Social media. It’s easy. Tap a few sentences into Twitter, share a cat pic, broadcast a link, Facebook, retweet, LinkedIn, piece of cake right?
Right. And yet so very wrong.
Having been tweeting since millennials were just eight years old, we’ve been there, seen that, done it and got the t-shirt. [Seriously, we actually have the t-shirts! – Ed]
Social media IS easy. Anyone can set up an account and just throw out and regurgitate stuff on whichever platform they choose. But getting it right, actually doing social media right, is both an art-form and a science.
So how do you get actually get social media right?
1. What’s the Best Social Media Tool?
This may seem an odd question to start with. But, to so many people it’s all about the tools. Just like wannabe web designers ask about Dreamweaver first and not HTML. What’s the best social media tool? Hootsuite? Tweetdeck? Buffer?
No. It’s your brain. Use it. Use it first, everything else follows.
And secondly, let’s make this very clear: tools do not make you a whizz at social media. Knowledge and experience do and you need to learn, learn well and learn fast!
So, first and foremost, THINK!
Think about your brand, think about what values you want to convey.
Think about your tone of voice.
Think about the messages your audience might expect from you.
Think about which channels your potential customers are on, think about what your competitors and suppliers will see.
So your brain is the most valuable social media tool you have. Use it and be clever about your social messaging, tactics and strategy.
2. What’s the Second Best Social Media Tool?
Trick question, right? This time it’s got to be Hootsuite!
No, it’s Tweetdeck, yes?
Nope. It’s quite simple: A command of the English language. Sending out social media posts littered with typos, grammatical errors, incorrect capitalisation etc. will damage your reputation and your brand. If you can’t get something as simple as written English right then what are you going to be like with the rest of your services? It’s not just your target audience who will see any errors but potentially the whole internet. And you really don’t want to be fluffing your lines on the world stage do you?
Be clever. Be accurate.
Craft your messages using your English language skills. And if you’re not 100% confident of your ability, get help from a colleague who has those skills, or learn them yourself. The term “Grammar Nazi” may have many negative connotations, but in the world of having potentially millions of people seeing your message, the language police are your best friend.
Assume your social media posts are going into print or being written in stone because, even though social media can seem transient, screen-grabs of your mistakes are not.
Anyone running your social media accounts is a brand ambassador. As such they must speak clearly, communicate correctly and in the right tone of voice for your brand.
So if you want to be seen to be clever and articulate then actually BE clever and articulate. Watch your capitalisation, watch your sentence structure, keep an eye on your spelling and you’ll be just fine.
3. Take Your Time
Hold fire. You’ve used your brain and finely-honed English language skills to craft a beautifully-written tweet or post. You saw something that you really liked and you’re just about to re-post, re-tweet, share it: Do you press send straight away?
As the old military saying goes “Put brain into gear before engaging mouth”.
Social media history is littered with examples of people who just don’t get this simple concept. The biggest and most high profile social media rule breaker is the current U.S. President who has been bad-mouthing opponents, making racist, misogynistic and derogatory comments, re-posting questionable and unreliable sources yet accuses others of doing what he is guilty of. We very much doubt you are going to be that level of awful.
But even saying things that are incorrect, mis-spelt, irrelevant or misleading are not going to do you any favours. So take your time when you devise and craft messages.
And even when you think you’re ready to “hit send” just sit back and take a look at what you’re about to broadcast to the world…
Is it on brand? Is the tone of voice right? Is there a meaningful message? Will users enjoy what you just said? Will there be an action? A reaction? Does it serve a purpose? Does it pass the “so what?” test? Did you just say something but there’s no link to your website or service? Why would you do that?!
You may be under pressure to create and broadcast regular social media but don’t let the pressure get to you. Remind your superiors that you need to take your time and the quality of your social media activity will show that taking time is a worthwhile step.
4. Map It All Out
Now that your brain is in gear, you have your brand guidelines to adhere to, your tone of voice all sorted and you’ve got your William Shakespeare hat on ready to tweet with the eloquence of a professional journalist…
…it’s time to map out your posts.
You need to plan your goals. Do you want to create brand awareness? Do you want to drive traffic to your website? Do you want to create leads? Convert visitors into customers? Or do you just want to share, entertain, socialise, inform? Maybe you’ll want to do all of these things?
This is where you’ll map out how much of each thing you want to do.
Let’s say you have a news feed that pumps out a story or two every day. You have a blog post written and published once a week. Product launches happen roughly once a month.
Do you have any old content that is still totally relevant? Evergreen content that can be used again because you didn’t shackle yourself with a time constraint? Then use it. Take a look at the content on your website and see the wealth of information that you can share with your audience.
This is a great starting point to see the landscape over a week, a month, a quarter or more.
Think ahead… are there any seasonal times when your messages will align with the time of year? Christmas greetings, Easter campaigns, New Year messages, holiday offers? Are there any events in the calendar of your industry or your customers’ industries?
What hashtags will you use? Are they the right ones for where your audience hang out?
Put this all in a spreadsheet and have your team go through it with you. They’ll spot any typos, adjust the messaging, keep you honest and be your quality assurance team.
5. Look at the Data and Adjust Accordingly
There’s an old saying that “You can’t adjust the wind but you can adjust your sail.”
In social media this means looking at your results and being honest about what works and what doesn’t. You want to do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. But if the messages that don’t seem to work because they have a high number of views but no engagement – they could still be useful for brand awareness.
Did you get really great engagement out of something unexpected? Was it the cat pics? Do you really want to post more of those?
Also look at the time when you post. Does this need to change? What if you post more often? Will you get double the amount of traffic to your website if you post twice as often?
We’re well aware we’ve been asking a lot of questions but only you have the answers. Every brand, every business, every social media account is different and you should reflect that in whatever you say.
Stand out from your competition by showing why you are so different from “all the others”.
Connect with your customers by showing them why they should come to you.
Use all the analytical data at your disposal to generate more of the appealing content for your social media channels. And don’t stop with the usual Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn data but use your Google Analytics and Search Console data too. It’s well worth it.
If you don’t have the time or expertise to get your head around the myriad of things you need to do to run a successful social media campaign then give us a call.
We’re on 01276 534 680.
Alternatively fill in our easy contact form or use the chat box to let us know what you need help with.