How to Get Started with Social Media Marketing

The best way for a business to get customers is word of mouth. By extension, the best way to get visitors to your website too is with word of mouth. Traditionally, word of mouth has been, well, people literally talking to each other and sharing/recommending products and services they use. This is still true today, but social media has changed things a bit.

A new word of mouth

Think of social media as word of mouth on the internet. People chat openly on sites like Twitter and Facebook similar to how they may have a conversation offline. The difference is that these conversations are not private. A Facebook post on your friends wall may be seen by hundreds or even thousands of people. In a way, sharing on social media can be much more powerful than personal conversations held offline.

The simple truth

The simple truth about social media is the same as word of mouth. Excellent products get shared. Plan and simple. Now, more related to the subject of this tutorial, excellent websites will get shared.

So now I bet you’re wondering what’s next. Well first, some perspective:

Always focus first on making your site the best it can be. Make it as useful and valuable as you can, always. This ensures you get more word of mouth and more social shares. Every piece of content you publish has more potential to be shared the more valuable and unique it is.

Now with that out of the way, there is a lot you can do to get things in your favor outside of simply making a great website. Here are a few actions you can take to build traffic to your site by using social media.

Be Everywhere

The first thing you can do to boost your social media presence is to setup an account on every relevant site. A few of the most popular and important sites to be on are:

There are always new sites coming out too, so stay on the lookout (Snapchat is big for brands now). Oh, and make sure to check for niche social sites too. Heard of Ravelry? Probably not because it's only for knitting and crocheting. Being on more social sites will give you more presence online. You can better monitor conversations online and find opportunities to share with new audiences.

Look professional, get serious!

When setting up your accounts, don't just add the bare minimum information. Take the time to really spruce of your profile. No one wants to follow an egg person on Twitter! When it comes to content like taglines and descriptions, you should already have some marketing copy prepared from building your site. If not, this will be a good exercise for figuring out how you want to talk about your site.

Find what works for you

I can hear some people grumbling already. How can you manage profiles on all these sites? Well, running all of those accounts would be a lot of work, but I say you dip your toes in each one. Try it out. Make time because there's the good news: you won't be keeping all the profiles forever. The idea here is to try out every network and see which one is the best fit (could be multiple sites). Your content will fit much more naturally on some networks than on others, you'll get more engagement on one platform than another, etc. If you get 5 pinterest followers and no traffic after a month of posting, you can probably cancel it off your list. Meanwhile, if you're getting consistent engagement and generating real discussion on Facebook, well that's awesome and you should keep it up.

Post often

Most site owners don't publish frequently enough. Sure, there are those who could seriously take it down a notch, but most people need to be sharing more. Here's the trick. You don't need to publish completely original content 100% of the time. You can repost content you've already shared, especially on sites like Twitter. Twitter moves so fast that only ~1% of your followers are going to see each of your Tweets, so let 'er rip. Republish and cycle through them so that you're publishing consistently throughout the day and getting more people to see each individual Tweet you craft.

Here's a video from Gary V answering a Tweet about publishing frequency

Give yourself a hand

No, you don't need to be logged into these sites all day to publish frequently. You can use a tool like Buffer to schedule your posts. That means you can sit down once a day or even once a week and write out all the content you'll be sharing. Then load it all into Buffer and it will push the content out across your networks whenever you want. Buffer also has an extension that lets you quickly queue content for sharing that you find while browsing around the web. One more tool worth checking out is Meet Edgar. It's much more expensive than Buffer, but it's better for recycling your content. The scheduling is very intuitive. Maybe don't start with this tool, but if you see financial success with your social media marketing, it may be worth the investment.

Social media recap

So that's my overview of how to succeed with social media. In summary:

  • Give every network an honest shot
  • Stick with the ones that work for you
  • Remember to post frequently
  • Use tools to help automate

Social media marketing is really pretty simple. You share, you engage, you get results. My last tip: remember to have fun! You're supposed to be socializing after all :)