Unless you’re one of those wealthy entrepreneurs with a penchant for delegation, you probably don’t have much free time during the working week. Most of us are so busy trying to juggle work and family life that we can’t dedicate the hours we need to brand-building on social media. Indeed, even personal posts tend to be rushed – uploading an Instagram photo with a few hashtags, or sending a one-line tweet about a company’s service.
In these time-poor circumstances, social media posts rarely gain much traction. Regardless of clever wordplay or striking visuals, individual posts are unlikely to be seen by more than a fraction of your follower base. Consequently, social media posts can easily fall through the cracks and achieve no impact. This is initially frustrating and ultimately dispiriting, leading many people to assume social media isn’t worth the effort.
In truth, the benefits of a social media presence are minimal in some industries. It’s crucial for the holy trinity of advertising, marketing, and public relations, but less so for other sectors. Vets and solicitors are unlikely to attract significant levels of new custom from social media accounts, since reputation, expertise, and value for money are far greater considerations among prospective clients. Some industries don’t lend themselves to visual content (accountancy and logistics), while others are too technical to offer much photogenic or humorous source material (manufacturing and IT).
Even so, social media posts are important for disseminating news and reacting to events. The first step involves assessing which platform/s offer the most value and sticking to them. Don’t try to maintain accounts on multiple sites, since each one has different timeline algorithms and target audiences. Attempting to manage more than two sites single-handedly tends to lead to confusion and frustration. We’d recommend selecting two from Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook. (You should already have a LinkedIn account, where sporadic engagement won’t unduly damage your presence).
Inconsistent engagement won’t impress other social channels, where daily updates are almost essential. Schedule a few posts in advance of each working week, and react to news stories or trending events as they happen. Different platforms have varying periods of optimal engagement, but midweek lunchtimes and Saturday mornings are generally significant. Rapid and personalised reactions to enquiries or complaints demonstrate commitment and proactive nature, and even negative feedback may ultimately generate a positive legacy if it’s handled appropriately. Don’t use social accounts to give audiences a hard sell – instead, offer bespoke advice and recommendations.
Social media posts will drown in an ocean of competing content unless you use relevant hashtags, or @ relevant individuals. Try to start discussions and debates with key influencers in your market or niche, to attract relevant followers who will pay attention to your subsequent posts. Publish original insights, opinions or advice, ideally incorporating graphics, as posts with an accompanying video or JPG achieve far higher engagement, and are more likely to be shared or reposted. The same is true of keywords, which can be researched using platforms like Google Analytics and used sparingly. Humour and self-deprecation go a long way, especially when commenting on third-party content. This is far more effective than just ‘liking’ it.
Finally, invest time and money in social media monitoring tools. There are plenty of analytics packages used to identify the reach and response achieved by individual posts. This helps to point out where to target resources, and how to optimise the effectiveness of individual posts. Rewrite and reshare content across multiple outlets, with prominent links to social accounts on every web page and email signature.