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How to use social media to build your brand and drive sales

How to use social media to build your brand and drive sales

Social media is a necessary piece of any successful business’s marketing strategy. But it’s not only about getting ads out to people, it’s about engaging them in a meaningful dialogue. In this article, Firefly takes you through the basics of marketing on five social media sites.

Facebook
There are two main ways to use Facebook as an advertising tool: through your company page and via paid ads. As you might have guessed, the best results come from using a smart combination of both methods. To start, Entrepreneur magazine reported that companies should share viral content when it’s relevant. Trying to force something to become viral is a bit like trying to get a child to eat Brussels sprouts. Instead, if you see a trending topic, try to figure out how to incorporate it into your page. If a holiday is approaching, post a picture of your seasonal store fixtures.

When using Facebook or any similar social site, always keep in mind that the point of it is not to talk at your customers, but to start a conversation with them. The University of Florida recommended allowing users to post their own pictures on your page – this shows others that people are actively engaged with your brand.

Company pages are a great way to keep existing customers thinking about your brand and involved in your sales events, but they’re not great at generating new leads. That’s where paid ads come in. Facebook said that its ads can appear in a variety of ways on the site. Ads can appear along the side of the user’s feed, or actually within the feed as a sponsored post. Facebook will also let you upgrade your ads to target specific conversion goals.

Sharing is the most important aspect of social media.Sharing is the most important aspect of social media.

Twitter
Marketing your store on Twitter works in a similar fashion to Facebook. It’s an excellent way to instantly interact with your customers and it lets you find new contacts. Once you’ve built up a good follower base, Twitter can work like a digital news blast, in which your promotions and updates are sent directly to your customers’ feeds. Forbes magazine said that businesses must supply great, unique content to their twitter feeds if those businesses want to grow their follower base. They went on to say that retweeting relevant content from other twitter users and including popular hashtags are among the best ways to maintain a steady presence.

Passion Digital, a marketing firm in the U.K., suggested that only 20 percent of your tweets be promotional. The other 80 percent should be conversational. This ratio lets users get a better taste of your unique brand and personality without feeling like they are constantly being asked to buy a product. Have fun with your tweets and listen to what your followers have to say.

Pinterest
Think of this site like a large collection of visual bookmarks. The Atlantic reported that Pinterest has become a powerful revenue driver for many retail businesses. But how does it work?

One popular way users can interact with products is to create boards of items they wish to buy. Say a user goes onto your store’s website and sees a particular sweater they like. They can go on Pinterest and make a “pin” on their wish list board. Other users can then discover the pin, comment on it, and follow the person who originally posted it. Along with the picture, there’s a link to the site it came from – typically this leads the user to a page where they can buy the product.

Businesses can also pay to have their own pins promoted. According to Pinterest, ads can be targeted at specific types of people based on their interests, so you know you’re reaching the right people. Say you’re using a new jersey form to display a dress. You can turn a photo of that dress into a pin and direct it at people who have shown interest in similar articles of clothing. Afterward, Pinterest lets you track the results so you know if your strategy is sound.

Instagram
Instagram is all about sharing photos. Not only can users view pictures on the site itself, but they can push them out to any number of other popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr, meaning they can go viral all the more quickly. According to Business Insider, the majority of people using Instagram are under the age of 35 and are mostly female. Photos of clothing items, outfit suggestions and gift ideas go over very well. As with Facebook – the company that owns Instagram – you can purchase sponsored ads on the site which are directed at specific audiences.

“Sponsored ads are targeted at specifically defined audiences.”

YouTube
In some demographic ranges, online videos are rapidly overtaking television. Fortunately, it’s also much cheaper to run video ads on YouTube, and they’re more likely to reach the right people. According to the company, when you advertise on TV, you have no idea who’s watching, but when you work with YouTube you can focus in on people in specific locations, of specific ages and genders and with specific interests.

Not all of your business’s YouTube presence has to be overt advertisements. There are many other ways that you can engage with users on a more interactive and useful level. Think about what knowledge you have that could potentially benefit your customers. For instance, you could share tutorial videos about your products. But you don’t have to be informative. Sometimes it’s enough just to be entertaining. If your brand voice allows for it, try making some funny videos that implement your products. Think of demonstration videos where a product is tested to see how much weight it can take before getting damaged. Remember that there are many ways to get your products in front of potential customers.

Your social media presence doesn’t need to be an all-consuming project that takes over your business, so the best way to start is to pick one site and focus on that for a while. Keep track of your progress and audience reaction before moving on to another site. Have fun with your campaigns and users will take notice and respond positively.