Social media has come a long way. Once a set of platforms we used to share photos and catch up with long lost friends, these digital giants have become the essential online focal point. More than a third of internet users look to social media to find more information about a brand or product, and a lack of a decent social offering is the 21st century’s equivalent of flaky paint and cobwebs on your shopfront. So open up a can of digital dulux and join us for an introduction to the world of social media.
Content is king
The core of your social media presence is what you post. Throughout industries and platforms, there’s a common factor that draws in followers: provide value.
How you do this is up to you. You could give your followers an inside look at your industry through blog posts. You could share brilliant photos, make witty remarks on news and events within your specialism. The potential is endless and creativity is your best friend here. What matters is that it's something that your followers will want to look at, driving them to come back again and again.
Show your personality
What makes you stand out? Why would anyone pick you over a competitor? Establishing an identity in your marketing is a great way to help your business to showcase what makes it special and social media is the prime place to show that off. Funky challenger brand? Keep the stiff, corporate language out of your communications and talk to your customers like real people. Veteran of the industry? Why not share your wisdom with your followers and let them benefit from your years of experience.
Many of the most successful business Twitter accounts have garnered followers because of how entertaining or useful their feeds are, not just because people love what they’re offering.
Once you have great content that showcases your company’s personality, you’ll need to keep it coming. As good as your content might be, if you’re only posting it sporadically you’ll find that your interaction is limited. There are two main reasons for this. The first is simple human behaviour: would you rather engage and follow someone who provides you with a regular, reliable stream of content or someone who delivers it sporadically? The second is the way that these sites work underneath the surface. A platform such as Instagram will factor how often you post and how well these posts do into how much exposure your future content will get. Around 1 post per day on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn, with no more than 3 per day on Twitter.
Engage with your customers
One of the reasons social media has become such an important tool for companies is because it fosters community, breaking down of barriers between you and your consumer. Embrace this opportunity with enthusiasm. Use social media to address complaints, answer questions and generally interact with others. If someone tags you, reply and consider a retweet/repost. When people make positive comments under your posts, respond. It requires an extra investment of time but it’s the best way to make your community feel like you’re really listening to them.
Maintain other communications
Social media can be a brilliant place to let your followers know what’s going on with your business, to push out promotions, special hours and other news. However, you have to consider that it’s just one of several communication channels. If you only post these sorts of updates to their social media, what about customers who come to your website or read your newsletter? They’re not going to be thrilled to find you’re closed for a special occasion and the only place you’ve let people know is Facebook. Likewise, the promise of an event might tempt in an otherwise wavering lead, but if they have to trawl your social media for evidence of it, you’re not making good use of your channels.
Social media might be the primary way you end up talking to your customers, but make sure it doesn’t replace those other channels!