It’s all about engaging with your audience
When scrolling through your various newsfeeds, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, how many company messages stick out amongst the baby photos, selfies, news articles and How-To videos? You'll probably notice some familiar brands popping up now and again, usually trying to sell you something you quite probably need and most likely want. You might even give some adverts a watch, click through an image gallery, and maybe go as far as to press the "like" button (though this action is actually relatively rare, with the average Facebook user only "liking" ten posts per month, making four comments and clicking on eight ads during this same time). Did you notice posts pop up from all of the brands you follow? Unlikely. Did you see posts from the brands you've previously engaged with? Very likely. Social media shows you what it thinks you want to see, and that decision is based on your previous interaction with it.
When you are trying to market your business on social media, your primary attention should be focused solely on engagement. Engaging content is the only content worth putting up on social media because, without engagement, social media platforms won't deem your content worthy enough for people to see. Of course, we're talking about 'organic' advertising here, that’s posts without paid-for boosting that are pushed to people's newsfeeds by algorithms too complex for anyone to crack. Paid-for advertising is the only way to guarantee that your voice gets heard in this overpopulated, heavily saturated, digital space unless your organic posts are encouraging massive engagement. However, don't think that pumping thousands of pounds into adverts is the easy solution, if they're not optimised to convert, if there isn't a strategy behind their placement then it's likely they'll fall flat, and you stand to lose a lot of money!
Back to engagement, a KPI that's judged differently platform to platform, person to person. You need to figure out what your target audience will find engaging, and this will differ enormously depending on your market. Ultimately, your customers will be 'following' you because they believe there's something in it for them. This could be because they're on the lookout for your next big deal, a new offering, they find your content humorous, or perhaps they are so sold on your brand they just want to signal their support. However, whoever your audience is, it's likely that they're not going to want to hear from you non-stop around the clock. Push too hard, and you'll see engagement rates fall. Push too little, and you won't have an audience to engage with.
Engagement works both ways. Users will engage with you and your content through "liking", "sharing", "commenting" and "tagging" but no one wants to feel like they're talking into the void. To really encourage engagement, you need to re engage back with your customer base. You should be responding to comments, acknowledging requests, sharing user-generated content and keeping your finger on the pulse of your page. If people know they might receive a response the likelihood of them initiating engagement greatly increases. As well as checking in with your followers you need to be paying regular attention to your insights and analytics to keep tabs on which of your posts are doing particularly well, what times your followers are interacting with your page, who of these are most active, and your general page demographics. With this overview, you can hone your content so it hits the spot (almost) every time.
What type of content should you be posting?
It's important to understand that social media is a unique form of advertising that's still in its infancy, it's as different as television advertising is to radio. Think of it as a form of advertising by proxy. People don't log on to social media to consume ads, in the same way, no one's asking for more adverts to play in the cinema or for there to be more full page spreads squeezed into their magazines. You need to limit the self-promotional posts and instead focus on pushing out content that gives people a reason to stick around. No one likes being advertised to, we are all aware of it happening, we accept it as part of modern-day life, but people are only willing to put up with you if you play fair. Share fun, relevant and informative content and people will come to you when it's time to buy. Think about using social media as a way of demonstrating your thought-leadership qualities in your industry instead of as a billboard shouting your advertising message over and over again.
So what content should you be posting? Well, again, it depends on who you are. All we can say is that regardless of who you are, visual content works best and when in doubt, it's hard to go wrong with video if you are looking to stand out and grab the attention of mindless scrollers. There are three billion active users on social media, a vast segment of the world's population who could potentially become new customers for you. You need to be fighting for their attention.
Google My Business, a free, easy-to-use tool for businesses that you should be taking full advantage of!
Attention, engagement, they're intrinsically linked. However, once you've caught someone's attention, you're opening yourself up for scrutiny, so you better make sure you're looking presentable. As with everything, first impressions count. Where will the majority of people first encounter your web presence? It will be through Google, where 70% of search traffic is funnelled. Google has gifted you some handy tools for making yourself presentable and "Google friendly". You need to make Google's life easier for them to do the same for you. Google My Business allows you to claim your piece of Google's internet real estate. Make sure to complete every section, be detailed and precise and put up updated photos regularly. If anyone asks a question, make sure to answer it promptly, respond to reviews both positive and negative and tend to your profile regularly. This is the first step towards making your business Google-friendly. You're looking to signal to consumers that your business is not only trustworthy but active. If you are primarily a bricks and mortar shop, then people will still look to the web to find your opening hours and your location. If there's any doubt about whether you're open and ready for business, then people might decide to patronise somewhere else. Google wants to show people the most relevant information for their search query, and they don't want to lose face, so make sure you keep this in mind.
What is the best social media platform for your business?
Of course, Google isn't the only place you're going to want to implement your marketing strategy. The standard approach of a business that's new to digital marketing is to build up a presence on all of the social media platforms, but this does have its downsides. Different platforms prefer different forms of content; your video which went down a storm on Facebook won't necessarily belong on LinkedIn and won't be watched on Twitter. Your text post announcing your latest deal won't translate well to YouTube, and your market might be too old for Instagram. Rather than waste your energy halfheartedly pushing out content on all platforms, instead find the platform that works best for your product and service and stick with that and do it properly.
As with all marketing, it's near impossible to advise on a one-size-fits-all approach which is why ultimately the best thing you could do for your business is to hire an in-house marketeer or work with an external agency. Marketing demands respect and time, but when appropriately used, the internet can be an excellent source of leads with its uniquely tailorable audience, the likes of which marketeers have never had access to before. However, unlike traditional forms of advertising, digital advertising requires two-way communication, more often the need for damage control, and the potential for massive draining of budgets with no return if not navigated carefully.
Don’t fall behind. Make sure your brand takes advantage of the powerful business tools available in 2021. If you need help adapting your strategy, honing your voice or constructing a digital marketing plan that works for the future of your company, then get in touch with us today. If you fancy a free 30 minute 1-2-1 social media workshop, Air Social’s Social Media Surgeries are just what you’ve been looking for.