Joining social media in 2016 might sound daunting, there are many companies on there doing incredibly well, maybe even some of your direct competitors. But it really isn’t too late to take the leap. Even for a well-established business, it might be scary to see your successful brand with zero followers, but we all need to start somewhere.
The great news is that the social media landscape is enormous and it changes all the time. A company who joined Twitter six years ago might feel complacent with their following, but unless they are using it effectively they might only be reaching a tiny percent of those.
The truth is that your company should definitely be on social media, big, small or local; you need a presence. The key is knowing which platforms you need to use and how you need to use them.
Here is my five step guide to getting your brand on social media in 2016 –
Forget the thousands of followers, and the logistics for a moment and take a step back. Why do you want to put your brand on social media? “Because everyone is on it” is not the right reason.
You need to determine what benefits your business and your customers can get from a social media presence.
A benefit to the business could be the ability for customers to endorse your company publicly, there is nothing more powerful than your customers saying how great your company is on their own channels. Think TripAdvisor, Glass Door and Trust Pilot to name a few; positive reviews are like gold for business.
A benefit for the customer could be the ability to get in touch with you quickly and get a fast response.
Other purposes could be
- Humanising your brand
- Brand loyalty (research shows that people who engage with brands on social media are 50% more loyal to them)
- Reach new audiences
- Increase conversions
- Gain insights on your customers
So, now that you have decided what you want to gain from social media, it’s time to think about how. There are many platforms out there, and it’s really important you choose the ones that are right for your business.
When you are just starting out, the key is not to spread yourself too thin, like anything the first few stages will be a learning curve, so it’s better to do some experiments on one or two platforms before you take the leap onto more. You may also find that one platform is sufficient long-term due to the nature of your business.
Facebook is a pretty good place to start, there are many benefits to Facebook which I will cover in another post. But the main one is that Facebook has the most insights on its users, it knows where they live, how old they are, how much they’re earning, whether they are in a relationship and so on. It also knows what kind of content they like to engage with. Therefore you can create targeted adverts or boost your posts (more on this later) to a really detailed audience, ensuring you aren’t wasting time or money on the wrong people.
Tip – for example if you were a honeymoons website knowing someone recently put their status to engaged is a great opportunity for you. Likewise if you are a dating website and they change their status to single.
The next stage is putting together a plan. I tend to do this as a PowerPoint presentation, as then it is ready to share with other people and it’s visually easy to refer to.
- Start by looking back at your core purposes from step one and keep them at the front of your strategy document.
- Now think about who your market is, you probably already know this, but write down who your core demographic is, including age, gender, and location. Also, think about what other brands they might be engaging with on social media, so for tailor-made travel, my customers are probably engaging with magazines like Conde Nast Traveller and Wanderlust.
- Set yourself some realistic targets. Followers, leads, conversions, then set yourself a deadline and look back to see if you were successful.
- Create a content plan:
- Choose your core themes of focus. For example if you are a travel company then talk about travel, but you may also want to talk about photography, wildlife, art and food. If you are a local business, you may choose to share content about the local community.
- If you don’t already, you may need to start posting blogs or news articles on your website about these core topics which you can share. People will then click on your website and learn about your brand. If the articles aren’t too self-promotional, they may be picked up and shared on social media by other companies and users.
- Another way of creating content could be by sharing graphics or photographs, for example on Twitter #MondayMotivation, #TravelTuesday, #WanderlustWednesday, #ThursdayThoughts and #FriFots trend every week, you can make quotes or share images in line with this.
- You can also share blogs from other people and companies, if you tag them in your post, you can build a relationship with them over time, and they might share your content, too!
- Decide how you are going to talk about your products or services. Unless it’s a paid social media post being too sales orientated isn’t going to get people to engage with your brand. People use these channels to talk to their friends and share things they care about, if your brand is going to appear amongst this, it needs to be a welcome message.
4: Think long-term
Social media is not something that can be dropped and picked back up when you have time. To create successful social media channels, you need to commit to maintaining them for the foreseeable future. The one thing worse than not being on social media at all, is having a dead profile.
Once you have a social media presence, customers will see this as a way of getting in touch with you. They may come through these platforms for direct sales, or they may use it to ask about stock availability, or additional information on your product or service. The fact they have come via social means they want a quick or immediate response, ignoring them is like putting your phone number on a billboard and then not answering the phone.
5: Never stop evaluating and learning
Digital marketing and advertising offer an endless amount of insights on how your content is performing, and social media is no different. It’s important to look at how many people your content is reaching, and whether they are engaging with it.
Further down the line you can invest in a social media management tool, but for now, you can use the free insights each platform offers you. You can also post the same content more than once with a different message or image, or at a different time of day and see which your audience responded to the best.
Over to you
Now you understand the benefits of social, you’ve chosen which platform to use, you have a detailed strategy on what you want to achieve, and you’re in it for the long-haul; you’re pretty much good to go. The one thing a lot of people forget is that social media is constantly changing and evolving, and as a social media marketer you will need to do the same.
Did you find this useful? I would love to know! Leave a comment below.