In late 2007, Facebook already had 100,000 business pages however, ten years later, many business still don’t see the true value of social media or even what a successful social media campaign looks like. Many companies look at social media as another advertising platform and put it in the same box as search advertising. Companies create a page on a plethora of platforms and expect immediate return on investment (ROI). In other cases, a brand will assume that social doesn’t equal sales and focus purely on vanity metrics such as “number of likes”, “reach” or “followers”.
The truth is, social media (when used correctly) can offer a brand many things including sales as well as increasing brand awareness and engagement with users. At a very minimum, it can be used as an incredibly powerful feedback tool where you can have one to one conversations with customers and get feedback on products and services instantly. It is also a great place to build up a long-term relationship with your audience, offer them more value and in exchange increase the life time value (LTV) of a consumer.
This post will focus on some of the foundations that every brand needs to get right as well as trying to clarify what success looks like when using social media.
If you want social media to work for you, then there is much more to think about and test than is detailed here, but this is a good start.
Set it up properly
I can’t tell you how many social profiles I have seen that don’t look quite right. There are a few things you should do immediately. Make sure your profile information is complete. Descriptions, website links, location, opening times. Don’t leave any blank spaces unless they are really not applicable.
Also, make sure you have all of your images (cover photo’s profile pictures) etc. up and also ensure you have used the correct dimensions. You can find all of these with a quick Google Search.
Stop thinking of social as something you do on the fly. There are occasions when jumping on a trend can help you with reach and engagement and live content can work really well but in the large part, you need to plan. For the majority of my clients, I tend to plan content anywhere from one week to one month in advance. This gives me the opportunity to put more thought into the content that is being written and also plan new content based on what has worked well in the past. Planning should involve having a calendar and next to each date putting the content of your posts, the date and time you are going to post and what images you are going to use for each post
If you are doing something that is unplanned e.g. jumping on a trend, make sure you are not shoehorning it into you strategy purely because you think it might get you more reach. If the trend is related to your business or you have an original point of view that your audience might like then go for it. If you feel like you are forcing things to make it work for you, then you might be better off leaving it alone.
Once you have everything planned, you should schedule your posts in advance. Posting on a day to day basis can take up a lot of time and brain power. taking a couple of hours to schedule a months worth of posts means you don’t have to worry about remembering to post in the next 4 week. It also leaves you free to start optimising advertising and targeting on your current and future posts.
There are plenty of good scheduling tools out there that will allow you to plan posts across multiple platforms. Hootsuite is one example, however, Facebook and Twitter allow you to schedule posts on the platforms directly.
Even some of the big brands are still looking at social media as a way to advertise to their audience without extra cost. This is not true. Facebook specifically is now essentially a paid platform for brands. Facebook have actively changed their algorithm to restrict the reach that a brand has on their page to drive and drive people to use their advertising platform. On a good day, organically, you can only hope to reach about 10% of your audience.
A basic way to increase your reach and engagement is to apply a boost to your posts. The simplest way to do this is to decide on how much budget you want to apply to social on a monthly basis and divide that budget by the number of posts you have scheduled. You can then apply a boost to each of your scheduled posts.
When you are boosting posts or creating an ad on a social network, boosting randomly may get you a higher reach but it won’t always get you better engagement. If your posts are well thought out, good quality and informative/entertaining, it probably means that you are not reaching the right people. Targeting requires you to think about who your audience is i.e. the people who may be interested in your chosen subject, product or service.
In Facebook you can create an audience based on a variety of factors including; behaviour, interests, demographic, gender, job title and much more. Create an audience that isn’t too broad and is likely to include people interested in your subject matter and choose this audience as your targeting when creating a boost or ad.
Like all things in the world of digital marketing, your social media strategy should never be a finished thing. You should constantly be looking at what works and what doesn’t and optimising your content and targeting based on that data.
If a specific type of post of targeting work well, then try to create more posts that are similar and see if they continue to work well. Look at the type of people who are following you and social and try to establish what they might be interested in. Keep trying to make your content better and lose the stuff that doesn’t work well.
The above should give you a pretty solid start on social. There are other things to think about and more specific strategies that you can start to use on specific platforms. I have focussed a lot on Facebook here because, from a brand perspective I have seen lots of good results from this platform. Depending on your industry, twitter can also work well although I tend to avoid putting paid efforts into twitter as the results are never great.
Instagram also offers great results in terms of engagement. A lot of this can be managed through Facebook, specifically ads and boosts which can be extended to Instagram directly from the Facebook platform. You should also plan organic content for Instagram and take advantage of the story feature where you can.
Snapchat has the potential to offer great returns but, I would recommend building an audience elsewhere first and then driving people to snapchat. As the platform develops further, there will almost certainly be greater capabilities for brands.
The essence of all of this, it to create consistent engaging content and where you can, drive people to your owned media such as your website where you can collect data and start to remarket to people in different ways. Try to keep your social feed clean and dedicated to offering value. If you want to push products or services, try to reserve this for ads that will only appear to people who meet your criteria.
If you have any questions about your social media, leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer.