9 Tips for Distributors to Make the Most of Social Media

9 social media tipsIf you’re still wondering whether your business should be on social media, it’s easy to learn the answer: Ask your customers.

If they’re using it, then you should be, too.

But don’t begin and end with that single question. Equally important is the follow up: Which social media platforms do your customers use most, and for what purposes?

That is important information because you don’t need to spray posts all over the social media universe; instead choose the platforms that best represent your business, are the best potential homes for the content you create, and are the best way to deliver your message to your customers and prospects.

Once you have that knowledge, developing and growing a social media presence really isn’t as difficult as many distributors assume it is.

Here are some basic tips for getting started – or improving – your social media presence:

  1. Create a plan. Know what you want to achieve and who you want to reach, and use that as the foundation of your social media plan. From there, create a calendar so you’re posting regularly. This calendar should be separate from your overall editorial calendar, but the themes and messages you convey should be consistent.
  2. Choose the right platforms. You don’t need to be – and probably shouldn’t be – posting on every platform. It stretches your resources too thin and diffuses your message. Don’t know which platform are best for you? Talk to your customers. Where are they posting? What are they reading? What is important for them to know?
  3. Make sure the message matches the platform. What works on Facebook, ie, short-form content about employees, success stories, industry updates, etc. won’t fly on the visual world of Instagram, and maybe won’t work on the business-centric LinkedIn. And each attracts a different group of followers, so it’s important to know who your audience is, and tailor your message accordingly.
  4. Get help. Your team members are probably posting already through personal accounts. So tap into their expertise – recruit that sales team member who takes great photos to supply visuals for Instagram. But do this carefully. Before granting the keys to the posting kingdom to anyone who isn’t in the marketing department, be sure to review what’s appropriate and what isn’t, what messages you want to convey, and those you don’t.
  5. Get professional help. If your marketing plan includes blogs or other longer-form writing, it might be worth investing in a consultant or contractor with writing and communications experience to compose those, if you don’t have a marketing department.
  6. Create a system for posting consistently, and often. Often, of course, is a relative term. For giant corporations, often may be several times a day. For smaller businesses, it may mean once a week. Do what works best for your budget and resources, but try to avoid posting three times in one week, and then going silent for three weeks. Consistency is key, and achieving it is fairly easy, thanks to the numerous scheduling apps available.
  7. Be flexible. Don’t confuse consistency with inflexibility. If your company wins a major award, but a post about it wasn’t scheduled, post about it anyway. You can always postpone or re-schedule another post if necessary. But it’s important to recognize great opportunities and take advantage of them.
  8. Stick to business. Unless your company is involved in either of these fields, avoid politics and religion.
  9. Re-use and recycle. Don’t forget to like or forward content your suppliers, member associations and customers create. And don’t forget to send them your original content to share.

Taking advantage of the opportunities for exposure and messaging social media offers is not terribly complicated, and its benefits can be huge. So, go forth and post!

Dan Horan contributed this article.