You’ll know by now that making your digital channel a success is about so much more than building a website. Social media has brought brands and consumers closer together than ever before – your audience now has access to multiple new touch-points with you, providing more opportunities to build up meaningful and profitable relationships. Led by Facebook, the number of social networks has grown considerably in recent years. A study by Search Engine Journal found that 93% of marketers now use social media for business. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr… Should you be using all of them? How do you retain your brand identity across all of these disparate platforms, and what should you post where? The world of social media is complex and ever-changing, so here are five easy ways to integrate your digital marketing efforts across all of your social channels.
If you’ve invested in and produced great content, it’s tempting to rush in and post it all at once on your social media channels. But it’s worth putting in some planning and strategy beforehand. Firstly, ask yourself; why am I using social media? Is it to gain new fans, reward existing ones, or both? Your end goal will ultimately define the kind of content you’re posting, as well as the calls to action you’re putting forward. It’s also important to apply your brand guidelines on social platforms. Social media may be new and fairly informal, however it’s no less important to regulate your tone of voice on this channel than in your email or direct mail. Think about the content you post, how you deliver it, and how that relates to your brand. Your business might have a voice that’s fun and colloquial, or one that’s more informative and straight talking; either way, it needs to be genuine and appropriate. Once you’ve chosen your tone of voice, stick to it across channels to form a cohesive identity. Make sure that no matter what platform you’re using, an audience knows it’s you they’re talking to. Great examples of distinctive tone of voice include Modcloth and Innocent.
Social media is easy; you simply post identical content across all platforms, right? Duplicating your content might get that message out to more people, but you’re also missing out on potential opportunities. While, as discussed above, it’s important to keep your tone of voice consistent to represent your brand and create a solid and recognisable identity, it’s also essential to consider the individual potential each platform offers. This might have to do with demographic, limitations and varying content types. For example, Twitter moves quickly, which makes it ideal for posting rapid updates you accept won’t stay in people’s newsfeeds for long. If you want to leave more of a lasting impression, such as the announcement of a massive product launch or a great new testimonial, Facebook might be your best bet. Facebook also allows you to post galleries of images, which your users can flick through at their leisure. You’ll also need to consider which platforms are right for your brand. For example, if you provide computer software consultancy and your content output is mostly instructive and informative, Instagram might not be the not be best arena in which to showcase it.
Not everyone uses the same platforms and, equally, not everyone uses them in the same way. Distributing content across platforms allows you to access different pockets of customers on their own terms, in a space that is familiar to them. Some people love creating inspirational boards on Pinterest, while others might like to scroll through hundreds of tweets on their way to work. Creating different content for each type of customer helps you to build strength in each area, contributing to a larger community across all channels. You can then bring this community into your website and ultimately, into your brand.
Having many different groups of consumers also offers you options for cross-promotion, also known as “cross-pollinating”. Use one social channel to promote another and build followers in both areas through linking and sharing. Instagram, for example, offers publishing options across platforms like Facebook and Twitter, allowing you to use the same content, just in a different way. Keep your content balanced by also linking out to other third party websites so your social output doesn’t become a constant sales pitch.
The truth is, you don’t know which type of content is going to work best on one platform until you’ve tried it, which is why you should continually measure the performance of your social posts in terms of re-tweets, shares, impressions and overall reach. Tracking these key metrics will help inform your strategy for the future. By listening to and engaging with your audience, you will be able to build a responsive community that not only talks to you but to other social media users, too– acting as positive advocates for your brand.