Social media. Some people are nailing it, some people are really not sure how it works. Some people say they don’t touch it because it’s a vile thing.
Social media is inanimate. Human beings are the success and the failure of social media.
You are going to be the success of your social media channels.
When you think of social media, how many platforms can you name?
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat? Not bad. These platforms are where you’ll really catch people expressing themselves. Posting selfies and linking to their blogs. Talking about sports and letting us know when they’ve been to the loo.
But what about Reddit, Quora, Medium, and Pinterest? All great places to share thought-provoking content and have conversations about topics concerning business, television, film, music, books, academia, and a whole lot more.
What about LinkedIn, the place you need to go if you’re a business, a recruiter, or a person trying to find a job–to make your skills and experience as appealing as possible to prospective employers?
What about YouTube? The leviathan of video content. Guides, music videos, interviews, stories–YouTube is one of the greatest libraries of human activity ever built.
Here are eight tips to grow your business using social media.
Always put your audience first
Profundity is at a premium, so don’t go sharing that never-before-seen pearl of wisdom elsewhere. It’s yours.
When you’re constructing a post for social media, there are numerous components:
- The opening line/question.
- The story you want to share in your post, that is going to lead to a call-to-action.
- The images or video you’re posting.
- Any weblinks you plan to include.
Now, who do you need to make sure gets the most benefit out of every single component on that list?
If your answer is anything other than my target audience, you’re wrong.
Whether you’re trying to get people to click through to your blog; or trying to sell your mind-blowing product or services; or you just want people to engage with the question you’ve asked, it’s not going to engage your audience if it doesn’t arouse your audience’s attention.
We rarely engage with much when we’re apathetic, tired, or indifferent, so don’t let any of those moods infect your campaigns or your posts. Target emotions that make people act: curiosity, generosity, anger, elation, desire.
Don’t be a part time social media-er
When you create your company’s Twitter profile, you have zero followers.
When you design your company’s Instagram profile, you have zero followers.
When your YouTube channel finally goes live, guess how many subscribers you have at the beginning?
You have to dedicate time to growing a social media channel. This requires a lot of effort, and a lot of work, and a lot of perseverance. So, what can you do?
These are things you can do.
Identify your audience when you begin, and always be ready to adapt your audience as the platform grows or your business evolves.
Before you create your profile for a specific platform, you’re going to research lots of your competitors. So, make a list of at least five competitors. Ten would be better. 20 would give you an eternal spring of information.
If you think you’re a unique company with a product nobody’s seen, or a blog that covers unchartered territory, think again. Climb out of your echo chamber and into the bright and scorching world where millions of blog posts go live every week.
Make a list of all the topics your competitors are writing about, asking questions about, posting images about, videos about. Where are the links they share leading to? Are they interviewing industry leaders? Are they sharing podcasts?
Which posts are your community engaging with your competitors on?
If you’re serious about social media for your business, you should be reviewing at least five competitors’ content and posts every single day. Which means you need to manage your time efficiently.
So you can create your profile now, right? NOPE.
It’s time to design your content calendar. You’re going to be active at least five days a week, because you want to succeed. So, how often are you going to post the new blog that’s live on your website?
How often are you going to write a post that shares a hot news story focusing on your industry?
How often are you going to post about the goings-on of your workplace? This last one is a great tactic for bringing a human image to your business. Treating the workforce to pizza on Friday? Then take photos and get a hashtag and get on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Twitter. You don’t need to invent an original hashtag, just think of something obvious and check it’s got traffic, like #pizzaatwork #fridaytreat — and more. Being transparent about your social media activity with your staff will help you to formulate your social media policy.
Plan your calendar at least four weeks in advance, with at least one post to go live on each platform per day. But be flexible, and ready to jump on hot topics or something you want to share that wasn’t in your schedule.
You’ve got a story to tell, so tell it
Stories are the big feature every platform wants to offer right now. A function easily locatable on the main page of your feed, a profile’s story is a package of posts, ranging from one to more than a dozen, of short video clips or still images, with sound and text.
They can be related, or different. But the important thing is that they’re all together. And they’re accessible at the click of one button, rather than 15 minutes of scrolling.
Remember each platform is different
What works on to grow your Twitter following won’t necessarily succeed on LinkedIn. And of course, since Twitter is limited to 280 characters in a tweet, a lengthy story contemplating the effects of industry changes, before your sly call-to-action, is better suited elsewhere.
Use your platforms in tandem, not in competition
Each platform is going to grow at different rates, because different segments of your audience will be active on different channels, for different amounts of time and for different purposes. You’ll also have teething periods with each platform while you figure out what works for your channel. When you add your next YouTube video, make sure you’re posting a Facebook update. When you publish your next blog post, let your Instagram followers know.
Hashtag the hashtag out of your posts
Well, not quite. But hashtags are a search mechanism to index as much of the world’s posts as possible. If you want people to find your article about a vague literary author who wrote one masterpiece novel and nothing else, then hashtag their name. And, if you do go ahead and treat the office to pizza on Friday, remember #FridayTreat.
Get social media icons on your website
And make sure the links work. Top of your homepage, on your navigation bar. No compromises. You want your visitors to click on these? Then they need to be easy to spot.
Measure your success and evolve
You analysed your competitors to see where they were succeeding, so of course, you’re going to do this for your own posts and content. You want to record likes, comments, shares, and even the time of day that you posted. Try to find connections between the successful posts and the unsuccessful posts.
Now get out there, and start analysing your competitors.