For example, you could create a social media goal to increase the number of people who follow your company’s Facebook page by 10 percent. You can also set a measurable goal for the number of comments, likes, and shares.
In conclusion, social media is one of the most efficient and popular ways to reach buyers and promote your website. By creating high-quality content and sharing it on social media, your company will reach a larger audience and attract more buyers. In addition, using social media to engage with buyers can help build trust and credibility, encouraging buyers to visit your site and make a purchase. As social media grows in popularity, take advantage of these platforms to reach new customers and grow your business.
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Categories: digital sales and marketing for distributors, digital transformation, sales enablement, What Distributors Need to Know About Digital Marketing