Needless to say, nowadays social media provides a great opportunity for every business to build relationship with the audience. By building presence on social platforms, you can get a chance to communicate with your potential customers directly, and if you manage to grab their attention, word of mouth won't be long in coming. The great thing is that electronic word of mouth spreads more rapidly and massively than traditional word of mouth.
Of course, social media is not the only promotional channel. In one of our previous posts we've made a review of tools and techniques to promote your product. By the way, if you want to have such a guide ready at hand – be sure to download our software product promotion guide.
In this article we will focus on social media primarily – what resources are available today and how to use them in the most efficient way.
Social networks overview
Popular social networks include well-known Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, YouTube. We've built presence in all of the ones listed above.
In particular, to promote our blog content, we share our latest articles on our corporate pages. In addition to this, we utilize the potential of groups that our potential audience is likely to belong to. LinkedIn groups, as a rule, help us attract stable traffic and get new subscribers – Global Software Development Collaboration, IT/Software Development Outsourcing and Offshoring, Lean Agile Software Development Community to name a few.
Reddit is another platform which is very popular in US. To engage with your audience through this channel you'll need to choose subreddits that will be the most appropriate for your content. Depending on the topic of our materials, we utilize PHP, Java, Webdevelopment, Projectmanagement, Outsourcing and other subreddits.
Other useful resources are questions&answers sites, such as Quora and Stackoverflow (which is more focused on IT sphere). These sites provide a great opportunity to show your expertise in this or that field. While they don't encourage self-promotion, you may still link to your content provided that it is relevant to the discussion topic and brings value to the audience. We practice this when we see questions related to what we've covered in our blog recently, and this pays off – new visitors and subscribers appear.
You don't need to be present on all of the existing platforms, but, at the same time, you shouldn't limit your choice to just 2-3 of them. There is no universal recipe on which social media channels to choose – everything depends on your product or service itself. If your product is dealing with images, for example, we recommend you to build presence on Instagram and Pinterest as well. If it is related to video, then YouTube should be of high priority for you.
Making a choice of proper channels, however, is not enough – your social media promotion needs to be effective. But how to achieve this? We'll share some principles that we follow ourselves.
Don't self-promote – bring value
No one will be willing to follow you if you are concerned with self-promotion only and flood your social channels with postings praising your product or services – people are fed up with advertising already. Bring them value instead.
Create relevant content
Focus on your audience. What are they thinking of? What issues they face every day? How can you help them? Once you ask yourself these questions and answer them, you'll get a clearer picture of what your content strategy should look like.
Tell a story
Once you've come up with ideas of what might be useful to your audience, think of how you will represent this material to them. A simple list of tips might be not enough. People want the content to be interesting, entertaining and related to real life. So, a good idea would be to tell your audience what's happening "behind the scenes", for example:
how you've come up with your product vision (was it a series of brainstorming sessions, or did the idea just come to you suddenly);
what challenges you've faced and which of them have been completely unexpected;
what tools you have used, what you like/dislike about them;
and so on. It's even better when it is combined with the visuals – like pics from the actual process of creating your product, prototypes compared to the final result (before and after), etc.Engage your audienceDon't turn your postings into a monologue – encourage a dialogue instead! So, don't just drop links. In our publications, for example, we ask questions like "What solution do you have…?" and drive people to comment on our posts.
Don't forget about call-to-action
Let your audience know what you expect from them. Do you want them to follow you on Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/etc., to subscribe to your blog, to check your website, or to sign up for a free trial? Make this point clear.
According to Social Media Examiner, tweets with hashtags get twice as much engagement as those without. They help people interested in a specific topic find conversations dedicated to it. So, you're your chance and make it easier for others to find your message! We use hashtags in out Twitter and Facebook posts – see the screenshots below.
Use URL shorteners
Don't forget to use URL shorteners, such as Bit.ly, TinyURL, and many others. First, they will help you get enough space for your message – for example, Twitter has a 140-character limit, and non-shortened links may "eat" most of the space. Second, URL shortening services provide detailed stats on the clicks a link receives, so this is a useful analytical tool.
Repost/retweet interesting content
Don't limit your publications to your own content only. If you want your social channels to be truly interesting (so that users will come back again and again), don't be afraid to repost third-party publications. This way the community will see that you stay updated about what's happening in your field, and you are willing to share this information with others.
These were our tips on social media promotion techniques together with our experience. If you'd like to dive deeper into the topic of social media marketing, Social Media Examiner should be interesting for you to check – it provides readers with lots of useful tips and tricks on how to promote your content and attract loyal audience.
What is your experience in social media promotion? Do you have the examples you'd like to share? Please let us know in the comments box below.