You don’t need me to tell you how important social media is – 1.7 billion people across the world have active social media accounts and that’s growing day by day. Creating successful social media channels take time and dedication, but are an important way for brands to engage with both current and future customers/clients. Here are my top 10 tips for maximising your channels.
1) Work out which channels work for you
There’s no point in joining every social media channel you can find if you’re not going to have the time to invest in them. Consider the nature of your audience and what channels they will be using. Twitter is often a good starting point as there are people of all ages who use it and you can select targeted people to follow in the hope that they will follow you back. If you’re looking to post fun and shareable content that you think people will enjoy looking at in their spare time, try Facebook. To engage with businesses and professionals, the obvious choice is LinkedIn.
Oh and whilst you’re there, don’t forget about Instagram – which now has more users than Twitter. Just make sure you have some nice images to put on it of course.
2) Spend time researching and developing strong content
‘Content is king’ might be the most overused phrase in marketing, but it really is true. If you want your channels to do well then you’re going to need to spend some time developing the content and your website – working out what you want to say about your brand. Could you get some video testimonials from clients? Is there anything fun happening in the office that you could take pictures of or blog about? Seen an article that you think your audience might enjoy?
Build yourself a content strategy build the key times of the year for your business into it – if Christmas or the school holidays are a really important time for you, make the most of those.
3) Develop a clear tone of voice
For most brands, a friendly tone of voice is key. Your customers/clients want to know that there’s someone behind the account that’s interacting with them, so don’t be afraid to put a little bit of personality into it – “We love this hilarious article by…” “It was great to see our client Sarah today…”.
My old university, Aston, does this really well. They keep the tweets nice and simple when referring to schemes and events targeted at businesses and the wider community, but come across really friendly when chatting with students.
4) Deal with queries and feedback in a friendly and efficient way
There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to contact a company through social media, and them not replying. Keep an eye on your channels as often as you can and try and reply to any queries efficiently and politely.
More and more customers are now using social media as a quick way to complain or give negative feedback. The worst thing you can do is ignore these messages – tell them that you’re really sorry to hear about their bad experience and encourage them to email or direct message you to discuss this further away from the public’s eye. London Midland are a good example of this on Twitter – they are bombarded with messages from delayed commuters and are always quick to apologise and offer explanations.
5) Use images
It’s been proven that posts with images are more likely to get interaction, so have a think about images that could accompany your posts – get snapping when you’re out and about! Graphics are great too if you know someone who can make them. You can find all the sizing information you need here.
6) Join other people’s conversations
Twitter gives you the power to search key terms, so use it to search for people who might be interested in you. Search key words around what you’re selling/doing and join in people’s conversations without doing the hard sell. You can do this on Facebook too by looking for pages or groups in your area or industry and interacting with them.
7) Have a look at what the competition are doing
What are your competitors doing? What’s working well for them? If they’ve got some brilliant ideas, think about how you could use them for your brand – is there similar websites you could post articles from? Could you spend time taking nice pictures like theirs? Just don’t be too much of a copycat!
8) Use free tools to help you
Social media management dashboards are making everyone’s lives a lot easier because they allow you to schedule all your posts and monitor your channels at once – and they’re free! My personal favourite is Hootsuite, it’s really simple to use and will even put your posts out for you at what it deems the most popular times.
9) Offer incentives if appropriate
If you can run a competition, these can be really popular and help to grow your audience by encouraging people to share your posts with their contacts. Use it to get user-generated content by asking customers to send in testimonials or images about your product or service in order to win.
10) Use analytics
Make sure you’re tracking what you’re doing so you can see if it’s working. Facebook and Twitter now have their own analytics that work really well – they can help you see week on week whether your numbers are growing and help you establish which posts are most popular. Keep a track of them in a spreadsheet so you can track your growth over longer periods of time.