How to effectively use social media for your business
You’ve heard it before: social media is free marketing. What’s said less often, though, is how mind-boggling platforms can be. Guidelines are constantly changing and the golden words of ‘pay to play’ may be true, but learning how to play is an entirely different game. We know small business owners tend to do everything themselves, so here are our quick tips on how to efficiently navigate the daunting world of social media.
Get on it
Yes, there’s no getting around the groundwork. Building a content strategy for your brand takes time, and a large part of it is about curating the messages you want your brand to embody. Strategists agree it’s better to focus on building a following on one or two platforms – look for channels where your followers already are, whether that’s Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest. While difficult, we recommend working in advance – take time to schedule your key content a fortnight or even a month in advance.
Work+Store Tip: Use feedly to consolidate publication resources, creating a centralized source of content to draw syndicated content from.
The key to a successful social media strategy is iteration through feedback. Study your social media insights to understand what posts are resonating with your followers, and strive to find the common traits among the best performing posts. Says Devonne Niam, Digital Marketing Maven at MATTER, “Facebook analytics have helped us identify who our customers are though their behaviour and trends. Learning how they interact with our content has helped us create a social media strategy that best suits them and what they want to know and read.”
Work+Store Tip: Identify top performing posts through engagement and clickthrough rates. Once you have an idea of what your audience is responding to, create a content calendar that embodies these messages and post types and schedule accordingly. Don’t be afraid of testing out new ideas, but remember to do away with posts your audience is not responding well to. Constantly refine your strategy.
Pay to play… or not
All is not fair in the world of social media. With paid advertising options, the chances of organically reaching your audience are not in your favour, which often means brands have to allocate a social media marketing budget to advertising on the various channels.
Work+Store Tip: To more efficiently allocate your ad spend, study your analytics to better understand what your audience is responding to. Do they like illustrations or photographs? Brighter colours or darker? Mine data to target your audience more effectively. If you’re creating a Facebook ad, follow the best practice tips (e.g. copy should adhere to a word limit). You can also try A/B testing, also known as split testing, to understand what kind of copy and imagery your audience responds to.
Incorporate multimedia posts
Text and imagery are great, but audiences are moving past these mediums and looking for interactive content, like videos via Instagram Stories and Facebook Live Videos. Videos see a higher organic reach and are more likely to be pushed by social media platforms.
As Devonne of MATTER advises, “Don’t forget there is a person behind the screen! Your customer is part of your community – s/he is a living, breathing person with emotions. Don’t treat them like a statistic or a number on a screen. Learn to connect with that person.”