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Social Media tips and pitfalls

Andy Topps
Andy Topps24.08.2016

Social media marketing can be a struggle if you’re splitting your time between fulfilling your actual daily role and trying to engineer tangible social media results – your new job title is now a “digital juggling marketing executive”! Unfortunately, social media is another by-product of a new wave of “digital media” born out of the internet that also includes websites, podcasts, blogs and online video to name but a few and depending on the complexity of your company’s route to market you could be expected to have a proficient production and delivery knowledge in many of these areas . However, whether you have the almighty task of managing the most relevant social media platforms for your business or you are fortunate enough to be part of dedicated social media team, there are some fairly obvious do’s and a few humorous don’ts!

1. Market Research – Find out exactly where your target market hangs out, when they are most active and what they are saying. There are many tools available to the marketer that identify the most effective times of the day to reach your audience.

2. Limit the number of social media platforms that you are managing. Stick to managing the ones your target markets are most active on. Research the benefits of other networks sparingly and don’t let the hype of a new platform soak up your time.

3. Develop a content strategy. Good content allows you to deliver fresh comment and move away from traditional “interrupt marketing”. Content requires a strategy, a production schedule with designated authors and engaging topics that encourage readers to return. Find ways to cover your content bases with an effective content plan that includes both verbal and visual content. If you’re solely responsible for your organisation’s social media, schedule small portions of your day to post messages and respond to comments. For further information on effective content marketing.

4. Think beyond the written word – Content assets include images, videos, printed word and audio. When you have an idea for what you want to communicate, you may find that one format will serve your audience better than another.

5. Don’t be boring! Amuse, amaze and inspire – don’t take pictures of food unless you’re in the business or comment on the weather – nobody is interested and it’s likely to be a gloomy outlook anyway!

6. Stuck for something to say? Use “bookmarking” tools to create lists of content rich sites and follow specific hash tags that relate to your industry. Join industry related groups in LinkedIn for example and become a regular contributor. Many social media platforms provide useful analytics; Facebook for example allows you to see which of your posts were most popular and “repurposing” popular content is a strategy used by many organisations. Remember that posting comments every now and again isn’t a strategy and simply tells your audience that you have nothing of value for them.

7. Include calls to action in your posts, tweets, blogs etc. Examples of calls to action include: click here, sign-up today, enrol here and most importantly “like” or “share” due to its viral nature.
Don’t chase engagement! There is nothing more annoying than constant requests to be liked or followed. “Follow me and I follow back” is perhaps the most annoying profile on Twitter. Social media is about quality, not quantity. Facebook in particular is now reducing the reach to your fans in an attempt to push you to “pay to promote” through boosted posts and promoted pages so quantity of followers will soon become irrelevant.

8. Use a social media management platform that allows you to deliver posts to multiple platforms and follow specific hash tags and user streams.

9. Don’t automate too much, it takes away the human element and causes people to stop following you. Make sure messages are also relevant to the platform – there’s nothing worse than seeing sharp, punchy statements designed for Twitter littering Facebook although we’ll reserve judgment given Facebook’s recent Hash tag introduction!

10. Think about social media advertising. Social media platforms are now being used as search engines and many of the leading platforms offer advertising opportunities which are less expensive and more targeted than traditional channels.
Tip: If your analytics tell you that your target market is accessing your site via a mobile device, consider using Promoted Tweets or Promoted Posts / Sponsored Stories that appear in a viewer’s News Feed as opposed to Facebook Ads that appear in the right sidebar.

11. Offer subscriptions to online newspapers. Delivering daily or weekly articles and news to inboxes is a highly effective strategy and allows your target market to receive a one-stop shop of aggregated, industry related news.

12. Make sure you have a suitable mobile device or tablet. Many of your best social media moments will come when you’re out of the office.

13. Monitor your success. Most social platforms provide an abundance of information which can help measure ROI. The key is to understand what information is available before setting the measurement goals and keep it simple.

14. Insensitivity – A tragic event should not be the platform for a company’s reputation to plummet. Last July, tragedy struck Aurora, Colorado when a man opened fire at a crowded movie theatre. The following morning the National Rifle Association posted a tweet reading, “Morning Shooters- Happy Friday! Weekend plans?” Think before you post!

15. Social media gives your business the opportunity to have a strong, unique voice. Be open, insightful and funny – whatever you feel your business should embody but have a personality. Don’t forget social media is about being interactive and taking an interest in people’s views and opinions.

If you are struggling to make meet your company’s social media objectives and would like to discuss Vital’s range of social media support packages, please contact Andy Topps on 0333 241 9301

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