Purchasing decisions are being made more and more through information gathered on social media sites. A consumer can readily find reviews and recommendations on any number of products and services, from SEO services to new homes. Even if a person is simply killing time by socializing with their friends, the relaxed social space makes absorbing information much easier, whether they realize it or not.

Is Your Brand Ready For Social Media Marketing?

For your brand to make an impact online, it must have an established online presence and be seen regularly in your followers’ social media feeds. Your content should be presented in such an interesting and unique way that people are happy to like, share, and recommend it to others. As a recognized and trusted part of your followers’ lives, your brand will be able to stand up to social scrutiny.

Before launching (or re-launching)  your brand fully on social media, make sure that you have reviewed and completed the steps below. Using social media strategically takes thoughtful planning, testing, and implementation. Reaching and connecting with your target audience requires a delicate balance between building relationships and promotion. And, of course, you know by now that the secret to improving your bottom line is gaining the know-like-trust factor with your audience.

That being said, here are some very important steps to take before you jump into social media marketing with both feet:

Research Before You Do Anything Else

Before you even choose a brand name and design the logo for your social media presence, you need to spend time doing research on what is already being said about your brand online. But, don’t stop there! Find out what the opinions are about your competitors as well!

Investigate what kinds of content your target audience responds to. What are they talking about? What types of posts are they liking and sharing? What products and services are they recommending? You will make a bigger impact with your social media contacts more quickly if you use this information to align your posts, messages, and promotions with the things they are already talking about in your niche.

Be Consistent Across Your Social Media Platforms

When setting up your profiles, remember that your aim is to remain consistent and recognizable. Use the same picture of yourself, or logo, so that people will be able to recognize you regardless of what platform they are logging in to. This goes for your color scheme and graphics, message, and business philosophy as well as your personal website, email correspondence, business cards, etc.

If you are re-launching your brand with new graphics, color schemes, etc., be sure to inform your followers so they are prepared for the changes. You don’t want to leave them wondering who you are when they see your newest posts by switching things up out of the blue.

Have A Social Media Marketing Strategy In Place

Marketing on social media without a plan of action will more than likely lead not only to your own confusion and frustration but also to your content being lost amongst all the information already flooding the online social scene. Preparing yourself with a well-thought-out strategy that identifies all of the objectives you want to achieve and how you plan to do so will help to keep you from becoming lost in the crowd.

PRO Tip: Create a social media content calendar in Excel or Google Docs for the year ahead. This advanced planning will give you the time to focus on creating exceptional content!

There are several different social media content scheduling tools available online. Choose one and schedule your content in advance. Staying a few weeks ahead of your content creation and scheduling will give you the cushion you need for dealing with life’s little emergencies without falling behind.

Schedule Time For Interacting With Your Followers

Social media is not simply a place to post your content and run. You are trying to build brand recognition and increase engagement from your followers, and that means you will need to participate in the conversations as well. Whether you decide to do this yourself, or you hire a social media manager to respond to comments and messages, it is something that will need to be done daily. There’s no easier way to lose a potential client or customer than for them to feel ignored after they have tried to contact you with no response.

Embrace Authenticity. Don’t Be Afraid To Be You!

You are your own best asset. If you’re going to sell anything on social media, sell yourself. Don’t be afraid to give your followers a peek behind the curtain at the inner workings of your business and/or your personal life. The more human you come across, the more like them, the happier they will be to follow and engage with you.

Letting your own personality shine through in your posts is a breath of fresh air to those who are bombarded with advertisements all day, every day. Stick to the 70-20-10 rule: keep your content 70% helpful, informative content and personal insight, 20% sharing other influential and relevant content that is not your own, and 10% promotion.

Social media continues to be one of the most effective ways for new and existing brands to reach their targeted audience. It builds brand awareness and trust, allows you to connect with your followers in a unique and personal way, and helps to establish your brand as an authority and influencer. Following the steps above in the preparation of launching or re-launching your brand on social media will give you a great head-start. But, as social media tends to evolve rapidly, be sure you continue to test out new ideas, review your results, and improve your marketing along the way.

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