How to get the best out of social media

 In business, Marketing

Social media began as nothing but fun and hopefully, it still is fun, even if it’s also your job.  For businesses, however, it’s also a serious marketing tool and so it’s important to use it properly.  With that in mind, here are some tips to help. Whilst right now may be a time of flux for many businesses, it’s a great time to get on top of your social media strategy.

Keep the end in mind at all times

You can only work towards a goal if you know what that goal is, so start by defining what it is you want to achieve through social media and make sure that this goal is reflected in every decision you make.  It’s fine to update those goals as circumstances change but allow yourself a reasonable length of time to achieve them before you do.  Remember, success on social media takes time to achieve, especially if you’re on a limited budget.

Define and implement a way to measure your results

Likes, comments and shares are all very well (although some platforms are now disabling or limiting them, at least in some situations), but at the end of the day, engagement by itself does not progress your business, let alone pay your bills.  You, therefore, need to find a way to measure whether or not your strategy is actually delivering a meaningful return on your investment by driving you toward your business goals.

Start with one platform (and expand later as appropriate)

Here’s how social media works.  You start at zero.  You create great content and promote it actively through sponsored posts and/or outreach (preferably both, but that depends on your budget).  Bit by bit, you build up a following and at some point, you will reach enough of a following that you can stop pushing for growth and focus on maintaining the relationships you have built, letting organic growth take care of itself.  When you have reached that point, you may wish to try developing a presence on another platform but wait until then.

Choose your platform(s) wisely

When choosing your social media platforms, you need to think both about what you can do and what you want to do, and you need to be very realistic about the former.  In particular, be aware that video content is extremely resource-intensive, especially if you’re producing it for a business.  You may be able to get away with filming it on a smartphone, but you will need a tripod, lights and microphones.  Then you will need the tools and knowledge to turn the raw footage into a watchable video and that is usually the real challenge of video production.

Realistically, unless you already know your way around video production or have plenty of budget, it probably makes more sense to stick to platforms where you can leverage images and words, spoken or written.  The good news is that’s just about all of them, so you still have plenty of diverse options from which to choose the one which suits you best.

Learn your platform(s)

While the general principles of social media apply across all platforms, each platform has its own specific rules and characteristics.  You must stay within the rules (and triple-check these if you’re planning on running competitions or giveaways) and it’s usually very much to your benefit to recognize their specific characteristics and work within them. 

For example, there’s no rule on Instagram which says you must post in portrait format, but if you do, your image will fill the whole screen, whereas if you post in landscape, there is a lot of white space at the top and bottom.  It’s therefore generally considered preferable to go with portrait format unless you have a really compelling reason for using landscape.

Understand the basics, the etiquette and some simple do’s and don’ts – if you’re not sure what these are, read through my other blogs or please give me a shout, as always, I’m happy to help.

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