Whether you’re a self published author with a book to sell, a small business trying to get noticed, or a big brand aiming to increase market share, chances are social media – communicating via networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and Linkedin – is very much on your radar.
But as the medium matures, your audience has higher expectations of how you’re going to use these channels. That means the ‘quick wins’ are harder to find (if they ever existed at all) and ‘just being there’ is no longer enough.
There are a few things you need that I think will help a lot and greatly increase your chances of success.
1) Images and Video Consider the way technology has evolved over the last few years. The first digital camera I ever had too shots in 5 megapixels. In 2006 that was considered pretty good. Now, kids of 12 and 13 are running around with he latest smart phones which have 8 megapixels and upwards and HD video capability.
So good quality images are easier than ever and should be part of every single post. Much of the value of following a business on social media is the off the cuff, behind the scenes insight I’m going to get. Take images and video footage as you go that relates to each post and combine it with professionally shot pictures of you and your team. It doesn’t take much to set aside one half day a couple of times a year to get a series of well composed professional shots. You can use these on social media, your website, other marketing, send them with press releases to your local newspaper and they’re ideal for brochures if you’re asked to speak at a conference.
2) Ideas ‘It’s Friday, what’s your favourite thing about Friday?’ might have been a good Facebook conversation starter in 2010 but it won’t cut it today. Anyone that does well on social media has strong original content in amongst the chat. You have to add value. Tell me something I didn’t know. Make my life easier. Interest me, captivate me, inspire me. Think about what you’re going to say.
Of course, this takes time and effort and some days, in a busy office with loads of other stuff to do, the phone going non stop, a crammed inbox and Brian asking what you want from the van, that can be hard to muster up. So plan ahead with a content grid. Sit down when you do feel up to it and go through the next few months looking at everything that’s coming up in the world, or in your sector and plan to do some social media activity around it. Maybe there’s a blog you can do around the Grand National. Make sure your employee that’s representing you at that awards ceremony takes pictures and maybe some video. A self published thriller writer might find it easier to get some attention for their own work by running some activity to coincide with the next release from Lee Child. What about all those ‘National Kissing Day’ and ‘National Good Sleep Week’ type events? What’s relevant to you that you can take part in and use as social media inspiration. Get that content grid up on the wall and it’ll keep you right when you can’t think of what to say.
3) Help Don’t struggle away on your own. Halve your workload or double your productivity by forming a partnership. Maybe a member of your team is a hot shot photographer. Or a brilliant writer. Maybe there’s a regular customer that you know well and trust who could be part of things. Is there someone you know who already has a bigger social media audience? Might they help spread the word about your Twitter feed in exchange for a freebie? Consider some social media training so that there are people from throughout your organisation involved in managing the social media rather than it all coming from the marketing department. Who’s going to handle things at weekends and holidays for you? It’s all about making things easier for yourself and working smartly so the effort you put in gets maximum results. Get friendly with a good digital agency.
4) A brilliant business The biggest risk these days is that you get noticed, and aren’t very good. Anyone can shout the loudest but is there substance underneath to turn ‘LIKES’, Tweets and followers into customers that not only part with their own cash, but recommend you to their friends? That’s what you want above all else. And social media, sooner or later, will only reflect the kind of business, or person you actually are. You need to be better, faster, smarter, more in tune with your audience, have great products, treat your staff well and generally be brilliant in order to survive for any length of time. More than ever, people value excellence and value for money.