How to make the most from social media
Social media started out as something that we did for fun, but these days, it’s big business. If you’re in the customer service or e-commerce industry and you don’t use social media, you’re likely missing out on a lot of potential leads. And we mean a lot. The rise of the smart phone means that more and more people are jumping on social media. According to a special social media report contained within the 2017 Australian Sensis, 8 out of 10 people are now using social media (that’s 80% of the population).
If you think it’s only the youth of today who are utilising social media, guess again. Yes, 99% of Australian consumers aged 18 – 29 use some form of social media, but the 2017 Sensis also revealed that 96% of 30-39 year olds as well as 86% of 40-49 year olds are also big fans of getting social online. You can check out the full Sensis Social Media Report 2017 here.
In celebration of “Social Media Day” on 30 June, we decided that we would share some of our top social media tips to make sure the time you invest gets maximum results.
Commit to a social media schedule
From the beginning, commit to the amount of content you will post to social media. At a minimum, aim to post at least daily on your social channels. The golden rule is to remember not to post unless you’ve got something relevant to talk about. By this we mean, don’t just post for the sake of posting. We recommend utilising a social media planning tool, which can be as simple as a spreadsheet calendar, or as sophisticated as a specialised social media scheduling tool, like Buffer or Hootesuite. Both of these platforms offer a free trial so why not jump on and give one a go, before committing to a paid account?
Keep it short and sharp
To stand out, ensure your content is punchy and gives users the information they seek without having to wade through mountains of information. If possible, limit the text on Facebook posts to no more than 3 sentences, and always include an image with your post, to capture the users attention as they scroll through their feed.
Try to have fun with social media, as this will also help you to stand out from the crowd. It’s important to still be professional and adhere to your own brand, but that doesn’t mean you can’t infuse a little bit of yourself into your posts. Ways to include more personality into your social posts include:
- Tell your story or share your life experiences.
- Share your wins, and some of your mistakes – show that you are human.
- Introduce team members and a little about their interests.
- Shout out to your team members on their birthdays or celebrate their achievements.
Check out these really simple examples of how you can put some brand personality into your social media posts:
TBD Communication Design used their office move as a way of challenging their customers to a table tennis tournament:
Townsville City Council employees got into the spirit of the 2018 State of Origin series:
Black Duck Brewery shared a little bit of community spirit:
Notice how all of these businesses got great engagement from these easy posts? Don’t be afraid to show the face of the humans working behind your business, but remember never to get involved in religious or political banter and try not to be too negative or complain too much – we probably don’t have to tell you that this won’t go down well with your followers.
Tell the stories of your customers
Gone are the days of using social media to constantly sell, sell, sell. Research has shown that social media users respond much better to content that tells a story about ‘THEM’. Think about what kinds of stories you can tell about your customers. A simple way to start is to share customer reviews and testimonials. For example if you are a construction company, you could share a recent renovation project you worked on and tell the story behind that job, introduce the customers you helped and share before and after photos of the project.
The Westport Club recently shared some of our VIP customers’ stories on YouTube, our blog and social media channels:
Try new things
Don’t be afraid to experiment with new types of content, such as videos, gifs, polls, live videos and stories. The more interactive you can make user experience, the more engagement you will tend to get from your audience. With people using social media more and more and with so much content to absorb, you only have a split second to capture the attention of your audience. This is where video comes in. Video content is a quick way to get across a lot of information, in an engaging and easy to understand format.
Ensure your videos are short and punchy, if possible make them less than 30 seconds. The key to making the most out of video is to ensure that you have a strong call to action. A call to action is exactly that, it instructs the viewer to take further action, such as visiting your website, clicking on a link to read more, or pressing a button to make a purchase. A video without a call to action is a wasted opportunity.
We can already hear you asking, ‘What are these hashtags all about’? As the name suggests, hashtags are tags that social media users can place throughout or at the end of a post, and generally relate to the subject matter or topics discussed. As you would most likely know, social media platforms collect data on the types of interests that their users have, based on the type of content those users frequently engage with. Hashtags are therefore used by platforms like Instagram to categorise posts and then show that content to new users as ‘suggested’ content.
Some savvy social media users even ‘follow’ certain hashtags, based on their own personal interests. For example The Westport Club might follow #thewestportclub so that we could monitor when our customers are talking about us on Facebook and Instagram.
We like to think of hashtags as a type of filing system. You could also think of them as key words. Tag your posts with the types of things you think your customers and ideal customers would be searching for on social media in order to find your content.
Remember the aim of the game
While we’re on the subject of the ‘call to action’, remember that if you are using social media for your business, the main advantage of social media will generally be to drive traffic back to your website. Think of your website as the ‘mothership’, where your customers can find the bulk of information on your business. All of your social media channels are the smaller spacecraft that keep returning to the ‘mothership’.
By using social media correctly, you can generate hundreds – if not thousands – more leads back to your website each month, which in turn will help with Search Engine Optimisation, helping search engines like Google to rank your page higher in search results pages. Have we lost you? Read more about Search Engine Optimisation here.
Use existing content to your advantage
As we noted above, the main aim of your social media channel is to drive more traffic back to your website. So, use the content on your website to create more snippets for social media. If you write a 1,000 word blog post, you should be able to create at least 10 snippets from that article and share those to social media. Don’t forget to include a link back to your website for your followers to read more.
Know the rules of (social media) engagement
Social networking platforms like Facebook and Instagram have strict policies on the type of content they allow, especially when it comes to competitions and promotions. Make sure you read up on these rules before launching competitions. The same applies for the type of content you post. In recent times, social platforms have made the decision to ‘go back to their roots’, making their channels more about the user. They are showing more content that is personal, relates to the audience and promotes social connection.
That means that content that is too ‘sales-y’, looks like advertising or is spammy, gets lost. For example, Facebook will no longer prioritise content that solicits ‘likes’, ‘shares’ and ‘comments’. So if you’re asking your followers to tag their friends or share your posts, think again – because Facebook will ensure that your fans see less and less of these types of posts, as time goes by.
These days, the majority of web traffic that goes to a website is organic. This means that people find your site via search engines like Google, Yahoo, and so forth. Search Engine Optimisation or SEO is the activity of ensuring a website can be found in search engines for words and phrases relevant to what the site is offering.
The challenge that digital markers face, is to create content for our website and more specifically our blog, that adds those keywords we want associated with our business into our website, thus improving the relevance of our site to Google.
Search engines typically assume that the more popular a site or page, the more valuable the information it contains must be. This means that the more people visit certain pages of our site, the more our site will show up in search results.
SEO in action
As an example, say we wrote a post on our blog about New Year’s Eve in Port Macquarie. This blog post covered what was happening around Port Macquarie on New Year’s Eve and also ended off with what was on at The Westport Club that night. Lots of people in Port Macquarie would be Googling ‘What’s On in Port Macqaurie on New Year’s Eve’. The blog post starts off lower on the list of suggested pages. The more people who click on that article and read it, the more relevant and popular Google deems the article to be, and so it rises on Google Rankings.
Those people might not search ‘New Year’s Eve at The Westport Club’ but because our page comes up and they click on it, perhaps they might decide to come to the club for NYE or just to pop in and check out the club another day. This is SEO in action.
Jump on in
Whatever social platforms you deem to be suitable for your business, remember to keep an open mind and just have a go. You will learn more and more as you go and you’ll be surprised at the amount of insights you’ll gain about your customers by being on social media. You don’t have to like social media, or even use it in your personal life. But if you’re using your dislike of social media as an excuse to avoid it in business, you should reconsider, because statistics are telling us that your customers are using it. So jump on it and embrace it!