“And so Mark Zuckerberg came down from Mount Sinai bearing two stone tablets, on which were scrawled seven commandments for businesses who were hoping to make the most of their social media marketing channels.” – Exodus 20:1 [Facebook edition]
Social media is new. Social media marketing is even newer. When things are new, they are often confusing. For businesses taking their first baby steps into the world of social media marketing, confusion can reign supreme. So what does one need to know about handling a brand on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter?
These seven commandments seem as good a place to start as any.
1) Understand Your Audience
There’s nothing worse than being on a first date where the other person talks endlessly about stuff that you don’t give two hoots about. Just like a date, you want your brand to be a good conversation partner online. You want to offer up things that your audience will appreciate or find interesting.
In order to do that, you need to identify exactly who your target audience is. Once that’s decided, pander your content to them.
2) Go for Follower Quality over Follower Quantity
Social media generates an incredible amount of data when compared to most other forms of marketing. But you can find yourself getting lost in these numbers. There may be a temptation to follow thousands of Instagram users in the hope that they will follow you back. You may be lured into buying bot followers. But these strategies only serve to blind you to how well you marketing efforts are actually doing.
Don’t look at follower counts; instead, look at engagement numbers, and focus on keeping them high. If your engagement is high you’re obviously producing quality content, and your follower numbers will inevitably increase.
3) Entertain or Educate
Offering up quality content is the aim of the game on social media. Ideally, you want your posts to do one of two things; entertain or educate. In fact, in a perfect world, each post would do both.
Obviously, the main aim of delving into social media marketing is to allow your brand to reach more eyes, so if your followers feel that they’re getting value from your posts, you’ll more than likely succeed in this aim. There is still room for direct selling, but keep it minimal – no more than 1 in 5 posts should be a blatant ad.
4) Engage (but Not Automatically)
Consumers love the fact that brands can be held accountable on social media. There’s no hiding from a public post on your brand’s wall from an unhappy customer. The best social media operators are those that put a focus on engaging with their audiences and responding quickly and effectively to followers’ queries.
Ensure that you give someone on your team the responsibility of interacting with your followers, both encouraging dialogue and answering queries. It’s also helpful to define your brand persona and communicate in a way that fits that mould.
5) Don’t Be a Salty Sally
Whatever you brand persona, you should always post and engage in a way that is positive and helpful. While it’s fair to say that the customer isn’t always right, you need to keep a level head. If you’ve got an unreasonable follower trying to start some trouble, take the conversation into direct messaging, or offer to call the person.
Never escalate a grievance in plain view online – the internet already has more than enough arguments on it.
6) Present a Broad and United Front
Presenting a strong and consistent brand across all of the major social channels is vital to the success of your social media marketing strategy. While Facebook is a good starting point, your business should also capitalise on the audiences available on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn at a minimum. Set your profiles up with consistent branding, and use a social media utility such as Hootsuite to run your multiple accounts quickly and easily.
7) Schedule Those Posts
A utility like Hootsuite also allows you to schedule your posts, ensuring that you hit the Goldilocks zone that neither overwhelms nor underwhelms your followers. Depending on your target audience this could mean posting multiple times a day or a few times a week. Remember that there’s no shame in recycling content; that blog post that you’re really proud of can be shared many times over!