Earlier this month, ifour were delighted to be awarded with the Gold Social Media award at the Kent Digital Awards 2017. Held at the Ashford International Hotel, this year’s ceremony was especially nail-biting for us, as we had put our own social media efforts up for scrutiny in this category. So, having missed out on the Bronze and Silver awards, we were thrilled to hear our name read out for the Gold award by host Robin Bailey.
The KDA awards are a little different as rather than a quick generic thank you speech when you accept your prized trophy, you are asked a series of questions about your work, the company and the all important question, what you did that made this stand out. These mini interviews can be fascinating as you hear how other local companies have approached their projects and it was this that got us thinking… How do we approach social media as an agency, both for ourselves and our clients, and what is it that makes us different? So we’ve come up with our top 10 tips to make your business’s social media engaging, interesting and have a positive impact on your overall marketing efforts.
1. Set your benchmarks
It’s rare that a business doesn’t have some presence on social media channels these days, even if those accounts have been left to languish for some time. With that in mind, the first thing you should do when starting a renewed social media drive is to check in with your analytics. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+ all have built in insight pages that you can view various statistics like followers, page activity and popular posts. Pick which details you want to track across your activity and keep a note of the stats and date so you can refer back to these later to monitor your success.
2. Know your audience
You probably already know who is interested in your goods or services and who it is you *want* to be talking to, whether it’s customers, influencers or colleagues. If not, it’s time to get thinking and draw up a profile of your audience. This will influence what content you share in terms of messages, tone of voice and relevance, as well as which channel you choose to reach them.
3. Choose your channels
Once you know who you’re talking to, review which channels you’re using to reach them. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be on every social media channel you can find, eg: Instagram, Quora, Facebook or Pinterest might not be relevant to your audience. If you’re short on time, pick one or two channels and work on getting those right before adding more to your social media party.
4. Consider a manager
No, we’re not suggesting you expand your workforce (at least not initially!) but to streamline your time spent on social media, consider a management platform to keep all your feeds in one place, schedule content or use their analytics tools if you prefer. There’s plenty of paid apps out there but when starting out, the free options should be perfectly adequate.Try Hootsuite, Zoho, Tweetdeck or Buffer to start simplifying your social.
5. Plan your approach
Spend some time planning your approach; choose when you will check in on your channels (analytics can help identify good times), what tone and content will you post on each of your channels, how will they differ and whether you want to create your own content, share other’s posts or a combination of the two? Planning is a good way to ensure you regularly post content that’s relevant and will be engaging for your audience. You can also use your management platform to schedule future posts and share when it’s most effective for that channel. If you look at your calendar in advance you have the ability to plan around key events and dates for your business and can also schedule teasers or campaigns in the run up.
6. Create your library
Now you have planned your approach, it’s time to start to creating your content library. Images give your post more real estate on feeds so including eye catching imagery can make your post pop. Videos generally work in the same way depending on the channel. Blog posts on relevant topics will help mark you out as an authority in your industry and relevant shared links can widen your appeal. Always ask yourself if this post is appropriate to your social media aims; if it is, go ahead and post it. If you’re unsure, it’s better to post less content that’s higher quality than bombard your audience with distracting or irrelevant content.
7. Start talking
Don’t be afraid to enter into a dialogue with other users as long it’s relevant to your business. This is your opportunity to show off your brand personality, values and tone of voice, so reply to comments, actively comment on relevant accounts and remember it’s ok to ask questions and invite dialogue.
8. Be opinionated!
Following on from the prompt to get talking, most brands will want to have an opinion too. Think about the values your brand stands for and if you want to be an activist brand like Ben & Jerry’s or Patagonia or if you have a CSR program, is it something you want to actively promote through your feeds? If you’re unsure about taking a stand, take a look at our blog on the subject, Time for brands to bite the political bullet, for more on this read here.
9. Get reactive
Whilst you want to have a plan and schedule out your content, you also want to allow time in your day to react to topical news stories or trending topics. Not only will this keep your finger on the pulse, but it will also expose your brand to others discussing the particular topic, especially if you include the related hash tags to make your content easier to find.
10. Tap into your team
To help create content for your channels ask your internal teams, stakeholders, partners or even brand ambassadors for ideas to include. These could be suggestions for individual content or a theme for a campaign but the variety of content from a wider group can help expand your appeal to your audience.
As a final bonus tip, bear in mind that all channels need regular attention to be successful. With the above pointers you should be able to approach your social media channels with a renewed sense of purpose.
But if time is your enemy and you want to hand over your social media or include it as part of a wider marketing strategy, why not call us on 01892 541111, email or pop into our Tunbridge Wells studio, on the Pantiles for a cuppa and a biscuit to discuss?