Social media is often discussed as if it is some dark art by marketing professionals. However this is far from the reality of things. Yes, social media is tricky to do well, but what so many people to fail to understand is that there is NO quick fix, NO standard structure or strategy and generally NO easy way to establish yourself or your company on social media. That doesn't mean you should give up, though.
When it comes to social media, marketers are spoilt for choice regarding the style, length and structure of the content they write. Each social channel demands a slightly different approach in order to engage with potential consumers effectively. Forgetting this is a common mistake that many companies make. Using the same approach for every platform is a quick way to infuriate and potentially lose followers.
Whether you use an image that can speak a thousand words on Instagram, share news on Twitter or reach out to other professionals and businesses through your blog and LinkedIn there is one principle which must stay constant in order for your social media to engage and not fail.
The One Rule Of Social Media...
So, what is this, magical, amazing approach that will bring me potential customers and clients? Put simply, BE HUMAN! Social media should be just that, SOCIAL, so don’t be afraid to reach out and engage, ask questions and start conversations. Listen to the answers you are given and what others are saying, find out how they FEEL not just what they SAY and most importantly remember that you can reply too.
Many companies (and people) are scared to have an opinion when it comes to social media out of fear of offending people. However the whole principle behind social media is that it is a platform on which others can share their opinions and feelings. Yes, there are obvious areas to avoid, for example politics and religion, but asking whether you prefer Chrome or Internet Explorer is not going to lose you potential consumers.
So what can we take away from all of this? Here is a quick checklist to help you better engage with your followers:
- Why are you posting? Is it to share news, an insight or perhaps promote a new product? Pick the right platforms for WHAT you want to say and WHO you want to say it to. Don’t post for the sake of posting.
- Are you engaging with your followers? Is there the opportunity for conversation, questions or comments?
- Have you got an appropriate link to your website (where suitable)
- Have you asked someone to proof read it? A second set of eyes is always handy to pick up any spelling or grammatical errors; it can also be useful to have another person's opinion on what you have said to ensure your message/response is engaging and appropriate for who you are speaking to.
- Are you targeting specific keywords or hashtags? If so is your content appropriate for the topics you are targeting?
- If you are including an image or video is it optimised properly, is the file name optimised to be relevant with the appropriate keywords? Are you allowed to use the image publicly or do you need to credit the source you got it from?
- Make sure that you make the time at least a few times a day to monitor your posts and check who is looking at them? What response are they getting, what are people saying, do they have comments or questions?
- Always reply and make the most of the conversation you have got going. It is only by doing this that you will be able to gather data and information about your followers. This will allow you to refine your marketing strategies, recognise emerging social trends and develop new products or services through the identification of new market opportunities or consumer wants and needs.
These simple guides above will help you to develop an effective and efficient social marketing strategy. However if you only learn one thing from this blog post it should be simply to THINK FIRST! By thinking first you should put yourself in the position of the consumer. Is the content relevant to them? Is it engaging? Can they easily view it and finally is there an incentive for them to engage or stay subscribed and finally. Answer all of these questions before you post an you are well on your way to creating a successful social marketing campaign.