The top 5 tips to give your social media a kick start
Whether you’ve already created accounts for your business on social media or you’re looking to get going, these top 5 tips are essential to start developing your digital platforms and making a positive contribution to your business strategy.
1) Make sure you use the correct platforms for your target market
It can be tempting to jump on the digital band wagon with the hype around the different social media sites, however not all platforms will be relevant to your business, and most importantly, your customers. Time is precious, and social media can be very time consuming, so focusing efforts on the platforms that will provide you with the best opportunities to develop your business and engage effectively with your target audience, is where you should be.
Ask your customers, whether it’s through formal market research, via the sales process or your current communication channels – where do they like to socialise and shop online, which platforms do they trust, where are your competitors active. These type of questions can help focus your efforts on the platforms that matter and avoid being distracted and wasting time on the platforms that don’t.
2) Plan your content
Once you’ve decided which platforms to use, creating a calendar to plan out your content will help ensure you keep a consistent tone, varied material and address specific marketing strategies or events. You can ensure you’re capturing key campaigns, review which creative assets you’re using and for what, ensure key messages are going out and when, and plan ahead so you’re not cross posting or duplicating content. A content calendar offers a good overview of all your social media outlets ensuring your platforms become much more of a strategic asset, than a ad-hoc process.
Once you’ve created the content, a scheduling tool can be incredibly useful and a huge time saver. There is an inbuilt one in Facebook, and Twitter has a link with Buffer to allow you to schedule posts, however Instagram still does not offer the facility, except via third party paid for products such as Hootsuite or ContentCal, which can also work as effective content calendars.
3) Brand it up
Your online platforms should reflect your brand just as much as your website, store or marketing material. From the tone of voice and language used, to the imagery and aesthetic of the content, it should all should be a positive reflection of your brand.
The bar has been raised on Instagram in terms of making sure your profile has a clear creative approach with consideration given to planning out images, colour palette, creative style and photography. Facebook has developed their offering with stories and video headers providing opportunities to develop your brand and Twitter has long shown the power of tweets with images over word-only posts.
Creating branded assets such as photos or gifs add visual interest and variety to your platforms. A branded header and profile pic and posting engaging videos and stories that visually represents your brand and values, all create an integrated, consistent message that should be carried through across all your marketing channels.
4) Listen, respond and engage
The whole point of being on social media platforms, is to be social. It’s not a case of simply creating an account to use as a megaphone and shout out continuous sales messages. You will not gain any followers, and those you have won’t stick around for long.
There is an expectation for brands on social media to be authentic and to show there is a human being behind the accounts. Engaging with followers, retweeting, answering questions, commenting on posts, hosting polls, liking comments, sharing content, posting non-sales and business related material your users would be interested in, is all needed to create a dialogue with your online community. It’s a two-way street, and for people to find you interesting and relevant you need to use the platforms to continuously listen to your customers and then respond and engage.
5) Look at your insights
It can be easy to think once you’ve established your online accounts, started getting content out there, and your audience has started to engage, your job is done. Far from it.
Now you can really start using your platforms effectively, by regularly reviewing the intel you gain from the in-built insight tabs within the social media platforms. Simply looking at your basic follower numbers will not provide you with the useful information you need.
You can buy third party products that will collate all the results together to make analysis easier if you have multiple platforms, such as Social Report or Hootsuite, but before you do that, the integrated free tools can be really useful to give you an indication which posts do well in terms of engagement, which times are most effective to post, how many views have your videos had, or the reach of the content.
Dedicating some time each month to review the insights and analyse the data can help you develop more relevant content that resonates with your online community and ultimately generate positive results for your business.
So, there are your top 5 tips to kick start your online strategy. Although we appreciate it may not be rocket science, to have an effective social media presence that can help address your strategic business aims – which it certainly can - does require dedicated time, thought and effort.
Many organisations don’t consider assigning a specific person or team to handle their social media platforms and this is often when the activity can become simply an ‘add-on’ to existing roles and lose any real strategic value.
As with everything in life, you only get out what you put in and this is especially true when it comes to an effective social media strategy.