So you’ve been sat in a staff meeting in a windowless room for an hour and someone thinks the answer to your sites’ traffic decline is a lack of Social Media. And you know what? They may be right. Social Media generates content, it raises brand awareness, and it drives traffic. However, simply just “turning on” Social Media isn’t an easy task. With this in mind, we’ve put together some brutally honest tips for those businesses looking to start Social:
Get Your Fundamentals in Place
If you’re starting out your social media strategy, look to work with the fundamental social media channels first of all – Twitter and Facebook. These are the most popular channels and as such come with an abundance of valuable guidance and help to get you moving. Set clear objectives for the channels and stick to them. Use Twitter to monitor for brand mentions and respond to any customer service issues. Use Facebook to start to share content from your blog, undertake Facebook adverts to grow your page and run a few contests to build out your social media following.
If you don’t have the time, don’t bother
Investing in Social Media is just that, investment. Getting it right can yield a fruitful reward in engagement, brand recognition, brand ambassadors and traffic. Getting it wrong can equally go the other way to the same extreme – just look at the worst Social Media fails of 2016.
If you’re thinking about undertaking Social Media, make sure you give it the time it needs. Be prepared to produce a Social Media policy (it helps staff avoid stupid tweets), do analyse your audience in advance (it helps you understand tone of voice) and absolutely commit to a Social Media culture (once you start talking to customers, you better make sure you answer when they talk back).
Simplicity is better
Don’t start your first foray into the Social Media world with an overly elaborate plan and investment in content. At the start, you’ll likely have a tiny audience to open dialogue with. Start by focusing on the bare essentials:
• Monitoring for customer service enquiries or complaints
• Encourage users to advocate your brand on their Social channels
• Just start having honest conversations with your target audience – don’t shout offers at them, actually speak to them to find out what they want from you
Video is great, if you have an audience and time
Videos do not just go viral, nor is there such thing as a “let’s do a viral video” approach. Just because you’ve created a brilliantly edited video that’s witty or funny, does it mean that people will actually ever see it.
If you have a small audience to start with, look to creating quicker and more practical content at the beginning. Invest in video when you have a substantial enough audience to actually appreciate your hard work.
Someone cares what you have to say
So many brands start their Social Media lives broadcasting about their products, services and offers. Let’s face it, most users will get frustrated if all you (say in this example you’re a plumber) only ever talk about is plumbing in every single post. Don’t be scared to shake things up content wise and talk about things outside your sector. If it can relate back to your industry, great – you’re more likely to get people interested in subjects that are affecting their lives right now.
Social Media isn’t for the intern
Do not just delegate the task of Social Media to your office intern or youngest member of the team. Just because they use Social Media maybe more than you, doesn’t mean they can converse appropriately with your customers. We all watch TV, but that doesn’t make us good TV presenters does it?
Choose someone who is creative but sensible, works calmly under pressure and above all else, is ready to multi-task. The very best Social Media comes from activity that was spontaneous and reactive to the world (see how Oreo achieved this during a Super Bowl blackout).
Competitions may be outdated, but they still work
Contests or prize giveaways are outdated tactics. Every brand has done them and Facebook feeds are often filled up with Likes about competitions or quizzes. And yet, they still exist and work. A competition only works when the price is worthwhile – look for prizes that are rare/hard to procure or have an obvious benefit.
Nobody really wants a box of Cadbury’s Roses for a Social Media competition as it lacks creativity and umph. Be sure to keep within your Social Media channel’s contest guidelines if you want to avoid your account being suspended!
Twitter is a gold mine of content
The value in Twitter isn’t just that you can connect with users all around the world, whether it’s the President or the Pope. The real value in Twitter is that you can gain access to a constant melting pot of content ideas and trends. If you’re struggling for things to say, do a search about your chosen topic and look for:
• What are the most frequently asked questions?
• What currently themes/news are people most keen to discuss
• How do your competitors get involved in the discussion
Don’t be scared to use Twitter to help with content ideas for not just tweets, but Facebook posts, blog articles and even YouTube videos.
Facebook should be looked at for sales
Facebook is undoubtedly one of the world’s most powerful platforms when it comes to Social Media. However, many businesses completely ignore Facebook’s tools for businesses looking to advertise. With tools like Facebook Business Manager you can serve ultra-targeted adverts to potential customers. Whether you want to target people who like your competitor’s Facebook Page or users who visited your site but never converted. Hubspot has a great checklist to get you started on using Facebook ads.
Treat each Social Media channel separately
Make sure you’re aware that each Social Media channel has its own community, its own purpose and its own etiquette. Far too many businesses lose interest in creating content for each channel so instead just duplicate it.
Take LinkedIn as an example, if on your Facebook Page you’re running a competition for fans to win a product and this is then duplicated on LinkedIn how do you think this will go? LinkedIn is for professional business networking, not competitions. The tone is more formal, the content is more business led. Don’t treat all audiences as the same on each channel otherwise you may risk ridicule!