Social media will continue to dominate the marketing landscape in the new year. Whether you're trying to reach a new audience or try something new like start a podcast, staying abreast of this ever-changing landscape is important if you want to grow your business this year.
For those who want to take a stand on an issue, social media is a powerful medium and allows companies and brands to interact with their customers. How can entrepreneurs harness social media effectively in 2019? Here are five ways.
1. Get yourself out there.
As small business owners, our customers want to do business with us, not our business brand. Putting a human face on your business social media accounts not only helps build loyalty, it reminds your customers that someone can respond to questions and share recommendations. Building a business brand is important but making sure people know the person behind the brand is equally important and worth spending time cultivating. Do this by including yourself in your posts. Whether it's a photo of you attending a trade show or in your shop showcasing new products, give them a peek into your world.
2. Share content that is quality over quantity.
Give your content a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) edge by crafting longer, well-thought-out blog posts than more quick hits. Long-form articles, meaning posts that are longer than 1,000 words, tend to do better according to SEO experts since the theory is that you're sharing more relevant and interesting pieces.
"We always emphasize quality over quantity when it comes to content," says Vanessa Williams, senior manager of Integrated Strategy & Promotions at Ignite Social Media, whose company has helped businesses such as Crocs and Samsung establish strategies that leverage social media to drive real business and marketing results. "When crafting content, it is important to keep your target audience and their passion points at the forefront. If your content is overly promotional and fails to connect with your audience in message or delivery then it will always fall flat."
3. Roll it with video.
Research by Wyzowl, a company that specializes in creating animated explainer videos for clients, shares that 97 percent of markers point to video as helping them increase their users understanding of their product or service while 76 percent say it helped them increase their web traffic and sales. Is that really a surprise considering how many of us watch videos to help us learn new things or purchased something after watching a video?
"Video definitely needs to be a part of your 2019 business plan," adds Williams. "Platforms are continuing to prioritize video content within their news feed. Video is also more memorable than other types of marketing."
Williams points to another study by Brightcove, a software company that produces an online video platform, which found that 21 percent of consumers considered video to be the most memorable form of content--ranking it above email, display ads and text ads. "It also drives online purchase," she adds, noting that the study found that 85 percent of millennials have purchased a product after watching a video.
4. Use apps to save strong content when the well is dry.
It's no secret that feeding the content beast can be exhausting. Develop a tool to keep tabs of good content and ideas as you come across them. Found a great article that you can use in the coming months? Save it on an app like Pocket or Evernote. Organize and keep tabs on your editorial calendar by using an app like Trello. Set up Google Alerts for keywords that your customers might find interesting so you can post on social media whenever something pops into your inbox.
5. Show you're a pro with professional visuals.
Unsplash, Pixabay, and Canva are just a few places where you can access hi-res and professional images, video and infographics, respectively. If you can't afford to hire a professional to shoot your photography, film videos or design infographics, these are my go-to sources. Bookmark and reference them when you are looking for something new to share on your social media when you're short on time and inspiration.
Finally, if you find yourself overwhelmed with options or your workload and social media doesn't excite you like it should, consider outsourcing it. When one of my clients realized that writing wasn't her forte and she was spending days, not hours, working on her blog posts and social media posts, she asked me for help. Not only is she not stressing about having content for her blog every month, but she knows her blog post, email newsletter and social media posts will get done. If social media and marketing aren't your strengths, delegate them to someone you trust will represent you and your business well.