Recently I have written a kind of social media audit for a friend of mine that is starting up her own business and I have come across a few things that seem logical to me, but to someone that only uses social media as a promotional tool for their business may seem rather alien. It is very easy for a start up company (or any company for that matter) to get social media wrong and it is vital they don’t alienate their audience before they have even had a chance to engage with them. I have put together 5 points that all companies and first time social media goers should remember before posting.
It’s all well and good posting frequently but if all your doing is broadcasting your audience is going to lose interest rapidly. Your posts need to have a purpose, why are you posting? to inform? inspire? humour? What ever your message you need to know what it is you’re trying to say and not just bombard your audience with tweets and Facebook posts about your company, it gets boring. Fast. A social media account that is all me me me will soon be one with diminishing followers. Yes – keep your followers up to date with whats going on within the company but also give them something else to read other than whats going on in your company. It is OK to re-tweet and use posts from other sources. In fact it shows wider industry knowledge if you do.
Don’t just post – respond. This is the best way to engage. Social media is a 2 way street and it’s the easiest way for your customers to connect and form a relationship with your brand. Don’t ignore them! I’m not saying be online 24/7 and respond straight away but do take time out of your day to reply to people and encourage more interaction, this is the only way your brand presence will grow in the world of social media.
One key thing to remember is although social media is ‘social’ you are still posting as your brand and not as yourself. Stay professional! Arranging to go for a coffee with Sally from down the road on your company account is not professional and will look amateurish. This isn’t to say don’t have fun with social – please do, but remember this is the voice of your company!
Nothing screams ‘Don’t share my posts’ like spelling mistakes. You wouldn’t publish an advert into the public domain without proof reading it, so why do it on social media? Spelling and grammar mistakes can make your business look sloppy. Make sure you check everything before it goes out and always remember, ‘A live tweet is a helium balloon in an open field — within seconds, it’s long gone.‘ As I said before social media is just another voice of the company make sure you’re coming across right and using the right tone.
Keep up to date with not just industry news but with current general news stories. This will allow you to tap into trending stories and give your opinion (be careful not be too controversial). Don’t just post about the latest news stories and trends, social media can be your research tool to find out these things. Make sure you are following influential people within your industry, for example, if you are a vintage clothing company don’t just follow fashion related accounts following anything and everything to do with vintage, furniture, hair, decor, events, bloggers. You will not only be able to find out whats going on in the wider industry you will have access to valuable information your followers will enjoy!
Don’t just post sporadically; have a plan! If you have an event coming up make sure you plan out your social media activity to create excitement. I know you’re excited that your new product is launching soon but I’m sorry to tell you, your customers probably aren’t as excited so bombarding them with posts about the event will not do anything but annoy them! Give them the information they need and remind them frequently (not in every post), build the anticipation and excitement, in the end they’ll be just as excited as you are!
Real time posts are a great way to keep your followers up to date with all the office antics and exciting news but for those slow news days scheduled posts are a god send! By taking an hour or so out of your week to schedule in 3 -4 tweets a day and 2-3 Facebook posts for the coming week you can make sure your social media is buzzing without you having to touch a thing! This is great for an up and coming launch or event in which there is a countdown or even just to make sure you have a constant stream of information going out to your followers. There are lots of social media scheduling software out there that can be downloaded for free to have a look around and see which one will be best for you. It is important to remember though that scheduled posts cannot replace interaction you still need to respond to posts to you so don’t forget to check in throughout the week.