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Social Media Marketing 101

Don't worry, we're not going to bore you with our selfies or cat videos. This article is intended to help you market your business online through social media. Although Forward View doesn't typically manage our clients' social media accounts, we do set up their profile pages and offer training to build engagement through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other sites. Combining these services with our own social media usage has given us insights into effective social media marketing for small businesses and investment firms. Here's our list of social media suggestions for each type of organization:

B2C (Business-to-Consumer Company)

If you're marketing directly to consumers, you'll find that many of your customers and potential customers enjoy connecting with your business on social media. Facebook, Twitter and possibly Instagram will be the most important platforms for your type of company. We recommend one Facebook post a day and two or three tweets per day to maximize your reach without annoying your audience. (Nobody wants you to fill up their social media feeds 24/7.) Remember the 80/20 rule, too: Let 80% of your tweets and posts comprise indirect sales messages and other general content with the remaining 20% serving as direct marketing.

If your business has products or services that lend themselves to visual representation, you should add an Instagram profile. Use the free Instagram app for your smartphone to snap cool photo of your business and its offerings. Every Instagram post must have an image, so make the pictures interesting! Don't limit your use of visuals to Instagram, though. Tweets and Facebook posts with graphics or photos receive much greater attention and response than those with just text. Add an image and a hashtag (such as #July4th2015) for maximum engagement!


B2B (Business-to-Business Company)

For companies that sell to other firms, your social media presence must begin on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the key digital community for professionals and boasts around 200 million global users. A classy LinkedIn company page will generate sales opportunities, especially if you also maintain a current LinkedIn personal profile. (Hint: Connect your own profile to your company's page for maximum benefit!) One fresh LinkedIn post per weekday is sufficient, especially if you share quality information. Please do remember that LinkedIn isn't used like Facebook, and random people will poke fun at you/your business if you're not posting professional content. (Don't ever post your favorite Taylor Swift song on LinkedIn!)

Here's a great social media post from our friends at HubSpot

Twitter is the second social media website your B2B firm needs to use. Not only can you engage potential customers on Twitter, you can use it to get help from business partners and your own vendors. Tweet your airline, bank or website host for fast service or answers to your questions! Let your clients make inquiries via Twitter, too, because there is no better way to market your business than to demonstrate quick responses to current customers.

Investment Firms

Investment businesses should be using...

...as long as you're archiving posts for compliance purposes. Registered advisors should always have an outside firm save social media posts, but please remember to never offer specific advice online! Watch what you post online to prevent those bad SEC visits. (You know the ones.)

If you're solely an investment research provider, social media archival isn't required. (Forward View falls into this category.) Such firms can also benefit from the current proliferation of crowd-sourced research websites. We love Seeking Alpha, StockViews, Estimize, Harvest Exchange and, if you're very tough, StockTwits. (When you use StockTwits, somebody will rip you apart just for fun!) We suggest posting samples of your research in order to demonstrate your quality analysis without eliminating the need to pay you! Tease potential clients and make them want more of your research.

Summary

We suggest all business owners and organization managers use Hootsuite to manage their social media accounts. Scheduling messages on all your social media accounts from one platform is very handy. Creating a content calendar of posts for upcoming days and weeks through Hootsuite is easy and also serves as an effective time-management tool. For us, social media marketing without Hootsuite would be like digging for gold without a shovel!

Social media is a great opportunity for all businesses in the 21st century. You can market your organization without spending a dime through the effective use of tweets, posts and pics! Forward View reaches tens of thousands of people each month through social media, and your company can enjoy similar success. Please feel free to contact us with any digital marketing questions!