Social media is top of mind for most businesses; usually, how to use it to get your message out to your audience, or what your employees or customers are saying about you on it. Each week online platforms report changes and updates, and most people I speak to say the social media and digital space can seem equally dynamic, disappointing and confusing.
So, I would like to share twelve suggestions to guide you to begin to streamline your strategy and activities when participating in the online world.
- Remember, a social media presence is only part of your whole marketing plan. Numerous businesses make the mistake of putting an unproportionate focus on their social media, which takes away from other areas of promotion. For example, networking, advertising, newsletters and public relations.
- Have a social media policy in the workplace to provide clear guidelines of social media use at work and how the employee can promote and avoid criticising the company, business, clients or other employees. Through a well thought out and communicated social media policy, you can encourage your employees to become involved in advocating your brand and building your online reputation.
- Succinctly and clearly develop your goals and key messages. Without clear goals, you cannot create effective social media tactics, and will not have anything to measure and evaluate. Also, key messages are vital to ensure all your created content aligns with what you want the audience to hear. This way, you will avoid the all too common question of, “What is it that you do?”
- If you don’t narrow down the demographics of the people you want to reach, your message could get lost in the masses. To identify your target audience, ask:
- Who are you talking to?
- Who are your clients?
- Who do you want your clients to be?
- Who are you solving a problem for?
- Only post on platforms where your audience is. Once you have discovered who you are targeting, you will be able to identify the platforms they are on and develop content specifically for those platforms. For example, your business may not need to be frequently posting on LinkedIn; however, if your customers on are Facebook, regular posts and updates are vital.
- Identify online and offline (in person) opportunities and build into your plan. People buy from or engage with brands they know, like and trust. Building a solid online presence is only part of this picture. Getting out in your community, meeting people face to face, and setting up collaborative ventures will put you at the top of mind of potential customers; as well as, create awesome photographic content opportunities. What networking events, meetings, local community happenings or coffee catch-ups can your arrange to support your business vision and goals?
- Mix it up with video and appealing images. A massive amount of user generated content is being uploaded every day, on every online platform. So, it is important to provide engaging target market focused posts. Before posting, check that your images appeal to your audience in a way they can relate to. Also, caption your videos for maximum view rates and make them succinct and under a couple of minutes. How many one-minute video topics can you think of for your business; either demonstration, introducing the team, or a quick ‘how-to’?
- Build relationships first. As mentioned above, people buy from people they like, and people do business with people they trust. As a rule of thumb, relationship and trust-building must be 80% of your communication; online and offline. Then, 20% can gently promote your services and products. When you plan your monthly content creation and marketing calendar, do you analyse the draft to determine if the 80/20 rule has been applied effectively?
- Solve problems. Once you have identified who your target market is and begun to develop relationships with them, you will have a clearer understanding of what keeps your customers awake at night, and what solutions you can offer. From this insight, you can streamline your message and create relevant content and conversations which support your customers and keep them coming back for more; and most importantly, talking about you to others. What problem does your service or product solve?
- Keep up to date on industry trends to stay ahead of the herd. There are many listening and monitoring tools available online, either free or at a cost. Social listening is an essential part of a successful digital strategy, as: customers favour responsive brands; the business can manage customer frustrations promptly to avoid a crisis, new opportunities to innovate and change within the industry become apparent; and, a chance to convert social media followers to paying customers. What is happening in your industry? What are your customers saying about you; through either, reviews or comments? Have you created Google alerts, or the like, to notify you when your business or industry is mentioned?
- Post regularly. Consistency is essential for achieving social media engagement. Optimal posting frequencies for each platform are: Facebook at least three times a week; tweeting three to 30 times a day; and, Instagram one to two times a day. A social media strategy and calendar are essential to support regular platform appropriate posting and grow your online audience. How do you plan your online content?
- Evaluate monthly. Evaluation allows you to examine previous content and uncover patterns and insights which tell a story of what happened and provide suggestions for future content creation. Essentially, monthly reporting and comparison to the previous month, shows you what is working and what isn’t; as well as provide valuable insights into your online followers. Usually, the platform insights and analytic programs provide suitable in-depth data to support improving and filling any gaps with appropriate content. How do you measure your social media marketing performance? Have you set a baseline of measurement to improve from?
When developing your online strategy, consider the twelve points above and you will gain the benefits of a consistent social media presence, supported by quality, goal focused and brand appropriate posts. What could you begin now to set your business up for online success?
If you have any questions, or would like to chat more about your online marketing activities, please email me.