You’ve probably been told enough times by now that you need to get your business onto socials.
But ‘it’s so much effort’, and ‘how am I going to keep it going’, and ‘I don’t have enough to post’, and ‘who’s really going to be interested anyway’… Right?
So we’re going to simplify social media to explain why it’s worth every bit of effort – when done right.
The benefits of social media for your business
- It can boost your brand awareness and brand identity.
- It humanises your brand in a way that engenders trust from your audience and potential customer base.
- If you have a website, it is another great way to drive traffic not only to your website, but to specific pages on your website.
- It creates customer engagement, involving customers and making them feel heard.
- Apart from being a means to keep your current customers up to date, social media can also generate new leads for your company by means of paid and targeted ads, and from shared posts.
- It is a great source for honest testimonials, because social media makes it very easy for customers to review your business and products. You can share this user-generated content (UGC) as a way to fill up your content calendar and to add a certain level of authority to your brand.
How to do it right
Everything starts with a plan! Although you can start a social media page at no cost, that doesn’t mean you should jump in without a solid strategy and some tangible goals.
Take some tips on where to start your strategy in our Haystack How-To: Get your digital marketing strategy together for 2021.
2. Pick your platform
Based on the goals you’ve outlined, choose the right platform (or platforms) for you. The type of content you put out will be based on the type of social media platform you have to work with. But bear in mind, each one requires a different strategy.
- Facebook – the biggest social media platform; has the cheapest paid advertising options; allows for longer posts, mixed media, live streaming, managing of events; easy to share relevant posts, links and news from other pages.
- Instagram – image-focused; good for showcasing products or company culture in an aesthetically pleasing way; allows for live streaming, interactive stories and polls, as well as ‘Reels’ (great for easy video content without the need for a YouTube channel).
- Twitter – short, real-time commentary; fast-paced and up-to-date; offers one-on-one interactions.
- YouTube – second-biggest search engine after Google; can be used for targeted ads played before or during videos or as entertaining and informational videos relevant to your brand.
- WhatsApp – can showcase product catalogues; allows for quick, detailed responses (both automated and not).
3. Analyse the competitor
Look up competitor social media pages for comparison. By seeing what similar businesses are doing, you can make sure that your strategy and posts will be original and you’ll get an idea of what audiences respond well to. You can even look at businesses in other industries for further inspiration and to help you think out of the box.
4. Create a content strategy calendar
A monthly content calendar takes away the overwhelming pressure of what to post next. And by planning a month’s worth of posts in advance, you can schedule it all at once, too.
When coming up with content for posts for a whole month, use the 80/20 rule. Use 80% of your content to inform, educate, or entertain your audience; and use the other 20% to promote your brand or sell your products. This way, your audience will be more engaged and will develop a level of trust in your brand.
A business without consistency can only ever be a business – it cannot be a brand.
Finalise your brand colours and ensure consistency of aesthetics, fonts, and other social media-specific things throughout your posts. This is also easier to do when working on a monthly content calendar, as opposed to creating posts one-by-one.
And speaking of consistency, your tone is especially important. Not only does the tone need to be consistent throughout your posts so that your audience doesn’t feel like a different person has written each one, but your tone on social media also needs to match your tone in person when dealing with customers. There’s nothing worse than friendly social media correspondence followed by deadpan customer service in-store.
6. Check, check, and check again!
Proofread and check everything for grammar, spelling and punctuation errors, for tone-deaf current affair commentary, and for embarrassing mix-ups with posting on the business account instead of a personal account. Although it is easy to delete (and sometimes edit) posts once they go live, these mistakes can still badly damage your brand’s credibility.
7. Keep your finger on the pulse
Stay up to date with the latest features on your chosen social media platform, as well as on the trends that its users are engaging in. Doing this keeps your brand relevant and exciting.
Your online presence is your new business card. So now, while no one wants to touch anything unless there’s enough sanitiser to go around, why not ditch the business cards altogether and go digital?