During the last 18 months, more brands than ever are realising the importance of a strong social media presence. However, many struggle to know how to maximise their social platforms for awareness and promotion.
Part of the confusion can lie in the way in which social media is used in variation to ‘traditional’ outreach platforms. In the past, you could advertise your business by putting together offers, then placing them as ads in magazines, newspapers and by printing flyers etc – this is where social media differs from other online advertising mediums.
The key term here is ‘social’; becoming a part of a broader conversation and promoting interaction and engagement, as opposed to interruptive messaging and quick-hit promos.
So, what does that mean in practice? The team at South Coast Social provide an overview of how you can apply this principle in action – and use social media to connect with a growing, engaged audience.
- Post high quality content – Focus your content on being practical, shareable and original. According to the Financial Independence Group (FIG), more than half of consumers (51%) will unfollow a company or profile if the content is irrelevant. It’s important to analyse what has worked, what hasn’t and try to always be reactive.
- Tailor your content to each social media platform – While we don’t suggest you sign up to every social media platform under the sun, we do suggest you know the difference between each of them. Each channel is different and your posts should reflect that. Modify your content to the specific audience on each platform and make sure you’re up to speed with the differences between each platform.
- Consistently reach out to new people and industry influencers – People are open to communicate, so don’t be afraid to reach out to new followers, influencers and colleagues. What’s the worst that could happen? Yes – you might not get a reply, but growth doesn’t come from stagnation, so get networking! Connect with fellow peers within your sector on LinkedIn and build a strong business network.
- Go live and try connecting with video – Your followers want to hear from you on the latest product updates, news-worthy announcements and more. Using live video to create a unique sense of community can reel in higher engagement rates with people likely to spend more time watching live video compared to traditional videos.
- Join relevant conversations – Have you ever stumbled across a hot industry discussion? Comment and react as your brand to relevant posts found on your newsfeeds or within industry groups. Jump on board with trending hashtags too, as you never know who you might reach…
- Create a strategic posting schedule – Think about when your followers are most likely to be active on social media. It’s probably not going to be beneficial to post at 3am, right? Analyse when your audience is most engaged online by utilising the insights available on Facebook Business Manager. You’ll immediately find more engagement with your posts if you’re posting at the right time – LinkedIn for example usually sees the best results between 8am -10am and at lunch times. Try experimenting with post times for each platform, as they all differ!
- Politely ask for feedback and reviews – Receiving Facebook and Google reviews from satisfied clients is an easy way to build reputation and interest in your business. All you have to do is ask! Have you ever changed your mind about watching a film because the ratings are bad, or were swayed into buying something because of a 5-star review? Positive, authentic reviews will not only give you relevant content to share but allow you to start to build a base for trust from potential customers.
- Get your customers talking – Ask questions about personal experiences your customer has had with your goods and services. This can help the brand to obtain customer feedback, as well as sparking discussion among users. Try taking advantage of polls and surveys to obtain customer feedback quickly.
- Define your brand and style – It’s important to be consistent in your grammar, punctuation, voice and tone of voice throughout your profiles. If you need help defining your tone, consider contacting an agency to help you.
- The power of user-generated content – Brands that capitalise on UGC (user generated content) see increased revenue, decreased content costs, and are able to connect with customers in an authentic way. The use of UGC throughout social media creates an authentic experience for customers and fosters a brand-customer relationship that will help generate loyalty and repeat purchases. For example; encourage your customers to post and tag you in their purchases and share these on your own channels. Consider offering incentives for your customers to do so with a discount off future purchases or being entered into a competition.
- Get visual – It may be an obvious one, but videos and images are essential on social media! Image and video-based content performs highly and boosts engagement rates, so make sure you are sharing highly eye-catching material. Browse free stock images on sites like Unsplash or create your own with access to ready-made templates on Canva, or use the video tool Animoto. It’s also important to ensure you are using a high-quality camera or camera phone when taking your own photos.
- Reward your followers – Try creating a contest or giveaway, or share free, premium content with your audience. Everyone loves a freebie! By running a competition, you are likely to obtain more followers and interest in your services or products, especially if it’s a regular occurrence – just always make sure you abide to the competition T&Cs of each network.