How to Effectively Market Your Brand on Social Media in 2019 Guest Author Social media is constantly evolving. What was once a steady stream of cat memes is now a tried-and-true marketing channel and a bona fide brand awareness platform. Unsurprisingly, these fast-paced feeds are the perfect places to market your brand because they’re so widely adopted. With 7 out of 10 adults on Facebook, 8 out of 10 on YouTube, and 6 out of 10 on Instagram, there’s a good chance your audience is already active (and possibly posting cat pics) on social media. With engaged users sharing and consuming content daily, social media is an endless pool of marketing possibilities. Best of all, it’s (for the most part) free. Whether you’re looking to introduce your brand, pull new customers, or build loyalty with existing ones, social media has you covered. If launching a new social campaign sounds daunting, stay tuned — we’re breaking down how to market your brand on social media. Start S.M.A.R.T.Before you dive into a social campaign, it’s important to start with a goal. Pinpoint exactly what you want to get out of your social efforts — whether that’s brand awareness, conversions, or site traffic — pick a lane and write it down. The classic S.M.A.R.T. objectives will serve you well here. Make sure your goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Keeping a realistic objective in front of you will help you measure your success.Know your audience.Before you hit the share button, it’s important to understand your audience. Who is your ideal customer, and what do they want to see in their feed? Who are they following? Think about where your audience is online and which social channels they’re using the most. Establish buyer personas to help you craft premium content that resonates with your target following. Knowing your audience will give you higher engagement and more traffic, and in turn convert your social media followers into loyal customers. Join in (i.e., start posting).Once you have your goal in mind and your audience dialed in, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and start sharing. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube are all free platforms at your fingertips to help you directly engage with your audience. When it comes to content, it’s important to be real, relevant, and not too sales-y. Limit the sales pitch. Social media is a space for sharing. Whether that’s entertainment, knowledge, or learning something new, your content should serve up value — no strings attached. When it comes to posting sales-heavy messaging, use the 90/10 rule. The bulk of your content should engage your audience with thought leadership, research, and ways for people to level up their skills. The remaining 10% can aim people back to your site with the intent to purchase. Posting links to gated research, articles, and ebooks allows you to capture your audience’s interest and their information.By actively sharing value, social media can help position your brand as a trusted source of information and an industry thought leader. Even if your audience isn’t ready to buy, by actively engaging with the community, you’re establishing your company as a trusted brand. When people are ready for a solution like yours, you’ll be top of mind. Be human. People want to connect with other humans, not companies. As a brand, ensure your online presence reflects your unique tone of voice and the humans behind it. Take the time to acknowledge the followers that recognize you. Like, comment, and share tagged posts created by your followers. Social media gives brands a unique opportunity to interact with their audience in real time. Take advantage of this channel by directly relaying your love and appreciation for your audience. Doing so will show your following you’re not only actively participating in the community, but you’re paying attention as well. Posting content created by your audience is a surefire way to build loyalty with your following (and it’s 100% free). Stay on top of trends. Hopping on an appropriate trend can help your brand appear relatable to consumers. It shows your audience that your brand is as much of a fan as it is a contributor. Just like your audience, your brand likes and follows movements that arise in the wild world of social. Partner up with influencers. Influencers are worth their weight in gold when it comes to social marketing. These highly followed individuals are prime opportunities for brand awareness. Start by searching for people in your industry with a hefty following and an active online presence. Engage with the articles and content they share (i.e., comment, like, and share their posts when you see fit). As with any relationship, you need to start small, build trust, and work your way toward the deep end. Aim to kindle the relationship before you need it. Down the road when you reach out to an influencer with an opportunity, they’ll be more likely to recognize your brand and endorse your partnership. Social media can be a strategic tool to inspire, motivate, and build relationships with new prospects and existing customers alike. Before heading down the road of social marketing, it’s important to identify your audience and set a campaign goal. As a brand, staying relevant, human, and active in your community is the best way to spread awareness, build trust with your audience, and establish your brand as a household name. Author Bio Chris Farrell is co-founder and CEO of Liscio. He’s a seasoned technology executive with more than 20 years of leadership experience in finance and accounting. Chris served as the CEO of Nexonia, Inc., the parent company of the Nexonia, Tallie, ExpenseWatch, and SpringAhead brands. His experience as a founder of Tallie and SpringAhead gives Liscio a proven leader with a successful track record scaling up startup technology platforms for professional services. Chris earned his CPA in the heart of Silicon Valley at Arthur Andersen in 1996 and his MBA at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management in 2004.