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The goal of any marketing activity is to increase sales, right? With Social Media, you are playing the long game. As a marketer, I have never seen Social Media as a means to an end. Or a tool that is going to help you sell, sell, sell. The real motivation behind having a Social Media presence lies in the fact other people’s perception of your business is their reality (no matter if that is wrong or right). With Social Media, the power to change the narrative is in your hands. It's hard to build these relationships and let your business really shine if you are always trying to sell.
For this reason, being consistent with the message you send out through your Social Media, as well as the posts themselves, is everything when determining the success of your Social Media Strategy.
But it's haaaard, you say. It's time-consuming. I'm not seeing the results. I don't know what to post. Believe me, you are not alone in this struggle. Because on top of everything else you are doing in your business, you also have to create and publish engaging content, consistently.
Social Media might just feel like more work, but I am here to help you implement the systems and processes to make things easier for you.
Social Media is a lot like dating, in the sense that it is not like dating at all but for the argument of this article, it's the exact same process. Imagine hearing consistently from a brand (love interest) that you had put yourself out there enough to follow, only for all communications to slowly and sporadically fizzle out into nothing. Bridge burnt, feelings hurt, hairstyle changed. You're back in the ocean fishing for another brand that truly understands you and is willing to put in the effort.
Back to the dating example. Commitment is the key. While everyone is talking about passion, commitment is what will see you going the distance with your audience and ultimately improve the bottom line. When you are trying to cultivate these all-important relationships, don't ghost your audience. There's an old decrepit marketing term called the Rule of 7, which details that a business has to connect with its prospects seven times before they'll take any action. While the actual number seven isn't really the important take away here, having consistent touch points with your clients is.
Consistently posting gripping content is fantastic, but you also need to evaluate your overall Social Media Strategy. And, it might not be the same for each platform. If you're not answering to the why of your posts then you won't be able to see if they were successful or not. What is it that you would like to achieve on Social Media?
- Showcasing your company culture
- Driving traffic to your website
- Build the personal brand of individuals in your business
If you're objective is to simply to drive traffic through to your website, but instead, you are drowning in likes and no click-throughs, then your post was not a success, so it is important to start with strategy and measure from there.
More than a third of Social Media users check their feeds over 5 times a day. These users want new content constantly and quickly. But that demand doesn't always gel well with the available supply of small businesses.
Be careful, it's all about balance. As much as people love content, no one loves scream in your face, buy me content. Social Media at the end of the day is about being Social, your business bridging the gap and bringing you closer to your customers. The more Social you are, the more air time you will get. But don't be spammy, trust me when I say that line is very thin and you don't want to be on the wrong side of it. If you're only trying to push sales on Social Media, it's all about you, instead of your customer.
Coming up with content is perhaps the biggest challenge of all. Because things that you find deserving of a post just might not be happening this month. It's all about making it easy for you. Have a list of different post types for your channels that you can mix up to have both varieties for your audience but a consistent brand.
For example, if you’re a new Veterinary clinic, your Instagram could feature the following posts if your strategy is to raise awareness:
- New patients
- Post op treats
- Check-ins with regular visitors
- Staff bonding with a new cuddly companion
If you create a guide of suggested posts, you will never be stuck for ideas because you can just cycle through them again and again.
For this reason, creating a Social Media plan is essential. While some people might argue against me, beautiful things don't come from a place of pressure. That is the same for Social Media. Putting something irrelevant, pointless or uninteresting on your feed for the sake of it will cause your audience to scratch their head, not create brand advocacy.
While Social Media is a place where you can be more casual with your audience and let your 'true personality' come through a little more. I would not be having heart palpitations if I was putting content out into the world that wasn't print ready or copy written by JK Rowling. Sometimes those moments don't come from a place of perfection, rather good intention. Quality content comes in different forms.
It is also important to pick the right channel for your strategy. Instagram is a more casual platform where a brand can showcase its personality and all its quirks. Instagram is a visual medium, dominated by witty comments and a captivating image. Whereas LinkedIn is a professional platform where long-form content is king. Tailoring can take a little bit longer but remember it's all about quality over quantity.
A good way to guarantee that you're Social Media is going to be consistent is creating a Social Media calendar at the start of each month. Whether it's two times a week or even three, map it out. Make it as easy as possible for yourself. Write all the Social Media copy as if you were posting it today and not weeks in advance. Resize the images in accordance with the Social Media platform you are posting to.
Use a tool such as Google Sheets or Trello to house your calendar and display it in a visual and easy to read way.
If you don't set the time aside to create a calendar and schedule it out from there, then your posts are already at risk of not being consistent. The biggest mistake with Social Media, and a mistake I see people make time and time again, is deciding to post when something interesting happens or when they get the time. But, people get busy and it's easy to fall into the habit of, "I'll do something about it tomorrow."
Now you have created your Social Media Calendar, you need to schedule it out. This part is easy, simply copy and paste your content for the month into a third-party site and hit schedule for the time frames you established in your plan. There are plenty of posting tools popping up every day which can help you manage your posts. A few good sites are Loomly and Hootsuite . They don't cost you an arm and a leg, but they certainly get the job done.
And that's it. Sit back, put your feet up and have a mojito. Your Social Media is going to be kicking goals for another month, well done.
But just because everything is scheduled, this doesn't mean that you don't have room to experiment and capture those impromptu moments that happen around the place.
I would always recommend a small business to manage as much of their Social Media in the house as they can. At the end of the day, you are the one who is getting sh!t done and experiencing things as they happen. You are on the other side of the camera and can capture those sorts of impromptu moments. Outside of these unplanned Social Media moments, keeping your posts consistent and true to your brand can be a challenge. Could you spend your time better elsewhere?