Updated: May 24, 2021
There’s no denying it - social media changed the face of the planet when it crashed its way into our lives way back in the mid-2000s. Since then it's really taken off (too much?! - maybe) and offers individuals and businesses the chance to be... well, social, as well as do a bunch of other stuff, like advertising, but we'll cover that in a different blog.
1. Know your audience
First things first - know your audience. Understanding who you’re talking to - or at least who you want to be talking to - is so important.
Ask the right questions, use words and imagery that would appeal and know what platforms they’re using.
If you’re a new business looking to grow your following, your audience will be new too. They might not know exactly why they’re following you at first - you need to show them. Knowing about their age / interests / online habits will help you shape your content. At this point you don’t want to be asking them what content they want to see from you as they won’t know, so show them a range of content and later down the line you can start asking questions.
If you’re more established but not sure what your audience is interested in, there’s definitely an opportunity to ask them. Polls, q&as and using stories are all easy ways to chat with and engage your audience, and find out the kind of content they like seeing from you.
2. Plan, plan, plan!
A well-thought-out plan of what you’re going to say and on which platform provides consistency for you and your audience.
It means you’ll be able to schedule content in advance and have more time to respond to comments and direct messages, or for delivering any spur-of-the-moment campaigns.
Planning in advance also ensures regular posting throughout the month, which means your posts will be seen more, which can often be harder for organic (unpaid) posts.
3. Be relevant and timely
Embrace that holiday / time of year / big event / breaking news. Consider ways your brand can ride on something that already has lots of awareness, by adding something genuinely useful or entertaining to the conversation.
It’s good to be relevant and up-to-date with what’s going on in the world - and it shows your business is forward-thinking. Your audience will be thinking about these things too, so they’ll be more likely to engage with your content.
Think beyond sales and immediate revenue. A holiday company won’t be asking people to book a holiday for next week during the coronavirus pandemic, they’ll be giving recommendations for future holidays or reminiscing on past trips.
Just like a flower company won’t be forgetting Valentine’s Day anytime soon.
What upcoming occasions could your brand add something relevant to?
4. Actually be social
Yes, it might sound obvious, but it’s called social media for a reason.
Businesses are so busy trying to use social media for other purposes, like sales, that they forget the basics of what social media is!
In the words of Amy Jo Martin, author of 'Renegades Write the Rules',
"It's a dialogue, not a monologue, and some people don't understand that. Social media is more like a telephone than a television."
While promoting your products and services is important through paid advertising, organic social posts are there to build a rapport with your audience, to establish a relationship with past customers, and a chance for you to be social!
Ask questions, be light hearted and get your audience involved with your content.
5. Don't overthink it, don't overdo it
It’s good to post frequently on social media - but it’s also not worth posting for the fun of it. Strike a balance by sharing relevant, interesting content without agonising over the small details.
Social is a great opportunity to show your brand's personality and create long-lasting relationships (and sales) from your audience. Let that personality shine through!