From humble beginnings, social media has grown from being a way for friends to share and stay in touch to become an integral part of corporate marketing plans for the majority of today’s businesses, and some of the most successful social media campaigns in the past have transformed their respective company’s fortunes.
Unfortunately, many companies still don’t understand the key elements of good social media practices, perhaps thinking instead that merely creating profiles and sporadically updating them is somehow enough.
If you’re finding your social media efforts are falling short of what you’d hoped for, you need to be thinking about why that is. While the various platforms are now used for business, we should never forget where they came from. With that in mind, and to help analyze where you might be going wrong, ask yourself this: would I want to be friends with my business social media account?
It’s all me, me, me
You’re at a party, and you meet someone new. They’re attractive, and you get chatting. Ten minutes later, they’re still chatting, and you’re still listening. Suddenly, they’re not so attractive anymore. Social media is no different. Constantly talking about your own company, products or services is a surefire way to receive zero engagement on your profiles.
Successful social media campaigns are built on likes, comments and, ideally, shares. It’s the modern day version of word of mouth. This means interacting with other people, commenting on their content, re-tweeting, sharing, and making them feel good.
Then, like meeting someone at a party and having a two-way conversation, they’ll start checking you out too. If the like what they see, they’re going to tell their friends all about you.
The boring friend
It’s not nice, but it’s a fact of life. We probably all have at least one friend who, while being really nice and a great person, is just a little bit boring. In real life, it can be hard to keep making excuses when they invite us somewhere every weekend. With social media, ignoring them couldn’t be easier.
To keep your audience engaged, at least 80% of what you post has to be entertaining, inspiring, or informative. If it isn’t, people won’t need to think up a reason to not interact with you; they will simply stop listening, and find someone who does amuse, charm, or interest them. Successful social media campaigns do this as standard.
A little less conversation
Some people just know how to hold a great conversation. They’re knowledgeable, witty, informed, and entertaining. It’s a pleasure to talk to them, and you usually look forward to their company. Occasionally though, you have to go out and find stimulation in other ways: A walk in the countryside. A movie. Rock climbing.
Successful social media campaigns will always offer more than just words. Visuals like images, infographics and videos all capture the attention more effectively than text updates ever will. They take up more screen real estate, and are eminently more shareable than simple words too.
Investing in a stock image license or making your own videos is a surefire way of getting you closer to your dream of emulating those successful social media campaigns you admire so much.
I’m washing my hair
When friends organize get-togethers, the first people that are invited are those who usually say yes; those that are consistently there. Those who often say no, who spend as much time out of the circle as they do in it, begin to lose some elements of the friendship enjoyed by those who are always there.
Social media is the same. If you want to keep your friends, your audience, you have to always be there.
Inconsistent posting leaves your profile looking half-hearted, as though it’s only updated when you have the time or inclination, and is not a priority for you. And if it isn’t a priority for you, why should it be for anyone else? Consistency builds trust, which is key in successful social media campaigns, so a regular posting schedule should be devised and stuck to. If you can’t post every day, even once a week is better than a flurry of posts together and then nothing for the rest of the month.
Start caring about what others think
If you’re going to remain friends with people, it’s important to know what they really think of you, and to know that your efforts in the relationships are being reciprocated.
Social media is no different, and tracking the results of your activity is vital if you are to learn how to improve your engagement. There are tools that enable you to check what sort of activity your social media posting results in on your website. Do visitors from Facebook stick around or bounce? Are people checking multiple pages? How much time do they actually spend on your site once you’ve managed to get them there? What types of social media posts get the best reaction?
Checking these metrics is essential for all successful social media campaigns. Only by knowing and then acting on this information can you hope to improve your relationships with your social media audience, and hope to one day turn them into friends of your business.