Where has 2017 gone? 2018 is just around the corner, and with that a chance to really up your game and target your audience like never before. Heard all the talk about ‘businesses need to be using social media if they have any hope of gathering leads, making deals, or being successful in their business’?
It’s never too late to start, and what better time than the beginning of the year! It may all seem very confusing to start with but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ve put together the basics of what you should, and most importantly shouldn’t, be doing on social media in this digital age. You’ll be tweeting and posting with the best of them in no time!
Decide on your social media channels
This is the most important. Yes, some companies do well by having a presence on every social media channel out there. This uses a lot of time and resources that some small companies just don’t have. Does that sound familiar? Come up with a plan and decide where you need to be present online. Any places you decide against, make sure you wipe any information that may be there already. Otherwise, people may stumble across it and see an inactive page.
Our main choice would be to make a Facebook Business Page. Everyone is on Facebook. If people are deciding where they want to stay overnight in a hotel, they go to TripAdvisor. When people are deciding the type of people they want to go into business with, they go to Facebook. Think about it, when was the last time you searched for a business on Facebook to either see if they had any exclusive deals, opening times, holiday competitions? I would say recently, right? Having a presence on Facebook is just so important!
Then we come to the next big runner, Twitter. There is a certain type of customer on Twitter. Though it is a strong rival to Facebook, it’s still not quite there. However, when we speak of ‘cross-posting’*, I would suggest Facebook and Twitter as strong companions to get to the largest target audience (as well as Instagram, but we’ll get to that later). If you’re an I.T company, I would ask, why aren’t you on Twitter already?!
Instagram has become the high-profile runner of late. This is where you’ll find the vast majority of your influencers (check out our post from Claire Williams from Chia Bia to learn about influencers!). However, since Instagram has been taken over by Facebook, it’s now become so important to have a presence there as well. Instagram is a great platform if you’re a company that sells visually. Businesses such as homemade crafts, artists, even food companies would do well to set up their profile today. These types of businesses sell on the idea of ‘Wow, that looks amazing, I want one’, and Instagram is your best way of getting that out there. If you also decide to go down the Facebook Ads route, Facebook have outright said that they prefer when you cross-post your ad across the two platforms.
We can’t forget about Linkedin of course. It has a reputation of being the choice of recruiters and job searchers alike. It is so much more! It can be an invaluable source of connecting with people in your network that you may not have come across otherwise. We would suggest if you decide to have a company Linkedin, make sure all your employees also update their profiles and link with the business. This way people can see what amazing people you have employed for you!
Lastly, we come to our Snapchats and Pinterest’s of the social media family. This would be where our influencers live mostly. Businesses such as the homemade crafts would probably do well having a Snapchat presence, but this isn’t for everyone.
If you’re looking to boost your SEO on Google, then utilising YouTube and Google+ would probably be the best idea. But again, sites such as YouTube only work for some companies. If you have a business where you make, create or design something, then YouTube is the platform for you. This can work amazingly for food companies. Why not make a short time-lapse video of you creating a new food product or putting together an order?
Most importantly, whatever platforms you decide to use, make sure the profile is 100% complete! Nothing annoys a potential customer than not being able to find the exact information they want, i.e. Opening times, pricing etc.
Be active on your social media, but don’t go overboard
Okay, so you’ve decided on what platforms you’re going to post on. But how often should you post? What time should you post? This unfortunately is a bit of trial and error. It all depends on your audience you have engaging on your page. Some days are better than others – Wednesdays at 3pm is known as a ‘peak’ time. In some surveys taken it has been decided that Thursday and Friday posting have the best engagement. Think about it from your audience’s perspective. They come back to work after the weekend and have emails, meetings and projects to catch up on. They don’t have time to be scrolling through their news feed. However, as the working week winds down, people find themselves inexplicably drawn to their news feed to see what they’ve missed out on. Take a couple of weeks and find out what works best for your company.
The 5-3-2 rule
Your audience don’t want to see you bragging about how great your product or service is. That quickly gets boring and that gets followed by a quick ‘unfollow’. This is where the 5-3-2 rule comes into play.
50% of what is posted to your social media, should be information that is relevant to your target audience, but comes from various sources. What you are looking for is shareable and useful articles. This would obviously compliment whatever your overall goal is. This gives whatever you say about your product or service, a level of trust that wouldn’t have been attained had you just ‘tooted your own horn’ the entire time.
30% should be content that you have created yourself. This could be blogs, images or videos. These should only be sources of information, maybe angling the reader to call you or visit your website, but never go for the hard sell at this point. If you do, all your arduous work of content creation will go down the drain.
Finally, 20% is humanisation. This is your funny cat videos, or relatable ‘memes’ that your audience can look at know that you are not just a faceless corporation but human too. This also helps convince your audience that you are on their side, a great perk for companies selling a service.
Have a personality
Don’t just post for the sake of posting, or because you think you must. Yes, you must, but you don’t want your audience to see your content and know you couldn’t be bothered. Social media works as ‘The Face’ of your company, whether you want it to or not. So, do you want that face to be fun, relatable, humorous but a reliable source of information, or boring, dull and just run of the mill? I know which one I’d prefer!
We hope we’ve covered all the basics of using social media. They’re a million and one things you can do after this, but making sure you follow the above guidelines can give you an edge against your competition! Don’t forget, if you want any pointers or need some assistance, we’re always here to help!
*Cross-posting is where you post the same content across multiple platforms.