Top Tips, Tricks and Tools for Social Media Success
Updated: Mar 12, 2020
Social media has transformed the way businesses operate digitally. However, it can feel overwhelming for small and new businesses to begin their social journey; especially when there is a common misconception that online success is measured through the number of followers and likes a brand has.
Through its real-time capabilities to connect with fans and potential customers, social media has proven its unprecedented success and importance to a business’s online and digital strategy. If you are yet to establish your social presence, your brand is missing out on connecting with an audience that is prepared and willing to communicate and connect with your business, which later converts to actual sales and loyal customers.
These tips and tricks will help kick-start your social journey and keep you on-track, once you better understand your audience:
1. Create a plan
The saying ‘failure to plan means you plan to fail’ resonates at this point of the journey. Every good business strategy has a plan of action and social media is no different.
Without a plan, how can you understand your aim and measure your return on investment? By allocating time to create a social media plan you can ensure all your social efforts support and meet specific business goals.
To create a social media marketing plan, you need to:
Set social media goals and objectives – using the SMART framework (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely)
Conduct a competitive analysis and social listening strategies: what are the conversations happening around your brand or industry?
Carry out a social media audit: what is the current state of your social media profiles?
Find inspiration from other businesses: competitor and industry research to identify what sentiments are valued.
Create a social media calendar for each month in advance, to prepare for trending topics, upcoming events or national holidays etc
2. Pick the perfect platforms
Do you know exactly where can you find your audience? It is imperative you understand where your customers are spending the most time online, so you know where is best to target and engage with them most effectively.
It is likely your consumers use the Big 4 social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest & Linked In) but keep in mind that different channels attract different demographics, so you may not find Gen Z and Baby Boomers in the same social space. Pick the perfect platforms that will reach your audience, not everyone.
3. Know and understand your audience
Before you can target your audience, you must understand them. Through collecting data on your current customers, you can build a picture of those who are buying from you and interacting with you online. Therefore you are better able to revisit social media plans to include ways to reach more people like them, and personalise your offers to appeal directly to your audience’s desires.
Find out what your customers watch in their spare time, where they live, their annual income, shared hobbies and interests, what they buy, what stage of life they are at and all the relevant information to provide a conclusive description.
4. Build your relationships
The beauty of social media is its real-time power, where businesses and brands are able to talk directly to customers (and followers) to create and build relationships over time. A report from Twitter (2018) shows that 93% of people who follow small and medium-sized business on Twitter plan to purchase from the SMEs they follow. This is promisingly high, but the key driver of this is active engagement.
As people engage with your posts and content, you can intercept and help build trust, loyalty and familiarity from the early stages of a rewarding customer relationship by responding to comments, offering valuable advice and even reposting user generated content directly related to the brand. You can also do this by creating Facebook groups (a growing trend) to build connections, trust and relationships with others in a wider circle. These groups have the power to create 'brand champions', who are actively empowered by the brand and share positive brand experiences.
It is important to remember that whilst you may have many happy customers, you may have a few very unhappy ones or Internet trolls, who could damage the online image of your business. The way you publicly deal with negative comments reflects your business, so first try to relieve the customer’s stress by offering them an alternative option and redirect the conversation to private messaging. If the customer persists to be negative, it may be best to take it offline by removing the comments.
5. Expand to reach new audiences
First, dominate your original target market. Next, use savvy social tools to expand your reach to new audiences.
Using Facebook targeting, you can find new potential customers who have shown interest in the broader business idea and drive these new customers to your business. Hootsuite geo-search streams can also help you monitor and respond to any conversations happening locally online around your business, whilst building relationships with other local businesses in your area can expose you to more consumers.
6. Content is King
The nature of social media demands a compelling, visual component whether that is through videos, photos, GIFS or infographics. People are more likely to engage with Tweets that have an element of visual content, according to Twitter’s internal data.
Online experiences promote offline action, as Stackla (2019) found around 57% of millennials made travel plans or visited a restaurant based on an image or video a friend shared on social. When brands create shareable content or experiences for consumers, it not only promotes the business but also shows the positive endorsement from customers who shout about it!
Visual-first networks including Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat demand good, high-quality content. If your posts are irrelevant, off-brand and unattractive, then no one will stop scrolling to see what you have to say.
Interesting and informative imagery in social posts are proven to increase engagement, however user generated content (UGC) has shown to perform better at influencing consumer purchase decisions. The visual content published by a brand represent them in all aspects, so it’s critical to use this to your advantage to further prove your worth and value from different perspectives.
7. Quality over quantity
Social media may be used by everyone, every day, everywhere – but this does not mean you need to do it all! Creating quality content on the key channels where you can really connect and resonate with your audience is more important than having a presence across every single social network.
A key point to remember is social media marketing is largely based on building relationships and emotional connection, through relating to your audience. It is essential that your social posts offer value and insight and are not just promotion-led, otherwise there is little reason for people to follow you. Consumers now demand more from brands and want them to be relevant, relatable and real.
Be authentic, be human and you will be remembered.
8. Know your tools
Social media success comes from the tools used to automate, simplify and research, which actually do most of the work. There is a whole host of different tools to help improve productivity and effectiveness, so that you can spend more time analysing these results and putting plans into action. All of these tools offer a free option plan for you to make use of the services without paying a monthly fee.
Engagement management: use a platform which centralises all social communications, such as Hootsuite, Laterr or Planable, so that you can stay logged in to one site and still access all of your social channels.
Analytics: To track and measure ROI and picture your social efforts. Brandwatch, Hootsuite Insights and the analytics available within each social network all offer click-through, impressions and engagement rates and much more to help you understand what was and was not successful.
Content Curation: Using sites such as BuzzSumo, BeFunky or Canva can help to inspire you with relevant and top-performing content to post based on topic or competitor and provide templates to design social posts and graphics. Giphy is the go-to platform for selecting gifs.
9. Schedule content so that engagement can thrive
Utilising a social media calendar is important, so we wanted to mention it again. Planning in advance will allow your social posts to be automatically published, whilst you can focus on social engagement. Hootsuite is a fantastic social media scheduling tool which you can use across most social media networks to plan content for up to weeks or months ahead. Using this application will ensure you won’t miss out key dates for your business, and you can mark out and identify promotion opportunities including national holidays, upcoming social trends and more.
It’s wise to dedicate some time aside to solely curate content and social media scheduling, so that it doesn’t distract from other tasks throughout the week and you can keep on top of engagement and interaction.
10. Track, assess and refine
As you implement and activate your social strategy, its vital to keep track of what is and is not working so that you can tailor your efforts to improve the results. The social tools already mentioned offer a conclusive picture of your social efforts and helps management of metrics that matter to your business.
An effective way to integrate small changes to identify successful methods on social media is through A/B testing, where you can recognise what performs best with your audience and roll out the best performing campaigns. Staying consistent to identify what posts perform best is critical to remain relevant and in the mind of your customer.
Irrespective of the size of your business, social tools can help you reach your audience on a more personal level, as well as reach new potential customers and increase brand awareness through better understanding of your consumer’s behaviour and preferences. You don’t need to implement hundreds of ideas across all social networks immediately, but instead start small and focused and grow by building your social media marketing efforts over time. Soon you’ll see the results and will gage how to use social effectively to benefit your business.
Associate Events is a full-service agency specialising in complete and professional cross-section of creative event, production, public relations and brand management solutions to brands and businesses. We manage multiple social media accounts for clients of all sizes and in a range of sectors, across the country. If you would like more information on how we can help improve your social media presence, get in touch with us on 0116 464 5995 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org.