Everyone and their grandmother are now using social media.
We know Grandma is on there because she keeps tagging us in posts about lost dogs at the other end of the country. More than two-thirds of internet users are on social media, so you’d be a fool to ignore the marketing opportunities for your business.
There are a lot of businesses who know they should be on social media but aren’t really sure why or how. If you’re looking to boost brand awareness, increase traffic to your website and bolster lead generation, buckle up and find out how social media can help you do just that.
Step 1: Who are my audience?
Different social media platforms attract different users, and the way that these platforms are used varies greatly by demographics.
You can use existing audience data and market research to find out where you should be concentrating your efforts. The prospect of compiling this data can be daunting, but there are customer relationship management software packages that organise and analyse this data for you.
You need to know things like your audience members’ ages, locations, and engagement patterns to market effectively to them.
Platforms like Twitter and Facebook also have their own free-to-use built-in analytics, and they can tell you an awful lot about your followers.
Things like when they post, where they post and what else they’re interested in.
Finally, it’s worth checking out the competition. See how they’re using social media and what sort of response they’re getting. Be inspired by their successes, and make note of their mistakes so you don’t replicate them!
Step 2: Set your goals
One of the biggest inhibitors to social media success is failing to set goals. Doing social media for the sake of it is almost always a waste of time and resources, so make sure you know what you’re setting out to achieve.
- Set specific goals and you’ll be more likely to achieve them. It’ll also help to motivate your team to support your new social media strategy. A specific goal could be to gain 200 new followers on Twitter or to rack up a thousand extra views on your next marketing video.
- You’ll need a way to measure your goals as well. Make sure you have the correct analytics in place to monitor your progress. It’s important to keep an eye on the figures as you go, as you may wish to adjust your goals slightly.
- Set challenging but realistic goals. You’re not going to be the next Mrs Hinch or Mr Beast within three months, and falling that far short of your goals can be demoralising. Stay on track with small, manageable goals and watch your progress.
- Make sure that your social media goals align with your larger business objectives.
- Set deadlines. They’ll help you to focus.
Step 3: Put the right people to work
Social media is a task often offloaded to anyone with the capacity to do it.
After all, don’t you use social media anyway? Social media management relies on a unique skill set, including attention to detail, strategic planning, top-tier organisation and branding expertise. If you’re completely clueless and the budget permits, it might be worth hiring an external social media expert.
Step 4: Develop a separate strategy for each platform
Success doesn’t mean posting on every platform there is. You should focus on the ones that your customers use. For example, if you’re selling to teenagers and young adults, you should focus your efforts on Tiktok rather than Facebook, which is most beloved by the 40+ crowd.
Additionally, each platform is best suited to a different type of content.
- Facebook offers quality video streaming, the ability to host live video streams, and a popular messaging platform that allows brands to interact with their followers individually.
- Instagram is a more visual platform suited to images and short video clips.
- YouTube is best for longer video content and instructional videos.
- Twitter allows for real-time conversations, urgent news updates, and timely alerts.
- LinkedIn works well for long-form written content, like blog posts, and anything that might be of interest to companies similar to yours.
- Pinterest has a slower burn than other social media platforms and lets users explore visually.
Research the platforms to find out which ones are most suited to your business.
Step 5: Post the right content regularly
We don’t have access to the ever-changing mystical algorithms of social media, but there’s one thing we know for sure – the secret to showing your content to more people is regular, relevant posting. It also makes you look knowledgable, current and trustworthy.
It can be tempting to post anything just to fill a gap, but posting irrelevant content will cause people to unsubscribe. Stay on track by prioritising quality over quantity.
Step 6: Reach out to your followers
One of the biggest advantages of social media is the ability to communicate with your clients. They’ll value a swift and personal reply when they contact you on social media. It’s certainly a cost-effective way of keeping in touch, but be aware that people do expect an almost instantaneous reply. We recommend setting aside a set time daily to monitor mentions and answer queries.
Step 7: Remember, you’re still a business
There are a handful of companies who’ve achieved social media notoriety with their informal and sometimes OTT social media persona – we’re looking at you Aldi. But for most companies, it’s best to retain a professional demeanour on social media. Social media posts can be deleted, but they never truly disappear, and a few misspoken words may well come back to haunt you.
If a number of people are creating posts on your company’s social media channels, be sure to create a policy document covering:
- Expectations of what can be posted
- Instructions on how to deal with negative posts
- Rules regarding platform usage
Step 8: How are you doing?
You’ll see how your efforts are paying off by measuring your results. You might not hit all of your targets the first time around, but you will be able to see how your social media presence is growing.
Popular metrics include:
- Post clicks
- Video views
I’m a content editor at Toast. Content is king and I am its most humble advisor. I help clients to find the right words for what they want to say, as well as copywriting, proofreading and editing. My naturally nosey demeanour means that I also help out in other bits of the business, and will go and get milk as long as it isn’t raining.