One of the most common themes I see with clients is a lack of clarity when it comes to the social media space. I often hear questions like “why do I need to do this?” “what do I post?” “how can this help my business?”
I like to say, social media is an extension of your brand—it’s going where your customers are to inform, entertain and engage. While that sounds simple, it actually is quite complex, especially when you think about all of the different platforms now available, the rapidly changing technology and most of all—the need for content.
Especially in the case of small to medium size businesses, the resources to create brand new content every single day of the calendar year are often just are not available, however it is possible to get creative with how you create, recycle and repurpose content from other sources. Once you have that down just post away and watch the results tick in, right? Wrong. Time and time again I see brands completely missing the mark with their social media marketing, even when they have great content available. So what are the big mistakes brands are making, and how can you make sure you aren’t one of them? Take a look at my short list of social media content ‘musts’:
Your brand is different from anyone else’s, show us why! Make us recognize your images, posts, videos etc. as distinctly your own. More so: let your voice be heard. Say you are a dentist, your social media posts should have a professional tone, but one that is not intimidating or overly technical. If you are a small boutique for young women’s clothing however, you want to convey yourself much differently: almost like a friend that sits in the dressing room and is honest about what you should and should not buy. You would want to talk casually about trends, new styles, etc.—the tone is completely different. Don’t let your posts fall flat, express yourself through your content to let your brand personality shine through.
No, this does not mean to post the same exact content week after week. It refers to finding the content that is resonating most with your audience and making sure you serve those kinds of posts up on a regular basis. Say you are a personal trainer: maybe its #MotivationalMonday quotes or videos of you showing new exercise moves that your followers go wild for– find what is working and keep it up. Followers will get excited to see what new moves you post every Tuesday (for example), the repetitive behavior helps to solidify the brand in their minds. This certainly does not mean only the same types of content every single week—leave room open in your content schedule for fresh, new ideas to mix it up, while also maintaining a solid foundation of good, consistent content to build the brand off of.
That brings me to my next point, which is also one of my biggest pet peeves. Branding. If I look at your Instagram feed and cannot see your name or logo will I know these are posts from your brand? In marketing we sometimes refer to this as the “smash-ability” of a brand, take out the name and how can you tell what it is? Make sure your posts have a logo on them, if applicable (it can be small, in the corner), stick to your brand colors and brand fonts, maybe you stick to one kind of filter even, but most of all, make it distinctly YOU.
At the end of the day, we are not creating content for ourselves. We create for our clients, our prospects, our employees, etc. We make it for them to enjoy, and in the best cases we make it for them to share. When creating content I always use the rule “would I share this myself?” If you aren’t sure, ask a client, or a colleague what they think. The great thing with social media is we can constantly test and learn. See what trends you can find in the posts that are getting the most engagement, maybe infographics are the key to getting shares, or perhaps its contents where you ask for shares to win prizes. In terms of social media equity, shares are the most valuable currency you can have, keep that in mind when creating content for your audience.
I could post all day, every day, posts about the weather, sports, politics, recipes and more. I am sure some of it would get a lot of engagement… but it probably wouldn’t make sense as I am not Yahoo! Followers of my brand don’t need to know about the weather, they want to know how to improve their marketing metrics, what the newest trends in digital advertising are, how to improve their Google search rankings, etc. Do not post just to get attention, you will wind up losing more followers then you gain. That being said, at times I create content that draws in parallels between timely, relevant “hot” topics and the brands I am working on. See: How to deal with brand backlash, or the many reasons you should love Taylor Swift. In that case I took a very well-known celebrity to draw attention to the post, while tailoring the content to marketing relevancy.
Never forget- social media is supposed to be fun! Never before have we been able to engage in part of a conversation with our customers like we can today. What’s more, as a brand you have a huge opportunity to build upon your current brand equity and make yourself more accessible and human. Find new customers, explore the different elements of your brand and enjoy the process of learning more about yourself and your audience. Cheers!
For more information on how to ace your brands social media marketing, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.