1. Pick your platforms
It can be really tempting to create a big social media plan that covers all platforms – that’s what you’re meant to do right? Be present, everywhere? In some cases that could be true, but it’s often better to start small, prioritise platforms, create quality content and then scale up over time.
When choosing which platforms to start with there are a few important things to consider. Firstly, who is your target audience and which platforms do they use most? Finding the platforms your potential customers use most, is an efficient way to prioritise or completely eliminate some platforms. Secondly, what is your product? Not only are different products better suited to different platforms, but the platforms themselves have their own unique selling points. Instagram is home to beautiful images, while LinkedIn ads allow you to target people based on their job and their place of employment. What would work best for your business?
Picking one or two platforms to focus on makes it easier for you to stay on track, create good quality content, and not to spread your time or spend too thin. And don’t fret, you can always add more over time!
2. Set social media goals and strategy
Ask yourself, what do I want to gain from using social media? Social media can boost your business in a myriad of ways, from increasing brand awareness, to driving traffic to your website, or even increasing engagement with customers.
When you know what you want to achieve, it’s easier to set SMART goals – these are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic & time-bound. An example could be “to increase the engagement with Instagram stories by 5% over the course of the next 3 months”. The next question, how do I achieve this?
That’s where strategy comes in. A strategy should (in short) contain three components: what you’re going to do, how often you’re going to do it, and the resources required. Using the above example of increasing engagement with Instagram stories, the strategy could be to utilise features such as question boxes, polls, and quizzes, at least three times a week. To complete this requires time to produce content and to answer questions and messages etc.
An important requirement to factor in, is budget. Although the platforms themselves are free of charge, reaching more of your potential customers or driving more traffic to your site, will require some budget allocation. You could make a start by selecting a few posts, make adds with a smaller amount of money and follow the performance closely – then you can learn from this and make adjustments.
As with prioritising platforms, the key is to start on a smaller scale with just a few focused goals. Having several goals – and in turn strategies – can be harder to execute. Start by sticking to one or two goals per platform and perhaps consider shorter timeframes if you’re interested in exploring various options and testing what works. Remember – you can always build it up.
Social media can boost your business in a myriad of ways, from increasing brand awareness, to driving traffic to your website, or even increasing engagement with customers.
3. Create clever content
First and foremost, let your goals and strategy define your content. Rather than creating content and then trying to fit it into your strategy, flipping the process can increase the coherence in your content.
Formats vary from one platform to the next. And different formats work well for different purposes. For example, to direct traffic to your website from Facebook, you could use their LinkAd format, which includes a Call-to-Action button. But if your aim is to increase organic engagement on Instagram you could consider how using stories, hashtags and competitions can help you with this.
When you’ve chosen some formats, it’s time to get creative! With the average attention span on social media at around 1 second, being eye catching is key and it’s also important that your message is easy to understand at first glance.
There are many content options such as still images, video and GIF to name but a few. So how do you choose? Moving images can capture attention, but so can bright colours and fonts. You needn’t limit yourself to one type but do make sure that you maintain a visual style, so that your posts are recognisable. This can be done with the use of logos, fonts or specific colour tones in pictures. The same goes for tone of voice, keeping your writing style consistent distinguishes your business as the author.
Another thing to consider is how your target audience will view and respond to your content. 85% of people look at Instagram and Facebook with the sound off, so adding closed captions or text overlays to your video, makes it accessible to an audience you may otherwise have lost. Win!
4. Planning and scheduling
Planning may seem obvious in most aspects of business (and life), but it certainly should not be forgotten in social media. Although you can’t plan for everything, a lot of your content can be planned in advance to ensure a coherence in your feed, and relevant timing.
When it comes to planning social media, it can be a good idea to grab a calendar, 2021 for example, and plot in all notable holidays and specific festive days in your country, as well as notable dates or timings for your business. This will give you an idea of which timely and relevant posts will fall in which months, so you’re prepared with a post in time for Mothers’ Day.
Think about how frequently you post on each platform. A rule of thumb? Only post when you have something to say – don’t post for the sake of posting. The “right” quantity of posts should be based on your business, as well as the format and purpose of the post.
When you’re getting down to the nitty gritty of planning content, it can be a benefit to plan about a month ahead of time. This gives you the time to sit down and prepare and create quality content and means you won’t be rushing to create social media content. Additionally, it’ll make it easy for you to align your social media with other marketing initiatives.
There are several online content planning tools or you could use a trusty spreadsheet. Whatever works best for you. Once it’s all planned, you can schedule it, perhaps set aside some time once a week to schedule your posts for the coming week, it’ll save you time in the long run.
5. Interact with your followers
Social media was intended to be social. Sometimes that can get a little lost among the multitude of Facebook ads and LinkedIn sales pitches, and this is worth being aware of.
Where possible, have authentic interactions with your followers by responding to comments, tweets and messages. In fact, it’s often a good idea to integrate this in your strategy for each platform. Think of how you could utilise features on the various platforms like responding to Facebook reviews of your products, live tweeting when you’re at a relevant conference or getting involved with trending topics about your area of expertise. On LinkedIn you can share articles and insights or create events for webinars or courses. On Instagram you can interact with your audience via question boxes in stories or doing an Instagram (or Facebook) Live FAQ. Using some of these features may help you reach broader audiences and improve your overall presence on social media.
These options allow you to increase the spontaneity of your business’ social media use, increase the social and interactive feel, and distance your business profiles from the likelihood of being perceived as “yet-another-marketing-channel”. Also – real time response from existing and potential customers – what’s not to like?
These 5 tips may not make you a social media whizz over night, but we sure do hope they’ve inspired you to start setting goals, making plans, and creating some top-notch content.
At Nordea Connect we understand e-commerce and know that social media can be a fantastic tool for marketing your business, to the right people, in the right way. So, whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been at it for a while, we hope you can take these pointers away and use them to boost your business.