Have a plan. So many companies think that if you throw something on social media every day that’s good enough, but the truth is not having a plan (editorial calendar, daily themes, relevant content, appealing imagery, etc.) can actually hurt you. It’s just like any other kind of marketing, having a well thought-out plan, measuring its results and adjusting the plan is key to getting social media right. It is also critical to optimize your content for each platform – what works on Facebook or Instagram does not necessarily work on Twitter and vice versa.
Don’t pay for 'likes' 'comments' or 'followers'. Building a social media audience on each platform takes time and energy and there are no 'quick' fixes. Algorithms, on how your content is viewed and when, change all the time. It is best to spend your energy on creating great content that your audience wants to view and engage with. Take a hard look at your engagement rates, more than your follower count.
Create content your followers actually want to ingest! Creating appealing and relevant content is not as easy as it sounds. Once you have created your editorial calendar and established daily themes, make sure the content that you create resonates with your audience. Really understand what his / her demographics are, where they live, what keywords commonly come up in their conversations or the hashtags they use or follow. Often times, brands think they know their audience, but do absolutely no research as to who they really are. Knowledge is power, and companies like SimplyMeasured or Social Rank can help you better understand your fans and advocates.
Only promoting your products or sales. This is not what people want to follow! Customers and potential customers want to know what your brand is all about and what you represent so be careful as to how much self-promotion you incorporate. There needs to be a balance, and social media is about connecting and building a community.
Do not attack customers or followers or say anything insensitive. Too often brands engage in inappropriate conversations online especially with customer service issues, and they want to prove they are 'right.' Take the high road and ask to take the conversation offline via email or phone support to help resolve the situation as fast as possible. Once your brand's comments are published, know that someone will screenshot it and it will live forever, even if you delete your comments at a later point.
Get comfortable with video - it’s not going anywhere. Instagram Stories now has more than 200 million people using it, compared to 180 million on Snapchat, and it is not showing any signs of slowing down. Video is a powerful tool for product demonstration and enticing behind-the-scenes clips, and it can be a more interactive way for a customer to see how a brand feels and acts everyday. Video taken on a smartphone is inexpensive and all the video auditing tools you ever need to produce a fun, quality video are available for free.
Be social!! Sounds like an oxymoron, right?! You’d be surprised how many brands still do not engage with their audience or the people who are creating content about their brand. Something as simple as a “thank you” when someone tags your brand or posts a photo of your product on social media can go a long way. Engage with them, let them know you are active and appreciate their support or brand advocacy. Social media listening tools such as Hootsuite, Social Mention, or SproutSocial make it easy.
Use hashtags and use them correctly! Often times brands will not include any hashtags or simply include the most popular hashtags they come across. Doing this does not help, especially when your post gets lost in the sheer volume of people using those very popular hashtags. Be strategic, and rather spend your time finding hashtags that are better suited to your brand or products and have fewer posts so that your content has a better chance of being seen and may be more relevant to your brand and products.
Sinead Norenius-Raniere has 20+ years of beauty industry experience working for multi-national brands as well as starting and successfully selling her own. As a Partner at The Pienza Collective, she helps clients navigate the ever-changing digital marketing landscape including social media and influencer marketing as well as preparing brands for TV Shopping and retail distribution.