In 2017 the majority of companies have a presence on social media, whether a global snacks manufacturer or a local solicitor. We’ve all wrapped our heads around social as a B2B or consumer tool to communicate with customers, as well as protect our brand online. But when you’re low on time and resources, it can be difficult to get the most out of your channels. Here are some quick dos and don’ts to avoid the common pitfalls.
…pay attention to what your followers are saying
Which content is getting the most likes, comments and shares? What questions is your community asking you? We’d always advise having your month’s content calendar mapped out in advance for ease, but you should never be afraid to make a change if necessary. It’s important to ensure you are tailoring your content to what is engaging your audience. If you’re often being asked for advice around a certain topic or product, why not factor in a dedicated post? Remember to keep a close eye on your analytics to see what is performing well and the best time of day to post.
…think about where your audience is
It sounds simple but a classic mistake brands can make is to try to be present across all social channels, without really thinking about the audience profile of each platform. While Instagram is owned by Facebook and has much of the same functionality, the people using it are very different. 20-49 year olds account for 34% of active UK Facebook users (versus 13-19 year olds at 5%), using it to share family photos with friends who’ve moved further afield, for example. However, Instagram is the playground of the 16-24s (over 40% of their user base), sharing carefully-selected fashion, food, beauty and travel content with their friends. Our advice is to concentrate on getting your content strategy nailed on the 1-2 key social platforms for the audience you’re trying to reach, before expanding to others.
…harness earned communities as well as owned
We’re now in an age of marketing where subtlety is key – the Reuters Institute’s Digital News Report 2016 found that 47% of online customers use ad block technology, so the way to reach them is to provide content they want from people they trust. Working with influencers can be done in many ways, whether it’s providing a product for them to review, or giving them exclusive access to one of your experts. Just bear in mind when working with them that it is a two-way street, and they won’t endorse your product for the sake of it. Your content and partnership ideas need to work for them and the audience they’ve spent time and effort building up. We’ve spent over a decade working with influencers and understanding their way of working, which is why we have launched our influencer intelligent division.
…bombard your followers with product posts
Increasing sales may be your goal, but when it comes to social media this doesn’t happen overnight. The best brand pages mix posts on their new products or money-saving deals with content that speaks to their followers about topics that matter to them. So, for a toy brand it could be a half-term post on baking ideas to keep the little ones occupied, or a DIY retailer could post on best inspirational Pinterest boards for people in the market for a Spring revamp.
…underestimate the power of video
It’s no secret that video marketing is an ever-expanding part of our campaigns, with 78% of people watching videos online every week, and 55% watching every single day. But when you’re low on resources, how can you keep up? There are quick, easy ways to create more engaging visuals for your posts when time is tight. Can you use a GIF to illustrate your point rather than an image? That how-to guide you’ve created for your website – can you convert it into a quick step-by-step Powerpoint or infographic? Can you grab 15 minutes with a member of your product development team to answer some questions via Facebook Live?
…ignore negative comments
This is perhaps the golden rule of branded social media pages. No matter how well-loved your brand is, you will inevitably face the odd negative comment. While it’s easy to ignore the situation and hope your commenter will back down, the key above all else is to make them feel they have been listened to, even if you can’t offer a full solution immediately. In all cases, we’d recommend responding within 24 hours to thank them for their feedback and outline what is being done with it, then work with your wider team on a long term solution.
To summarise, social channels are a great asset to any business with two key ingredients; the right thought put into the strategy, and regular time put in to re-evaluate content. It’s also good to remember that building your channels will take time, but if you can attract an engaged following that will stay loyal, your work here is done.