As a young adult with a laptop and a smartphone, I’m constantly checking my social media accounts throughout the day to see who liked or commented on my most recent post. Call me obsessed, but we now live in an age where social and business-related interactions happen online more often than in person.
Although social media initially served as a way for people to share posts with their family and friends, it has also become a medium through which companies can garner the interest of potential consumers.
Recently, SumAll, a social media and data analytics company, hosted a discussion to bring small businesses together so they can share insights on how to effectively use social media. Here are the key takeaways we learned from a few experts:
SumAll has an effective method for using platforms such as Twitter to promote their business on the web. According to their community manager Jacob Pastrovich, Twitter has given SumAll the opportunity to reach out to users, see what they are interested in, and spread the word about their company online.
How did SumAll manage to get thousands of followers on Twitter? They personally thanked fans who tweeted about how great they were by sending free goods to their workplaces.
In order to find out what their fans wanted for their offices, SumAll would find their addresses, send them cards with different options of free items (donuts, coffee, beer, or flowers), and have them tweet a photo of themselves holding their card of choice.
Fans posted pictures of the free goodies they received, which led to more positive online publicity for SumAll. In giving thanks to their supporters, SumAll practiced its marketing motto of “increase the love, spread the word.”
Aside from using social media as a tool to give back to fans, businesses can also use certain platforms to address the comments and concerns of users. Workable, a tech company that has developed recruiting software for rapidly growing startups, makes it a point to listen to consumers on Twitter by hosting chats where fans can ask questions and respond to what they like and dislike about their product. As a result, Twitter has become the most active and engaging social media platform for Workable, says business development manager Yuka Nagai.
While companies like SumAll and Workable have managed to establish a legitimate fan base one tweet at a time, others have captured the interest of customers through aesthetic appeal. Gold Line Fashion, a high-end street wear brand based in London, posts photos on Instagram as a way of marketing their gear to followers. By simply uploading images of their clothing, Gold Line Fashion has garnered a following of almost 16,000 on Instagram alone.
With a style-conscious audience ranging from young teens to adults in their early 20’s, Gold Line’s marketing strategy is effective because it aligns with the interests of their target demographic. Millennials gravitate more toward platforms like Instagram because of the entirely visual aspect, says Gold Line’s public relations director, Matthew Chen.
Gold Line caters to fans’ needs by showing them what they want to see through content. This simple method of uploading pictures of their street wear has worked to the company’s advantage. Chen says that customers don’t enjoy being sold to with “click here to buy our brand” captions and links. Customers want to feel like they genuinely discovered something special and purchase on their own terms.
Not only does Gold Line refrain from being too pushy toward customers, the fashion label also keeps their hashtag usage down to a bare minimum. Their limit? Three hashtags max per post, one of which is always their brand name, #goldlinefashion. By minimizing their hashtag use, Gold Line is able to get tons of pictures of their gear on a single page when followers click their eponymous hashtag, thus providing customers with a convenient way to view their products.
In much the same way that some of Gold Line’s success can be attributed to their frugal hashtag usage, businesses can benefit from investing time and energy only when necessary on social media. In short, efficiency is key when using social media to promote a company. Dez Day, director of Graphic Design NYC, a meet-up group involved in the creative arts, came up with five techniques companies should use when managing their social media platforms:
Know your goals and prepare realistically for them. If you are going to post something on a social media platform, at least know why.
Be honest about the time you can afford. Automate posts, but make sure that they are spread out throughout the day instead of clustered.
Share pertinent content in the best context, Share posts in appropriate venues and social media platforms.
Participate in hashtag-related discussions and trends on Twitter.
Give potential consumers a reason to want to follow and communicate with your company via social media.
By using these techniques, companies ultimately save time when it comes to spreading word about their services online and building up a fan base. According to Christina Choi, editorial director and former social media manager at WeWork, researching companies with a massive following on social media is an effective method for developing a strategy for attracting organic followers.
Furthermore, companies should think about what exactly they intend to promote to prospective consumers through social media. Whether it’s an actual product or a lifestyle, businesses should utilize social media in ways that ultimately result in brand awareness and a loyal fan base both on and offline.
This post originally appeared in WeWork Magazine.