Think social media is complex? It is – but with the right tools at your disposal, it needn’t be time-consuming. Spend a little time setting up your social media in the right way and you can stay up to date with social and still have time to run your business.
Research your Audience
Who are you trying to target? Why? What are they interested in? Who is influential already in that community? Which platforms are they using? Decide on one key driver platform and up to two other platforms to start off with. Don’t spread yourself too thin.
Check up on Your Competitors
Not sure on what you should post? Look it what your competitors are doing on a monthly basis – they may have already done the research for you. What are their most successful platforms? What are their most popular posts?
Set up Your Profiles
You have seconds to make an impression, so ensure that your profile is interesting and lets people know what you’re likely to tweet about. Include a link to your website – or wherever else you want to drive people. Remember, social media can be used to direct traffic to your website, but it will also be used to review who you are, what your passions are, your attitude to customers, your networks and influence – so make sure it represents your business in the best way possible. Both customers and potential recruits will review it when deciding whether they want to engage with you.
Download the Right Tools
Download Hootsuite (the basic version is free). This can be used to schedule your social media posts across Facebook, Twitter, Google+, WordPress, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn, including optimising the time your posts go out for maximum reach.
With Hootsuite, you can run multiple accounts, so you can use it to update your personal and professional pages at the same time. Nowadays, personal profiles are as important a tool for branding as professional ones: personal Facebook pages are becoming the human face for many business leaders.
Hootsuite also includes analytics tools, so you can track your most popular posts, and use this information to plan future posts. You can follow all your social media interactions on the dashboard and do a host of other things that trim hours from your social media marketing, giving you more time to create content. However take care that the posts you schedule don’t become inappropriate or even offensive due to events that take place between scheduling and posting (if there is a major incident you should recheck your posts).
There are other scheduling platforms available that all have their own benefits, so do keep updated with the latest tools at your disposal.
Identify the Right Content
Add additional content to your feed using services such as Klout.com, which also allow you to schedule your tweets at the optimum time. By using multiple scheduling tools you can benefit from multiple algorithms, helping you ensure you hit every social media hotspot, time-wise.
Curate your own content manually too. Retweet inspirational quotes, the latest news from your industry, strong visuals and entertaining videos. This will help attract people to your feed – and mean that they pay more attention when you Tweet your own content. No one just wants to read an endless stream of promotional tweets.
Suggest content that may be of interest to your audience, and highlight new and trending stories. Always remember that there’s a reason it’s called ‘social’ media. You wouldn’t go to a party, spend all night talking only about yourself and expect people to carry on listening. Play by the same rules on social media. Be generous, like and retweet others and they are more likely to do the same for you.
Make Your Content Easy to Find
Use hashtags in your posts to help people find you: up to 30 are acceptable on Instagram, compared to a Twitter recommendation of no more than two hashtags per post. Remember, storytelling is key in marketing, so telling a story that includes your keywords will be more effective than using keywords alone.
Watch the Data
Use analytics and reporting tools to check which posts are most popular and get the most engagement. All the social networks have their own analytics, and there are numerous social media reporting tools out there too.
With Klout you can build your profile as an expert in key areas, and see how you compare to your competitors. This allows you to see your social media profile grow (or fall, though that’s never happened for our clients).
Keeping a close eye on your analytics will help you test out different content, or even just different headlines linking to the same content, and see what produces the best results.
Your website analytics should tell you whether your social media is effective in driving the right people to your website. Also consider using Bit.ly links in your posts as you will be able to tell you how many times that the link was clicked on.
Evaluate Your Audience
Don’t just watch your own traffic and social media audience figures. Social media is all about interaction and, if you curate the right content, it won’t take long for people to engage with you.
Crowdfire.com will help you keep track of the people that are engaging with you, and manage your audience, showing you who has unfollowed you and who is a new follower. By checking Crowdfire regularly, you can ensure that you’re connecting with the right audience.
Post Photos and Videos
Take photographs and videos that fit your brand. Modern phones have surprisingly sophisticated photo editing software, and if you’re not a natural photographer, ‘candid’ shots are becoming more popular since the rise of networks such as Snapchat.
Posts featuring videos and photos have far higher engagement rates than those without so try to include them as often as possible.
Remember, social media images are often viewed while people are scrolling fast, so strong, bold images with contrasting colours will stand out more than shots with too much detail.
Follow the golden rule: Keep It Simple, Sweetheart. Images usually look better square on most platforms and remember to follow the size guidelines: a pixelated image screams ‘unprofessional’. Remember, people don’t always watch videos with the sound turned up so make sure it’s engaging even without audio – and consider adding captions.
Not got time to do all this? Call Onyx on 020 7046 2700, or drop us a line and we can manage your social media for you. With magazine editors, best-selling authors, business experts and international journalists on the team, we tell your story in a way that engages your target audience. We currently work for social media clients in the US and the UK.