Social media is an incredible tool – but don’t create content without a strategy and know your audience and their needs
It’s easy to create posts for blogs and social media, but to produce content that has an impact and fulfills key objectives is far more challenging. It’s important to engage consumers on an emotional level, never bore them with facile or generic content, and try to make them feel your passion for your brand and products. Authenticity is key.
The opportunity of social media is enormous, and many new online brands have been built very successfully and rapidly through social media alone. The right content can quickly be shared by thousands, which will then often be picked up by the mainstream press. It can be one of the cheapest and best ways to get your brand in front of the right people. It is where most of your online marketing effort should be.
Here are our top tips to help you succeed and stand out from the crowd.
- The number one rule of social media is to post only when it is useful (offers, guidance), interesting or insightful, or inspiring. Think of your followers as your friends – what kind of things would you tell them to make them enjoy your company? Put simply, every post should delight, benefit or pique the interest of your followers in some way, and most importantly showcase appealing images of your offering whenever possible.
- Embrace what you do and reflect that in how you present your brand. Many business owners see social media marketing as a chore and this reflects in the messaging they put out. Instead, act like you’re proud of what you’re doing. On a quarterly basis, go out with your team and brainstorm what makes your product or service worthwhile, and how you can present it in an interesting way. For example:
a) Can you provide interesting analysis of industry news to raise your profile?
b) Can you present your product in a visually interesting way that people will want to share?
c) Have you done some work you are proud of?
d) If your business is of a more “dry” subject matter, can you do a weekly / monthly post about what the team’s been up to and make it fun? Maybe something you’ve done to help a charity or community? Or could you provide useful tips that will help your customers get a better deal or outcome?
- Once you’ve brainstormed, you should create an editorial calendar of key events, particularly notable happenings that are relevant to your industry, and plan interesting articles around them.
- Build relationships: follow people in your industry, your community, the media, and the types of people who are interested in your service. Retweet other people’s posts, like their good work, and say thank you when someone does the same for you. Social is all about getting people motivated to share your stuff. Unless you have something very special, that requires you reciprocating.
- Start the sharing – get your employees to start sharing your content, and of course do it yourself.
Every post should delight, benefit or interest your audience
- Use appropriate hashtags, particularly for competitions. Tweets with one hashtag have twice as much engagement as those with none; conversely, tweets with two hashtags have 21% more engagement than those with three or more hashtags
- Tailor your strategy to each channel: for example, instagram is all about inspiring lifestyle imagery, twitter is more news / trending topics focused, pinterest is very product-driven
- Ease the time it takes by using a platform like hootsuite to schedule content so that you can do most of your social media in one go, freeing you up to spend more time interacting with other social posters
- Work with other influencers and do tie-ups with other brands that have a similar target consumer – this can be done in a very subtle way or though joint competitions
- If you provide a service, don’t overlook google business pages as they are key to getting high up in local search results: encourage reviews, optimise these pages, and update them with content frequently
Work with synergistic companies and influencers to increase your reach
The best way to breathe new life into your social media is to embrace creating content that potential customers need or want. If you’re enjoying the process, it won’t seem like hard work, and if you have a clear strategy and use clever tools, it shouldn’t take up too much of your time. Social media should be interesting and enjoyable – if it is for you it will be reflected in what you produce. Remember that online consumers are bombarded with information every day – to succeed you need to make your output worth the engagement. Make the effort, and you’ll reap the rewards.