Still trying to get your head around this social media thing and how to make the best of it for your business? These three basic tips are where you should start!
1. Realise there’s no substitute for a sound strategy
Businesses and brands with larger and engaged followings haven't got there by accident. They have a strategy and a plan for their social media channels - they've taken the time to understand what’s important, interesting and entertaining to their audience.
Here's what an effective social media plan for your business should cover:
who your audience is and what their needs and expectations are for each social media account your business is using
the types of content and themes that reflects your brand and meets your audience's expectations
how often you need to post in order to build your followers and engagement
the roles and responsibilities of those managing your social media accounts
the tools used to automate and schedule your social media activity
your social media policy, i.e. how you will respond to mentions, comments, and messages - positive and negative (this one is a biggie, you need to make sure you are consistent with your business branding).
Creating a content calendar is an effective way to organise your social media content. You may decide to plan your content a week, a month, a quarter, or a year in advance - in all cases, a content calendar will help you stay active on your channels even during the most hectic of times.
2. Make sure your social media management team has mastered your brand’s voice
Whoever has the responsibility of creating your social media content, and responding to followers, also needs to have a strong understanding of your brand’s voice. If your content and interactions are off-brand, you'll most likely end up with confuse customers, or even drive them away.
One idea for keeping social media managers on track is to have a style guide for your business. A style guide can contain rules for any aspects of communication you want to be handled consistently. A style guide can include:
how you want your business name presented e.g. “ABC Electronics, Inc” vs. “ABC Electronics:”
hyphenation of certain words such as “well being” vs. “well-being”
compound word preferences like “health care” vs. “healthcare”
taboo words i.e. those that you never want to be used within your posts
the tone of your company e.g. is it casual, chatty, witty, prestigious, serious, high-tech, etc.
Before you task someone with tending to your social media, make sure you’ve given them your style guide and encourage them to ask you for direction when they’re unsure whether proposed content will accurately reflect your brand voice.
3. Be approachable and real
It’s called “social” media for a reason. Brands that come off as out of touch with, or uninterested in their followers won't get anywhere at all. Make your brand presence more than just a talking logo that promotes your services in every post - mix it up and give your updates the human touch.
Some ideas for how to do that include:
asking questions or creating polls to get them talking
sharing some behind the scenes of your business via videos
introducing your team members through bios and/or video interviews
sharing real-life stories about how your products and services have helped your customers
By making followers feel at home with your brand, you’ll gain their trust, and facilitate interaction with your company. Ultimately, that can result in more referrals, leads, and new customers.
The ultimate social media “must”
The absolute essential ingredient for success with social media is a willingness to embrace it as part of your company’s operations.
Just like other aspects of your business - sales, customer service, production, technical support, marketing, etc. - social media requires constant attention and evaluation. And, just like other aspects of your business, your social media goals should be carefully constructed to align with your overall goals and objectives.