by Stephen Moore, writer and marketing consultant supporting businesses in the commercial property sector. Find out more about Stephen at Google+ and at www.stephenmoore.co.
Most businesses start out using social media with all the wrong intentions. The only problem is they don’t realise this until things don’t seem to be going well.
These days it’s simply not enough to just put out messages on Facebook or Twitter and expect something to happen. All social media platforms differ greatly when it comes to the type of message you post. That means you can’t just post the same messages everywhere and hope you get a level of interaction with your audience.
So what SHOULD you be doing?
Firstly, agree what you want to say on each of your chosen platforms and then plan the content accordingly. As with all things marketing, it’s important to measure your success. Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook provide valuable measurement tools to see just how successful each message has been.
One of the biggest frustrations facing business centre marketing teams is the lack of time to do social media really well. To help this there are platforms like Tweetdeck, Sprout Social or Hootsuite that provide easy to use scheduling for your messages. Generally free at entry level, these platforms are scalable at a small monthly fee.
And what SHOULDN’T you be doing?
Here are seven ways to review your current performance, focusing on the main “do’s” and “don’ts” of social media marketing. If you’re just getting started, make sure you keep these points in mind before you do anything. Each of the seven points has a quick fix TOP TIP to help move things forward without spending lots of money.
- Avoid spreading yourself too thinly
A common mistake made by many businesses is to have several social media platforms on the go at the same time and use each one in the same way or inconsistently. Big mistake!
Each platform is different and requires different content most of the time. As audiences differ on each platform it’s important to remember to firstly understand who your audience is, and what content they like to see.
TOP TIP – Pick 2 social media platforms suitable for your brand and only add more when you have these working well.
- Don’t start without a social media strategy
First things first, right? Well the sad fact is that many businesses don’t have a robust social media strategy. Which means if you haven’t defined what or why you are doing social media in the first place, are you really going to see the results you think you are looking for?
TOP TIP – Take some time to establish what your social media aims and objectives are. Then agree what result you are looking for. It might be brand building, sales leads or increased site traffic to your blog.
- Don’t talk AT the audience
Look through your Twitter feed and just add up how many businesses Tweet “buy me” messages. If you ask them how many of these messages generate actual leads they would be hard pressed to tell you anything above zero.
You can tell people what you sell, just not all the time. Your audience will be engaged when they receive content they want to read. By building trust through good content you develop the possibility of a future lead or referral.
TOP TIP – Start a blog aimed at capturing additional traffic to your site. Each blog entry should have clear “call to actions” to encourage further site page visits and a form to capture potential leads when they convert.
- Avoid publishing messages with no clear engagement
Many companies actually try very hard to put out a regular level of content but many really struggle to achieve an acceptable level of engagement. It is a waste of time to compile great content but fail to engage your audience.
Much of the problem is down to poor timing, poor use of links and hash tags and content that’s simply boring or poorly written. Search #servicedoffices or #workspace on Twitter and see how many Tweets are sales based and how many offer something useful for free!
TOP TIP – Understand when your audience are receptive to your content. Social Media is a 24/7 channel and your audience may be online at weekends or in the evening when your office is closed.
- Are you only social when it suits you?
Big gaps in output and lengthy quiet periods do nothing for your brand and tell the audience you are not that serious about social media. This can often be down to poor planning and a lack of good content.
TOP TIP – It’s quite easy to use a free or low cost platform to schedule your messages like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck. They are simple to use and take the pain out of the process of covering your channels when you are not in the office.
- Don’t forget to treat Social Media as a conversation
Time and again companies simply post content and think that’s it. It’s not. Comments and messages need a response from you, especially if a customer or prospect asks a question. So it’s vital the channels are monitored. Good news, Twitter and Facebook provide email notifications to prompt you to respond.
TOP TIP – Make someone in the office responsible for monitoring your channels throughout the day. It only takes a few minutes and should be seen as an important channel for brand development and customer engagement.
- Failing to add a “call to action”
Are you doing all the above but failing to see outcomes from the content? It’s usually down to a lack of a “call to action”. Think about what you want your audience to do next. For instance if you are promoting a new blog, make sure the blog page has a lead capture form or routes to other parts of your site including additional useful content and even products.
TOP TIP – Simply review the journey your audience will take when they click on the Tweet link. Look at it as someone coming to the site for the first time. Is it clear what to do next? Can I share the content? Can I read another article? What else do you do?
Social media is a great way to engage with your target audience. Your content can really hit the mark quickly as the majority of posts are seen on mobile devices. By adopting these seven tips you should go some way to see an improvement in your overall social media performance.