Seven Steps to Social Media Success
We often have clients who come to us, asking for a quick social media strategy to reach their audience and get them thousands of fans, followers, likes and retweets. The perception is that, because social media platforms are so dynamic and hold so much attention, that getting attention is easy. In reality, it’s the opposite. The dynamism and constant engagement are what make getting the attention you want difficult.
We’d love to say that there is a one-size-fits-all strategy for reaching your audience on social media, but the truth is, there are only guidelines. The rest is about knowing and understanding your social media platforms and audience.
Before you think it’s all free – we’re sorry to say it’s not always. Facebook and Twitter have cottoned on to the fact that they can make money off your need to reach an audience. However, there are ways that you can ensure successful social media usage without breaking the bank, provided you tick the boxes below:
#1 Pick your Platforms
There’s a notion out there that your business needs to be on every platform, even obscure ones. In reality, not all platforms work for all businesses. To be consistent across a multitude of platforms requires time and dedication, and no one wants to see your brand on a platform where there has been no activity.
Our Advice: Have a strategy in mind as to what you want to communicate and choose the platform that best fits that strategy. Rather be great on two platforms than average on four. And always consider capacity.
#2 Know your Audience
When it comes to social media, understanding who your audience is and how your audience consumes content is key to growing your community. This could be anywhere from whether your audience wants to read articles, whether they want advice or whether they want to be entertained. This will determine what kinds of posts you put out and who your target is per post.
Our Advice: Look at your Insights, get to grips with what it’s telling you and begin to use it as a way of knowing when your audience is online and what posts they really enjoy.
#3 Have a Plan
In PR we call it the “spray and pray” when you send out a press release to every media regardless of whether it will interest them or is relevant to the publication. This doesn’t work well in PR and it won’t work for social media either. You don’t grow or reach an audience by posting irrelevant and therefore, seemingly uninteresting content. Those people posting pictures of cats? They have a plan. Those random lists of celebrities? That’s also a plan. There should always be a plan and strategy behind the kind of content you post and when you post it.
Our Advice: Involve your team in building a social media strategy that speaks to the various aspects of your business. Plan a content calendar a month in advance that will give structure, and don’t be afraid to dedicate certain days to certain topics – this will give people a reason to keep coming back.
#4 Generate Original Content
Original content is key to capturing an audience. The better the original content, the more engagement it’s likely to get and the further it will go. Consider someone like TravelStart, who invests in building great content for consumption.
Our Advice: Think about what you as a brand can offer an audience that no one else is. This may be tough, but once you figure out how to deliver content that stands out above the rest, you will see that audience grow. Bear in mind, you don’t have to empty your pockets for great content, you just have to be strategic.
#5 Create a Community
The power of social media network lies in the communities you create because if done right, a community will stand behind you, will vouch for you, will promote you without you ever needing to make a big effort. Work at creating this community by giving them things to talk about, that they can engage in and can even tangibly walk away with.
Our Advice: Make sure that your social networks come across as authentic and personable, and not corporate robots. People want to be part of a community where they feel like they’re interacting with people, that they’re being heard and considered in what you post.
#6 Be Responsive
Speaking of being heard, social media platforms are great places for people to ask questions, give compliments, voice concerns and, sometimes, complain. If someone says something nice, say thank you, if they complain, hear them out and find a resolution and if they ask a question, make sure you answer. Building your audience means showing them that you care enough to pay attention to them.
Our Advice: Always pay attention to your networks. Make sure to respond to your community. It doesn’t have to be immediate, but within at least 24 hours. A community taken care of is a happy community.
#7 Invest in Social Media
You knew this one was coming. As with anything these days, placing an investment in something means greater returns, so by investing a budget in your social media, you are guaranteed a wider reach and increase in audience, but with better targeting. Don’t be scared off by the word “invest”, what you put in is what you get out, you don’t have to have deep pockets to make your investment work for you – this isn’t the stock market after all.
OUR ADVICE: Start small and hone your targeting. Put in R150 to start and see the results, measuring your return on investment. Once you get steps 1-6 down, you will be able to invest wisely and get worthy results.