Few entrepreneurs would dream of starting a company without also establishing a website, but the same should also apply to social media platforms. Building social media accounts has arguably become as crucial to corporate success as having a contact email address. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter perform multiple roles including advertising, communications, and customer service. Used wisely, they’re also free.
However, building social media accounts requires considerable effort and time – something many small business owners lack. The algorithms powering social platforms have a voracious appetite for new content, without which new accounts fail to take off. And building audience engagement is so challenging it’s become a career – one leading UK recruitment website is currently advertising 8,330 vacancies for positions with ‘social media’ in the job title.
Fortunately, it’s possible to compartmentalise the job of building social media accounts. These are UK2’s tips for establishing an effective social presence without it consuming the entire working week:
Decide which platforms are relevant – and ignore the rest
There are dozens of English-language social media platforms which deserve consideration, but few will deliver a suitable return on investment. Consider how each platform works – Snapchat’s messages vanish after 24 hours, which is frustrating if you’ve spent hours lovingly creating new content. Obvious choices include Facebook for its user base, and Twitter for its immediacy. Firms in visual industries should also consider YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest. Also, don’t forget LinkedIn – most UK adults have profiles here, and there’s relatively little spam or obnoxious behaviour.
Firing out social media posts indiscriminately without defined objectives is rarely effective. Marketing experts recommend setting SMART goals – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. One example of this might involve inviting a dozen young people to sign up for free product trials within a one-month period. Measurable objectives help to guide actions (and interactions) on social platforms, such as targeting particular audience demographics.
Create a repository of content
Do this before launching a business, as there’ll be numerous other demands on your time once orders or bookings start rolling in. Use platforms like Google AdWords and Google Analytics to identify relevant keywords, incorporating one several times into each blog or social article. Micro-blogging platforms like Twitter require brevity, so conduct a similar analysis on hashtags. Topical content always achieves more engagement, but unique insights and expert commentary are also valuable for building social media accounts.
Repurpose content across multiple platforms
Write a lengthy Reddit post in an engaging and confident tone, then cut it down and reword it slightly for Instagram. Next, do the same for Facebook and again for Twitter. Changing a couple of words in each sentence lets you post the same message across multiple platforms with minimal effort. It also offers scope for several inbound links to your website or other online presence, such as a Facebook page. Search engines regard inbound links as a key factor when assessing a website’s relevance for results pages.
Build relationships, not follower numbers
When people follow your brand, don’t just follow them back or periodically ‘like’ a status update. Relevant and personalised responses to their posts often inspire conversations, helping to ensure they’ll see your future updates and posts. Don’t assume everyone who follows you sees everything you do since timeline/recommended follower algorithms on the main social platforms are complex and biased in favour of active users. If posts are achieving no engagement, don’t keep firing them out unless your main focus is on generating inbound links and associating yourself with hashtags. It might even be worth asking for expert help.