Ah, social media. Is it just a land of questionable memes, internet trolls and pictures of people’s food which is almost definitely going cold and not being appreciated in its full, warm beauty? Well, some of it is, I can’t deny that. However, there is also a gargantuan opportunity to reach new customers, engage with long-standing patrons of your business and grow your brand across a wide range of platforms, creatives and different locations. I’ve outlined my top 5 tips below for getting the most out of social media:
Identify your brand and your audience
So, before you get too excited and start posting away on every social network available, you’ll need to decide what it is you’re going to be posting about. There is a lot of noise out there on social channels so it’s really important to decide what it is about your company that sets it apart from the competition. Ask yourself a few questions:
What makes your brand different, exciting or engaging?
What does your brand have to offer?
Why are your customers (or potential customers) going to stop looking at pictures of cats on their Facebook feed and engage with your company?
It’s also really important to decide on the tone of voice you’ll adopt on social channels and how this fits into your overall marketing strategy. Social media, as with any other marketing channel you use, is an extension of your brand. So it’s vital to ensure you have consistency across your website, social media and any other touchpoints a customer may have with you.
Once you’ve decided on what you’ll be talking about, you’ll need to figure out who you’ll be talking to.
One of the best ways to do this is to build out customer personas based on the data you have about your current audience. Information such as age, gender, location, interests, devices and occupation are massively valuable when putting these personas together. Give your customer persona a name too and get everyone at the company to buy into it – if everyone knows that your messaging is more ‘Margaret’ than ‘Melanie’ for a particular campaign then you can have faith that everyone is on the same page and you’ve got a consistent tone of voice across your marketing efforts.
Audience data is readily available from a host of different platforms like Google Analytics, Facebook Insights and specialist customer data platforms such as Hitwise if you’ve got some budget to put behind your research. You’ll likely make a few tweaks to your personas over time as your audience grows and could end up with a variety of personas you look to target to suit your different business goals.
Define a social content strategy
Copy and paste just won’t work. Different platforms call for different content and will depend on the audience you’re looking to target. For example, if you know that your ‘Melanie’ persona tends to consume more visual content you’ll likely be looking to focus attention on platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest or YouTube rather than say, Twitter.
Here at Fifteen, we advocate creating a ‘Content Calendar’ to map out your activity over different weeks or months to ensure you have a full picture on the type of activity you’ll be running per platform. As well as giving you a holistic view of your activity, it’s also a great way of ensuring that each different post or campaign is clearly linked back to your objectives – are you looking to raise awareness of your company, are you looking to focus on conversions or are you looking to use social media to provide service to your customers by way of answering questions and queries?
Also, it’s really important to understand the specifications for content on each platform – image sizes, video length, text restrictions etc – to ensure that when you’re ready to launch a campaign, you have a full arsenal of assets at your disposal. And again, don’t just copy and paste, think about how that content is consumed on each channel. Don’t just shoehorn in all the elements you have on a landing page banner onto a much smaller image for social media or you’ll begin to dilute your messaging.
Monitor your activity (and your competitors)
Social media is definitely an ‘always-on’ channel so be prepared to speak to your customers on their schedule, or at least set their expectations on when you’ll be available to respond to them. If you leave a query (or complaint for that matter) unanswered for a few hours you could be at risk of losing a potential new prospect or upsetting an existing customer.
Monitoring your activity is also a great opportunity to identify brand advocates, influencers and those valuable customers who can provide insight into the kind of messaging that works for your audience. Nurturing these kinds of customers is pivotal to growing your online presence and ultimately, your business.
Depending on the activity you’re running, you may also need to monitor your activity to react to potential leads for your business. If you’re focusing on conversion, you’ll want to be keeping an eye on which type of messaging is working to drive people through to your website or increasing footfall to your stores and which messaging needs refining.
There’s also the odd crisis you may need to be on hand for…
Get involved in the conversation
There are thousands of conversations happening on social media (some relevant, some… not so much) so our advice is to get involved where it’s relevant for your business. Platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn are rife with hashtags which allow you to jump on hotly discussed topics and share some valuable insight.
If you do take this approach, one thing to be very mindful of is how you can add value to that conversation. There are numerous examples of brands, and the general public for that matter, trying to jump on a hashtag without appreciating the context and falling hard on their face, which could make up a whole new blog post in itself (stay tuned for that one…).
You may find that with your industry there aren’t many relevant conversations you can get involved in to raise awareness of your brand. If that’s the case, start the conversation yourself! Going back to monitoring your activity, you can utilise those brand advocates to join in the conversation and get people talking about your industry, your brand and your expertise. It’s also great practice to get everyone else at your company invested in your brand and to help support your activity on social media through their own profiles, whether it’s liking your latest post, sharing content or shouting about the great things you’re doing as a company.
Darren Rowse (https://twitter.com/problogger) said it best:
“If you want engagement, be engaging. Be conversational. Ask questions. Leave room for your audience to add their voice.”
Measure your results
I covered off digital marketing measurement in my last blog post, but seeing as I love talking about measurement and reporting, I’ll happily touch on it again.
The key to measuring your results is to not be afraid of data – there’s a whole load of it at your disposal when running digital campaigns and social media is no different. You’ll most likely be using the same analytics platforms you would have familiarised yourself with when building out your audience personas such as Google Analytics and the insights you can get from each of the social networks you’re running activity on.
It’s massively important to keep track of what activity has worked in line with your business goals and it’s equally as important to understand the activity that didn’t work. There will be some valuable insights into the kind of messaging, creative and approach that doesn’t quite resonate with your target audience, which will allow you to tweak and refine activity over time.
Being able to tie your activity back to your business goals and KPI’s is vital for driving a long-term social media strategy and maximising the impact of your activity.
If you’re interested in finding out more about how to maximise social media, check out our social media marketing page or drop us a line today.s