Trying to get your head around your social media channels can be a real challenge, and often you’ll find yourself digging up more questions than the ones you find answers for: How can I make this content work for Twitter and Facebook? Is it worth setting up an Instagram? Why are the links on my tweets just showing weird snippets and no images? What is an “impression” anyway?
Here are just a few quick tips to give you an overview of the landscape and how you can navigate the madness of social media.
1) Consider your platforms:
As a general rule for business, you really should have social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook. This is predominantly so that you don’t run the risk of someone setting these up behind your back (this is especially important for schools and care providers) as if you have an unknown account that’s left unchecked, you could find yourself in the middle of a reputational crisis without even knowing about it!
This is not to say that you need an account on every platform. We get a lot of questions now about the use of Instagram and the ways in which it can be used. In certain sectors, this purely image and video channel has become increasingly useful, but this tends to be for very visual industries, such as cosmetic brands or the film industry.
Think about what you could offer visually (short film clips or eye-catching images), and if you have a decent bank of them to work with. If you have a few, these will be great for using on Facebook and Twitter, but if you’ll find yourself repeating content every few days, Instagram may not be the platform for you!
2) Think before you speak:
Having a clear goal and strategy in mind is helpful to ensure that you’re not just throwing out whatever’s in your mind (the age of live tweeting your day-to-day is done!).
This is usually formed of three parts: Your key messages to drive people back to your website, which forms the backbone of your content – “this is who we are and what we do”, posting content from real time events (for instance, if you’re at a conference or presenting a talk), and sharing content from other platforms where the post complements the work you do.
Always think about who you’re talking to and in what medium, as this will make a big difference around how you frame the content (do you have 280 characters or 2000 to work with? Would a video help to explain this better, or will text suffice?) Learning what works for your particular audience is crucial.
3) Know the people
Taking a look at the key stakeholders in your industry is a staple part of any communications plan, but when it comes to social media and digital, there’s even more of a prerogative to examine this further. Consider all the online media sources, bloggers and influencers that exist purely in the digital sphere (some titles are even going digital-only!) and how you can engage with them on social.
Sometimes, a quick follow and retweet will get you noticed, other times, you might need to do more active posting, tagging them into relevant content, or sending direct messages where possible. If nothing else, having an often-updated list of social media influencers could help you to get a cross-section of what’s being said in your industry online – making it an invaluable resource for research and audience analysis.
This is only a very brief summary of just some of the tactics that you can use to get your head around social media – if you’d like to find out more, we’re currently running a series of free seminars at our offices in Westminster, beginning with social media on 2 February. Click here to register your place!