7 tips for making the most of your social media presence
It will not surprise you to learn that people are spending more time than ever on social media. From Facebook and Twitter, to Instagram and LinkedIn, scrolling through profiles on smartphones for long periods shows no sign of slowing down in popularity.
What might surprise you more are the numbers involved. Around 45% of the world’s population use social media. That’s 3.48 billion people.
And on average, they spend 2 hours 23 minutes per day (up from 1 hour 30 minutes in 2012) looking at or interacting with their social accounts.
These numbers cannot be ignored; if you want to engage with your customers, raise your profile, boost your reputation and drives sales, being a part of the digital conversation across social platforms is an absolute must.
Here we give you seven top tips for making the most of your time on social media as a business.
1. Ask yourself: What’s the point?
It is vital to establish your objectives from the outset. What do you want your social media activity to do for your business? Is it primarily about driving more traffic to your website, helping you launch a new product, building a database of warm leads, or dealing with customer service enquiries? Your social media objectives, like your marketing objectives, should relate to the overall goals of your business.
2. Find your audience
There’s no point spending time on Instagram or Snapchat if your target audience does not use those platforms.
Once you have agreed on your core target audience, it is far better to choose one platform and use it well, as opposed to spreading yourself too thin across multiple platforms. It reflects badly on your business if you have accounts with out-of-date content, left floating in the ether.
3. Assign good people
Some things to consider: Who are you going to assign responsibility for looking after your business accounts? Will it be tacked onto their current role, or will it be a new role?
Developing and maintaining a social media strategy takes time. If it falls on somebody that already has a full schedule to manage, it will quickly fall down their list of priorities.
If you don’t have a marketing or communications team, then you may consider assigning responsibility based on the objectives. For example, if you’re using social media to promote your company as a great place to work to increase applications, then it could sit with the HR team.
Whoever takes control of your social accounts, they need to be trained to use the platforms well so that they can post confidently about your company. They also need strong writing and communications skills. Remember: There is nothing worse than poorly-written posts, with bad spelling and grammar, which will only reflect badly on your organisation.
4. Spend time completing your profiles
Regardless of the social platform, your profile may be the first impression a potential client has of you. Make sure you add header and biography information in a way that reflects the branding and personality of your business. This will ensure that whether a visitor comes across your website or social media first, there is consistency. This helps to build trust with them.
It’s really important that any profile or description areas are filled out because it will help people find you when searching for different keywords.
5. Content is king
So, you have set your objectives, identified your target audience, and where to find them, established which platforms to use and who will manage them.
Now, you need to consider what type of content you are going to create to engage, interest and excite your followers.
Develop a content strategy to establish what type of content you will post, how often, and how you will create it. You may well already have some content – brochures, images, infographics, videos, testimonials – that you can repurpose.
The best way to plan content is by using a content calendar. Start by adding all of your relevant business dates to the calendar – such as the company’s anniversary, new product launches, attendance at an event. Then, start to think about what content would work well, and when.
Plan regular internal editorial meetings to discuss specific campaigns, and what content is needed so this can be scheduled in advance with graphic designers, copywriters, photographers, etc.
6. Remember to listen
Social media is not all about posting content and ‘talking’ to your followers. It is about being social – interacting, listening, building trust, being useful and providing feedback. Simply broadcasting messages isn’t enough.
7. Make sure you measure
There’s no point spending a lot of time and resources maintaining a social media presence if you don’t know whether it’s meeting your objectives. Make sure you know, from the outset, how you’re going to measure your progress. Ensure you know where you started – say, in terms of traffic to your website, average number of applications for jobs, etc.
Each platform has its own analytics. But there are also plenty of free and paid-for tools available that can help you measure how well you’re doing too.
There really is no point in using social media unless you are going to approach it with the same level of professionalism as you would any other aspect of marketing and communications. Without a strategy, you’re likely to spend a lot of time and money, with little to show for your efforts.