Are you just starting out on your social media journey and looking to increase your followers on Facebook and LinkedIn, get more likes on your Instagram posts or more retweets on Twitter?
There’s no doubting that Social Media is a brilliant marketing platform for getting you noticed on a personal and professional level, to a wide audience, worldwide. It can be used for a variety of purposes – to sell, for content marketing or as an additional channel for customer service and support – it gives the perfect opportunity to reach a wide audience and help to build on your brand.
But how do you get yourself noticed amongst all the other social noise and to an audience that is relevant to your business?
Know your audience.
The key is to know your audience. This is true for all aspects of marketing and promoting your business. Jason DeMeys, CEO & Founder of AudienceBloom sums it up well, stating “The better you know your audience, the more effectively you can create appealing content ideas, make formats decisions, handle positioning and placement, and promote the content”. For example – an accountancy firm is not going to post the same style tweets as perhaps the local builder. Likewise, I have a personal blog and a related Twitter and Facebook account; the content within it would not be appropriate for the corporate world but for my target audience, it suits and this is reflected in my follower count and user engagement.
In a nutshell, dependent on your line of business, depends on the tone you can take with your social media profile. As long as you know who your audience is! And yes, sometimes it’s hard to get it across in just 140 characters…..
There’s an interesting insight here showing social media demographics, this may give you a helping hand with what networks you should be visible on.
One thing to be mindful of is that you are still a business. A professional outfit. You’re still selling goods and services to customers and potential customers – those potential customers don’t necessarily know your personality yet, so best not to scare them off. Your audience is not always of the same mindset.
As the old saying goes, ‘people buy from people’ – so develop your brands personality early on and engage with your target audience. Here at Innovate Creative, we’re a full service design agency so we are creative types, we like to have fun and we like to think we’re a friendly bunch – but we’re still professional in our outbound communications.
How do you get the balance right?
How do you build your brands social personality, increase your social following without overstepping the professional mark?
Below are a few points to consider on your journey:
1. Don’t just talk about yourself – we’re guilty of this as much as the next person. How do we fall into this trap? Because, we’re proud of what we do both in our work and service and we like others to be proud of us too. It’s slightly lazy, it requires little effort – we know what we’re about so we write about it. But there is a downside to it; initially people will be pleased to hear about you, you’ll get likes, shares and retweets but they’ll soon get bored of fairly repetitive content. Give something back, share relevant content, educate and inform, talk about current trends, heck – tell a joke.
2. Be consistent in your output, once you’ve selected the style and tone you like. Stick to it. This consistency goes hand in hand with commitment. Once you’ve made the decision to ‘go social’ you must keep at it. So many times we see companies set up, go all guns blazing then get bored or too busy and postings start to drop off.
The best thing is to devise a content plan. A good starting point is to draw up a six monthly/yearly calendar of events and populating it with key events, shows, national celebrations (Christmas, Valentines, Halloween etc), product launches and build your content around these.
There’s an example template you can download from Hubspot here
3. Sharing and retweeting allows you to show a bit of what you like, your humour, but don’t hide behind someone else’s personality by being a repeat sharer or retweeter – show originality. Easier said than done we know.
4. If you are doing a cross media campaign – make sure they all tell the same story, keep your message consistent for more impact, people will soon learn your language and start looking out for your updates (if you’re promoting them in all the right places!).
5. Interact with your followers – there’s nothing more exciting, from a user’s point of view, than interacting with a ‘brand’ – no matter how big or small they are. It’s nice to get a response and have your communication heard or acknowledged.
* How amazing are Innocent? Their social media team are brilliant – more about them in an upcoming blog! I’ll just leave you with a little compliment, courtesy of their ‘Compliment Generator’ – great way to get your brand socially shared… *
6. Use #hashtags to find and get involved in relevant topics and to find like-minded people – likewise, use relevant hashtags to showcase and make it easier for people to find what you do/have similar interests in; for instance we would use #design #websites #marketing at the end of posts relating to our business. Ensure that you don’t just spam random words that aren’t relevant or you may find yourself with a hoard of people who have absolutely no interest in you, your business or your service.
7. Jump on the #trendingtopics – when this is done right, it can increase your brand presence and awareness ten-fold. Timing is key, you don’t often have long to get involved before the next topic is up! After all who can forget the craze of #ThatDress – blue or gold?!
8. Local #hours are great ways to connect with likeminded people, think of it as virtual networking. These are usually run for an hour each week across Twitter – we participate in #HampshireHour where we ‘talk’ to other businesses about a weekly set topic in our region. This shows experience and also widens your twitter chat to things other than your business (always worth trying to get a tenuous link in there somehow though!)
9. It should go without saying, no profanities, no racism, sexism or extreme views. Just because that may be your personal view – doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the view of the entire company. Don’t tarnish the company with your brush.
10. Sure, you can delete posts but in the day of the screen grabs and captures, be careful. Be sure of what you’re posting the first time round.
11. Don’t risk being forgotten or overlooked, give people something in return for a follow or a like – make them laugh, make them cry, give them really useful tips that they perhaps can’t find anywhere else. Interact, get shares and discussions, get people from similar backgrounds wanting to be involved with the chit-chat; everyone loves to give an opinion.
Being seen and heard is vital to any successful marketing strategy and campaign and social media is the perfect way to achieve this. But remember, the potential for thousands to see your latest funny is just as reachable as those potential thousands who see your duff post which really shouldn’t have been published. Check out ‘The 12 worst social media fails of 2016‘ to give you an idea of what not to do!