Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Blogging to name but a few are all being used by brands to communicate with their customers and followers. The challenge is learning how to use these platforms to engage effectively with your audience.
If you are just starting out then it’s worth taking the time to look at your competitors and see how they are using Social Media to engage with their customers. If you are taking over as a marketing manager for a company who already has a presence on various platforms it’s important to take some time to monitor how your followers and fans are engaging with you. Once you’ve got a feel for what your followers are saying and how they’re engaging with you then you can start to post.
It’s also important to look at how your followers interact with you on the different platforms that you use. If you have great product photography that can help sell your brand’s lifestyle then consider using Instagram. This platform is used by thousands of people to share photos of all sorts of things and it can be a really useful method of disseminating your brand story to a wider audience. You can use #tags to help with searching on the site, which helps to increase your reach.
With Twitter, you might well find that a direct call to action works best for you. Include links to a particular landing page on your website or a product page with new arrivals on your e-commerce site. Use images and #tags as appropriate just remember that with 140 characters you don’t much space to get your message out.
For Facebook it is worth taking the time to work out which posts help to create the most interaction. Do your followers like tips and advice, does a special offer generate an increase in your number of social shares, does a video on how a product is made get them talking, do they engage with you when you ask for their help with product development? Just make sure that you posts fit within your brand guidelines and also be prepared to respond to followers who contact you.
Before you embark on any of this though, you need to make sure that you have a robust brand strategy in place and that everyone in your marketing team knows what it is and what their role is within it. It is also vital that you know what your aims are for using social media, do you want to drive traffic to your website, increase newsletter sign up or engage with early adopters of a new technology. The choice ultimately is yours; just make sure that all your interactions fit within your brand story.
It is also really important not to spread yourself too thinly over Social Media. This is where listening really come in, if you find that your audience isn’t active on a particular platform don’t be afraid to ditch in favour of one that has lots of engagement. Similarly if your followers are active on a platform that you’re not, consider adding this to your armoury just make sure that you listen first and that you have the time and resources to be able to engage fully with your followers.
When it comes to the timing of your posts, there really isn’t a definite answer. Over time you should see a pattern start to emerge of the best times of day and days of the week to schedule your posts for. It you’re active on several social media platforms it is also worth looking at using either Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to help you manage your activity.
Social Media plays an important part in most marketing and communication strategies these days. The key to using it successfully to market your business is to post regularly and to try and actively engage with your audience. The challenge for most SME’s is how you resource this important element of your business.
If you are lucky enough to have a marketing department the chances are they have this side of your business under control. But what if you don’t? How can you make sure you are doing your business justice on Social Media. Industry experts say that ideally you should aim to post to your blog once a week, post to your Facebook page once a day and to Tweet up to 5 times a day. This does of course depend on who your target audience is and what you wish to achieve by using Social Media.
The key to achieving this is of course to plan ahead and there are lots of online tools, many of them free that can help you schedule your online activity. If you dedicate 1-2 hours per week to this side of your business you will be amazed at what you can do.
The first thing you will need to do is put together a content calendar as this will help you to keep track of what you’re posting where and when. Start by thinking about the key times of year for your business, and create posts about that, then look for topical or interesting articles that might be relevant to your audience, you might also like to comment on particular news issues if appropriate.
Hootsuite – www.hoosuite.com
Allows you to handle all your Social Media in one place, you can manage three of your profiles for free, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linked In. You can schedule posts for each account quickly and easily and monitor all other activity for your accounts here. Depending on your business needs you might find their professional version useful as it also includes various measurement tools to help you track how your posts are performing.
Facebook’s scheduler tool allows you to forward plan your posts up to 5 months in advance. Your planned posts can be reviewed quickly and easily using the scheduled post tool and colleagues can also review the posts here too.
Tweetdeck – www.tweetdeck.twitter.com
Using Tweetdeck you can manage all your Twitter interactions. It is also possibly to manage several twitter profiles from the same Tweetdeck account.
Feedly – www.feedly.com
If you want to find online content then this is a great starting point. You can easily search for articles on particular subjects and keep them to use as and when you need them.
Don’t forget you can also Bookmark interesting web pages and content in your web browser so that you can return to them at a later date.
Canva – www.canva.com
If you need to create images but don’t have access to a designer then this website is a brilliant starting point. It will also help you create images that are perfectly sized for use on Facebook and Twitter.
So don’t be scared of Social Media, set aside some time each week to it and you’ll soon have a flourishing online community.
If Social Media is not your thing and you’d like some help then give me a call on 01234 823700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org