As we all know, social media is a powerful way for people to connect online. Whether it’s trying to network, finding inspiration, or researching local businesses, social media is a resource that almost everyone relies on to connect with the rest of the world. As time has gone on, social media has established itself as an awesome marketing tactic. It often plays a crucial role in creating an impact for businesses, start-ups, or local brands helping gain recognition and a following. Despite social media being a staple of everyday life, not everyone knows how to use it for business, where to begin, or what to do. Here, I will walk readers through how to better yourself on social media platforms and some in’s and out’s that I learned at the Colorado Women Social Media Day event.
June 30th is officially recognized as Social Media Day, and to celebrate, Colorado Women in Social Media hosted an educational networking event. This event had two 45-minute panel presentations designed to help businesses become more successful when using social media. Attendees had direct access to the brains of 13 experts in social media and marketing. Also, we got to network and make real-world connections with everyone in the room. And last but not least we got to join the #SMDayDen Scavenger Hunt in downtown Denver. It was a great time to bond and have fun with the digital community here in Denver.
The topic of discussion for the first panel was how to engage effectively across all popular platforms. During this panel, we learned the following practices could help create a strong social media presence, learning that it’s not just about making a post every day and hoping people will like or comment but creating engagement with users as well. A few other things we learned include:
- Join and create groups/forms. These outlets allow users to create, post, comment to and participate with their interest. With forums, it is important to consider whether they are open or closed, invitation-only, or can be joined by users outside a set group.
- Hold Q&A sessions. These allow businesses to bring up a topic or subject and let their followers ask questions guiding a productive conversation.
- Host social media contest. Remember to have fun with your followers by letting them win something unique to your business. If you’re needing some contest inspiration, check out this great post by wish pond.
- Conduct surveys. Ask what information your business needs to grow then pinpoint the demographic you want to reach and determine sample size. Use this information to decide when to send the survey as this can have a large impact on who ends up responding.
- Join Twitter chats, and offer incentives for others to share and join the conversation. Another great way for you to engage with followers is by commenting and sharing a candid opinion on the subject matter.
Giving credit to users, tagging them, and using hashtags are all great ways to engage users. When you give a follower or anyone in your feed credit, you are engaging with them in a way that generates goodwill. Even on social media, we know people love to receive recognition. Tagging allows you to target specific users, other businesses, or members of your community to widen the conversation. Hashtags can help your SEO by increasing how often you show up in people’s feeds which in turn generates engagement. Correctly using hashtags can bring a nice steady flow of new and returning visitors to your page. The last thing I learned is that timing is everything in the social media world. Knowing when to make your post is essential. It will likely vary based on your market and the users you are trying to reach, but there are downtimes in every demographic where engagement is slower and users might be non-responsive. It is important to do your research and check to see what time and day are good for you to make a post.
Oh!… A fun fact I remember hearing was using Emojis! Using Emojis increases comments by 33%. There has been much research on the usage of emoji in social media, including this piece from Buffer Social.
The second-panel presentation was Beyond Social: How to Skyrocket Your Brand Success. Beyond Social went into the reasoning why branding is so important to businesses.
These reasons included:
- Identifying and showing off what differentiates your company from the rest is crucial and a great branding technique. You want your company to be able to offer something that can’t be duplicated. You want to build something that people will want.
- Learning how to recognize social media as a channel, not a strategy. Choosing the right networks for your company’s visual branding, social media will help boost your marketing strategy to get your voice and ideas out there.
- Developing a voice is critical because it tells who you are as a company and what you stand for. The better your voice sounds, the more engaged your followers will be. A consistent voice is key to building a real relationship with your audience, and social media gives brands a chance to develop a personality, style, and characteristics of their own.
- It is vital you are consistent with your topics (which can be sometimes hard). Many businesses go into it blindly without creating any guidelines as to what topics to share and their voice can get lost with each post.
- Promoting profiles is also a challenge for a lot of businesses, but when done right, helps build initial traction. If you are promoting a post, remember being transparent with your audience builds their trust factor.
After the panels, we had had the chance to pick the expert’s brains for 30 minutes. During the event, the Colorado Women of Social Media walked around to engage and chat with people about any questions we may have. Sharing more wisdom about what they know and who they are in the media world. My Social media day event was fun and exciting. Being able to learn about so many different techniques and how to better my work with social media platforms was a great opportunity. Just like every other marketing technique, it is important for all of us, experts or beginners, to focus constantly on new learning opportunities. I would recommend anyone try to find or engage in similar events and watch how these connections can help a business grow!