Social Media: The New Handshake
Why social media has become a critical way to attract and retain customers
By Shelley Lazarescu
How strong is your handshake?
For years, a firm handshake has been a must-have to succeed in business, for the simple reason that most business contacts have historically been made in person. Companies’ representatives usually met, vetted and negotiated with prospects or customers over lunch, on the golf course and in a variety of other social settings.
There will always be a place for face-to-face networking, but it’s expensive and time consuming to meet with potential customers one or several at a time. As a result, businesses have turned to digital marketing as their new handshake — a way to meet and network with more customers and potential customers.
In particular, social media platforms have become integral to business marketing. Consider how many people use the most popular platforms, and how often.
- 79 percent of online adults use the most popular platform, Facebook.
- Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram reach more than 50 percent of U.S. residents age 18 to 34.
- Those who access Facebook’s app do so, on average, eight times per day. Instagram (six times per day) and Twitter (five times per day) also have high daily usage rates.
In short, there are millions of eyes are on social media sites, and to reach the most people, you need to have an active presence. Here are a few key strategies to keep in mind.
Identify what to post
Social media is meant to start the conversation, but before you begin, consider your target audience. Stay relevant to what matters in their world, and use the language they speak, especially if the language of your expertise is technical. Then customize a clear and concise takeaway as to how your business can help make their lives easier.
Find the right frequency
There is a sweet spot when it comes to posting on social media; you need to post often enough to stay visible, but not so much that you flood your followers with too much information.
That sweet spot differs among platforms. Twitter, which limits users to 140 characters or fewer, is designed for a steady stream of quick-hit content, and posting or reposting several times a day is acceptable. On LinkedIn or Facebook, with posts that contain more information, one or two times a week is a good rate.
Don’t go off the grid
There is no point in establishing social media accounts, only to neglect them. If customers stumble onto your Twitter Feed or LinkedIn profile and it hasn’t been updated in six months, it can reflect poorly on your business.
Remember to include an action item
Whether your content is educational or showcasing a service that you provide, you don’t want to leave your audience hanging once you’ve piqued their interest. By creating an action item, you’re opening doors and inviting them to reach out to keep the conversation going.
Mobile first website
Although your website is not in the social media realm, it will be the final destination should your social media efforts be successful. The goal of social media postings is for potential customers to contact you — and that will likely be by clicking through to your website. Your website is your online “home room,” and you want them to land at a site that looks professional, especially when it comes to the mobile version. The site should be easy to navigate (larger buttons and fonts that are legible without pinching) and offer concise content to minimize excess scrolling. If you haven’t done so already, conduct a website audit to ensure a seamless and optimal experience for your audience.
Tying social media into your digital strategy is a cost-effective way to build brand awareness and brand loyalty. Follow the above steps to begin formulating and implementing an effective social media plan for your business.
Shelley Lazarescu is Wiss & Company’s Marketing Director, who is well versed in Digital Marketing Practices and focuses on aligning firm goals and external Marketing strategies. Shelley is more than happy to discuss how to get your organization on the right track, so feel free to reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 973.994.9400.