For many brands and individuals looking to up their social media marketing strategy, one of the biggest worries that faces them is that of investing substantial time, energy, financial resources and more, while possibly gaining unimpressive results in return. What many don’t realise, is that it is possible to be highly successful and effective on social media without you or your team having to spend all day, every day planning and creating posts.
What is absolutely certain though, is that you are not going to make social media work for your personal or business brand by being lazy and putting in the bare minimum effort. There is a false misconception among some that it will instantly bring game-changing results to your marketing, and is like some kind of magic solution for creating success. This is simply untrue, even if someself-proclaimed “social media experts or gurus” may try and convince you otherwise. Unless you are very lucky, like most things in life you get out what you put in, so you will definitely need to dedicate some time and effort to your social media marketing strategy and content in order to build a loyal fan base, especially when you are starting out.
The internet is not going to be set alight in excitement and anticipation simply by you or your brand having a Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profile and YouTube channel with the odd post. To begin with you will likely see a fairly limited benefit for your brand in terms of direct sales, but this is only natural as anything that’s worth it in business takes time. Through the right tactics and strong dedication, after several weeks you will almost certainly start to notice increased interest and more than likely sales, from your social media channels soon after that.
— Brian Fanzo 🧢 Digital Futurist (@iSocialFanz) March 2, 2017
Despite social media being used by increasing numbers of brands, many are wasting a lot of time because they are still not managing to utilise these amazing tools effectively. The following tactics can greatly enhance the effectiveness of your digital marketing strategy, by saving you and your team from wasted time and effort, thus increasing your social media success:
Schedule your Social Media posts
Spending time all day posting on social media is often simply not a realistic option for yourself or the members of your marketing team, due to a variety of other business related tasks that need to be accomplished such as attending meetings, answering phone calls/emails, or creating content also competing time and attention. It is of course easier to allocate social media to one or more people when you have a larger marketing team, but even then it is sometimes difficult to balance all of the different social media profiles your brand may have, and other tasks may take priority.
It can be especially difficult if you’re running your own brand or if you only have a small team. In these situations, it is definitely recommended to schedule your social media posts. What this means is you can add a variety of different posts that you would like to see published on your social platforms during the day, week or even month which will then be published automatically by the online tool that you have chosen.
While there are a number of different options available for scheduling social media posts, one that we highly recommend and use on a regular basis for Canary PR and other projects is Buffer. This is an amazing tool which allows scheduling for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google Plus, and can also be used on the go with the Android or iPhone apps.
There are two Starter options for personal use:
Free – The basic Free version which allows you to connect up to three social accounts which could be all on one platform (e.g. three Facebook pages), or a combination (e.g. a Twitter profile, Facebook page and LinkedIn page). For each social account you can schedule up to 10 posts which is perfect for a weekly scheduling strategy.
Awesome – For $10/month (or equivalent in your region) you can use the Awesome version which allows you to connect a combination of up to 10 different social accounts, and schedule up to 100 posts for each social account.
These starter plans are great for solo entrepreneurs or small business owners, as they will save you a significant amount of time in terms of your social media posting strategy. In addition, with the monthly paid option, you can monitor how your posts are doing in terms of engagement stats, meaning you can change what isn’t working and focus on more of what is.
To achieve an even better Buffer experience for your brand, you can upgrade to one of the Buffer Business Plans that each come with a host of additional features, depending on which pricing plan you choose. For the Largest plan you can add up to 25 different team members for collaboration, connect up to 150 social accounts and schedule 2,000 posts per profile! For all the details see here: https://buffer.com/pricing
Easily keep track of where and by who your brand is being Mentioned
Engagement with your audience in order to start a conversation about your brand, is one of the most important aspects of a successful social media strategy. Ideally this will lead to increased sales through more interest in your product.
As your company grows though, there is already likely to be conversation about your brand, whether you are part of it not. In order to capitalize on the positive commentary and to mitigate any negativity (especially when this is false), it is vital to be part of this conversation.
You can use tools to track where your brand is being mentioned, rather than having to spend hours each day searching online. One that is rather aptly named is Mention. This allows you or your marketing team to easily monitor over 1 billion sources daily, including social media, blogs, forums, and the rest of the web.
This is a brilliant tool because even if you or your brand haven’t specifically been tagged, you can still use Mention to see what people are saying about your brand online. In addition to this there are many other excellent features of this service, such as being able to discover new influencers to potentially work with and the ability to track your competitors to see what they are up to.
Help to Boost your Brand Profile by Working with Influencers
Building a large presence online can prove difficult, especially when your brand is starting out on social media. This is why it can be a brilliant idea to work with influencers who already have a significant following on one or more social platforms. Rather than major celebrities, who are often out of the price range for many companies, these can be individuals that have a small-medium sized actively engaged following i.e. micro- medium influencers.
The first step is to identify an influencer who is the correct fit for your brand. For example for a resort or hotel company, it would be ideal to collaborate with a travel blogger or vlogger with a popular travel blog or YouTube channel, and strong following on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and/or Snapchat.
After you have identified an influencer who would be a good fit for your brand and who you would like to work with, the next step is to reach out to them via social media or email in order to start a conversation about collaborating. In other instances, influencers will directly inquire about working with you, by instigating a conversation themselves. There are many influencers who have a highly engaged fan-base that views their social media posts on a daily basis, so working with one of these who fits with your product and brand image can be perfect for your growth!
Your brand may not have traction yet with certain audiences, such as a younger audience who are more engaged with social media platforms, so an influencer can help you or your brand tap into this market. Your brand can therefore significantly widen its online reach without needing to invest a great deal of extra time.
As many influencers are happy to take part payment through free product such as room nights at a resort, this style of positive brand exposure won’t always cost a lot extra either. Influencers understand the dynamics of social media and engaging with their fans online, plus have a loyal audience; this could be just the push that your brand may need!
Stop Wasting Time by Making your Posts more Effective
More importantly than the amount of time you spend each day posting, monitoring or engaging, social media success requires you to be effective at making an impact. A perfect analogy for this could be through comparing those that work in a focused and effective way for fewer hours, to workers who may spend all their day in the office but who are very good at wasting a lot of that time appearing very busy, but achieving very little.
If you are trying to cut corners with your brand social media such as automatically sharing your Facebook or Instagram posts to Twitter which simply appear as uninspiring links, or putting little thought into what you are posting such as generic/boring posts, your audience or potential audience will easily be able to see. This will result in little to no engagement, because people can see through this laziness and lack of creativity.
On social media there is a huge amount of competition and your brand is literally competing for people’s attention, which continues to become more and more limited. Your potential audience will not be prepared to waste their time engaging with your brand social media channels or posts if they can see that your brand has invested little effort, energy or thought.
From the smallest through to the biggest brands in the world, social media has proven itself to be a hugely effective marketing tool, with many experts predicting that this importance is only set to grow. While TV, Print and Radio advertising still remain important to brands, they are becoming less and less so as attention switches to mobile devices and online digital marketing. Ultimately it is not the fault of social media but your content and strategy if you find it is not working for your brand. You must grab people’s attention by creating useful, entertaining or inspiring content.
— TIME (@TIME) March 2, 2017
Ask Questions and Start Conversations: People love to give their opinions, especially if they know someone is listening. Through asking questions in your posts, such as “What was your favourite experience while on holiday in ….?” you can get people interested and talking, while also just as importantly gain some valuable marketing information about those that follow your social channels.
Answer and Engage: Once people are discussing your brand, making comments, tagging your brand in photos or posts and sharing your content, this all becomes a great way to then involve them in conversation. It displays that your brand is listening and worth engaging with on social media. If on the other hand these various interactions are ignored, then it will cause the public to become much less likely to interact with your brand in the future, as your marketing team will look lazy which is ultimately a huge wasted opportunity.
— Buffer (@buffer) February 22, 2017
Use Hashtags Effectively: Although on some platforms such as Facebook or LinkedIn, hashtags make little or no difference to the effectiveness of your posts, on others such as Instagram and Twitter they can significantly increase engagement. You will undermine the potential of your photo or Tweet to be seen if you miss out on including hashtags. It has been shown that the optimum number of hashtags to use is two per Tweet, while you can add up to 30 on Instagram!
Add Photos and Videos to make your Posts more Interesting: In the world of social media marketing, photos and especially videos are becoming increasingly important. This is the case on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus and every other social media platform. Without images and videos your posts will generally receive far less engagement as they will fail to grab as much attention. On Twitter for example it has been shown that Tweets with a photo or video receive much higher numbers of retweets, thus leading to greater exposure for your brand.
— Buffer (@buffer) February 28, 2017
To make your social media posts stand out and gain more exposure for your brand, there are many other simple techniques you can utlise. All it takes is some research which is time well spent, as opposed to wasting time posting uninspiring, boring content that won’t lead to any great improvements for your brand and could actually hurt its image.
If you found this post useful then please share it on social media using #CanaryPRsocial, or leave a comment below or via our social media channels to join in the conversation.
If you would like any more assistance or advice with your social media strategy, then please don’t hesitate to get in contact with our team as we offer social media consulting and management services for individuals and companies.