Ed’s note: This post was written by guest editor Jemimah Ashleigh of Tangs Design.
Almost every business has a presence on at least one social media channel these days, but how many are actually doing it well enough to positively benefit their business? Social media is an integral part of any effective digital marketing strategy. There are numerous brands out there successfully using social media to build their relationship with their customers, which, ultimately, helps them to maximise profits. Meanwhile, others struggle to stand out from all of the noise in the online realm. Here are my top six social media commandments to help you carve out an effective social media presence.
1. Thou shall stop posting boring content
Posting boring or irrelevant content is the quickest way to see customers disengage with your brand. Take a step back and consider if your posts are excessively promotional – can you legitimately say that what you’re posting is informative, engaging and entertaining? Even industries that are commonly perceived as being “boring” can devise a social media strategy that gets customers interested and asking questions. People love seeing the behind the scenes of your business, so think about ways that you can spice up your posts.
2. Thou will have a strategy in place
Posting once a day in an ad-hoc fashion isn’t likely to get your social channels pumping. Having a strategy and plan in place helps you to successfully connect with customers. A solid plan or strategy factors in the following: your overall business goals; marketing objectives and how these will be measured; your ideal or target customers; researching what your competitors are doing; which social media channels are most appropriate for your business and industry; content strategy; budget; and making sure everyone in your team understands their role in carrying out the strategy. Don’t forget that managing your channels is an essential part of the process too.
3. Thou will not spam everyone with sales
Your social media accounts shouldn’t look like a catalogue of specials or offers. Striking the right balance between promotional and other posts that engage, entertain and educate your audience is crucial. Use the 80/10/10 rule here, so that 80 per cent of your posts are fun and stimulating, while the other 20 per cent are dedicated to self-promotion (be creative with it too and change things up).
4. Thou will engage with all the people who engage with you
There’s a reason the word “social” exists in social media. You need to get social and engage with those who are following your pages and liking and commenting on your posts. Going that extra mile and reaching out to your customers who are contributing and making the time to engage with your posts helps you to stand out. Don’t get sucked into Liking or Following people and pages (or, worse still, buying fans or Likes) just for the sake of it and then unfollowing them days later. Having a certain number of fans or followers doesn’t necessarily translate into positive business outcomes. Building an engaged and loyal audience takes time, consistent effort and resources.
5. Thou will be consistent with filtering and imagery
We’ve all come across Instagram or Facebook pages that are just a little bit all over the place. Everything you do should have a consistent look, feel and tone about it. Always be aware of the colours, fonts and messaging you use. This helps people to instantly recognise your brand and pick it out from all of the noise in their feed. There are a number of pretty handy tools out there likeand that can make this as easy as possible.
6. Thou will use the right hashtags on the right platforms
There’s a difference between using hashtags effectively and using them where they don’t belong. Hashtags belong on social channels such as Instagram and Twitter – they don’t belong on Facebook (even if you’ve seen others use them) or LinkedIn. When using hashtags, you also need to be selective and make sure they are theme-based for your business. Again, there are a number of tools out there that help with this like Hashtagify. Get your hashtags right and you’re likely to see your engagement soar. Get it wrong and you might be left hearing crickets.
Jemimah is the creative director of Tangs Design and the founder of Epic Social. This enforcement intelligence officer come jeweller and comedian is passionate about breaking through the many myths and misconceptions about being an entrepreneur. jemimahashleigh.com.au