3 Simple Tricks to Boost Your Social Media Strategy
For those of us who have grown up in the age of technology, social media can seem second nature. Unless we have plans to become Instagram-famous, we don’t give a lot of thought to the timing, tone, and look of each post, but our perspectives on social media have to become more strategic when our intention is to build an audience for a businesses or personal brand.
Unlike personal accounts that go along swimmingly with random, off-the-cuff posts on any topic, social media accounts used for business purposes must be curated and planned with care in order to boost audience attention and loyalty. If social media is only a part of your position at work, it’s easy to let posting fall to the backburner. The risk in downplaying social media, though, is that repeated gaps in activity can decrease your company’s relevance and dampen your chances to gain new clients, customers, and partners. If you’re planning on posting a ton of content to make up for it, you also run the risk of over-posting, which can be just as detrimental.
Finding the right flow for your company takes time and effort, but it doesn’t have to rule your work life. For the busy social media user, here are a few tips for creating and maintaining a cohesive strategy:
Plan with Purpose
A barrage of social media posts may seem disconnected and random at first glance, but if a company is planning properly, each post is chosen to drive home the brand message and nurture audience trust and loyalty. A food-service company like Blue Apron may post a mix of their own recipes, quizzes on obscure ingredients, and interesting facts about cooking that would interest its target audience, while an ethical fashion brand like Everlane would focus on content that highlights clothes or explores issues of social justice. Using a brand’s story as a guideline is essential because it defines the way an audience connects with the brand emotionally.
Set aside time, at least an afternoon, to collaborate with others in your company (or your closest advisors, if you have a personal brand) and solidify the story you want your social media presence to tell to your audience. Try to stay away from the nitty-gritty details about what specifically you’ll be posting but identify the types of content that will benefit and engage your audience while still promoting your products or services. Note that social media should always be about more than promotion, so make sure that sales promotions are only a tiny portion of your posts, not the majority.
Schedule Ahead of Time
Much like any other form of marketing, social media is most effective when prepared ahead of time. When you’re busy, it may seem easiest to hop on Twitter or Instagram every once in awhile and throw up a post, but in the long run you’ll end up posting less, and you’ll have less time to proofread—proper grammar and spelling still command respect on social media—or to run the post by others to make sure that there are no off-brand statements or possibilities for audience members to take the post the wrong way.
At the beginning of the week, set aside an hour or so to schedule social media posts in advance. Apps like Hootsuite are affordable and can auto-schedule posts to go out at peak visibility times. If your team produces content for a blog, articles for other websites, or a podcast, make an editorial calendar at the beginning of each month that shows when new content will be available. As you schedule each week, consult the calendar and schedule posts based around the new pieces of content.
If social media has a primary rule, it’s probably that consistency is king. Scheduling seven posts on Twitter one day a week won’t help you grow your audience but consistently posting three or four times a day at around the same times will. Consistency can be a challenge when social media seems like small fish compared to other duties of your position, but keep in mind that social media marketing is the majority of what’s going to get your brand in front of audiences, and though it can’t often be directly connected to sales or revenue, it’s effects will benefit your brand in the long run.
When planning and scheduling your social media content, make sure that posts are going out at similar times and in similar numbers every day. It may help to develop a content pattern (ex: Informational content at 9 am, fun quiz at 12 pm, etc.) so that, as you’re planning, you can see where there may be gaps in the content that you have to offer.
If you are posting content consistently and aren’t seeing the audience engagement that you hope for, try experimenting with the types of content you’re posting. Switch out text-heavy posts for eye-catching visuals, or try posing interesting questions to encourage your followers to respond. As you’re experimenting with content, monitor your progress by capturing whatever analytics you can. (Facebook, Google, and Twitter’s internal analytics can provide plenty of insights for low or no cost.)
Though social media may seem second-nature and commonplace in our daily lives, the best ways to use it for business require thoughtful planning and preparation. With a wealth of pre-curated content, an organized posting schedule, and plenty of time spent planning in advance, you’ll see your company’s social media presence increase, opening up new possibilities for your brand to grow and excel.2