“#JustWingIt” - said, no social media manager ever

If you want customers and potential ones to interact with your brand you need an effective social media strategy. That’s the way to let them know what you do and what you stand for. That’s the big difference between social media and traditional marketing approaches; it makes your brand, well, social.

It’s startling how many businesses think social media is something they can “wing”. Perhaps it’s because most of us use social in our personal lives and assume it’s just about posting pictures or hitting retweet. That couldn’t be futher from the truth. Using social media for business requires an acute understanding of the different platforms, their algorithms, and how best to leverage them to achieve your results. It’s a fusion of marketing, PR, analytics and tech, and to get it right you need a strategy. That takes time, but if you skimp on it then all that effort fine-tuning your business plan, financial models, people strategy etc., will be wasted. So, where do you start?

Define your audience and identify where they live online

Knowing your customer and where they’re active on social media is paramount. Are you looking for young digital natives, people for whom social has always been there? If so, Snapchat and Instagram are essential. For senior executives LinkedIn will be key. You need to study your analytics and the demographics of your followers to make educated decisions.

Quality not quantity

Churning out meaningless content is anti-social. Monopolising people’s feeds with junk content leads only to the unfollow button. Be clear about the content that represents your business, and make sure it’s fit for purpose. Identify the features that work for you; it could be Facebook Live, Instagram TV, Twitter takeovers, Snapchat Filters, LinkedIn Blogs - the list is endless.

Be reactive, topical, and bold

When Nike signed controversial kneeling American footballer, Colin Kaepernick, it was a big risk, but one which paid off. The campaign went viral prompting a 31% surge in sales, record engagement, and increased brand loyalty. Being reactive can be much more local and niche but equally powerful. Comment on what’s happening in your community and make your statement.

Use it to listen

Your social channels are customer service conduits. Most consumers reach out to brands on social so being ready to respond is crucial to your organic strategy. Don’t be the social equivalent of that person at the party who only talks about themselves, who doesn’t ask you any questions and who doesn’t listen to you. Brands that do well engage in two-way conversations.

Develop your brand personality and tone of voice

Show people your brand personality. Educate, inspire and entertain your audience. Be subtle; promoting your service without being too in-your-face is crucial and if your posts are too promotional Facebook will show them to fewer people.

Take a look at KFC’s Twitter page, where the Colonel follows eleven people - the five Spice Girls and six guys named Herb. Eleven Herbs and Spices – geddit? The Colonel’s secret recipe has been an ongoing topic of conversation for KFC fans so this little hint created significant responses in a fun and entertaining way.

Do consider influencers

Building relationships with influencers who reach your target audience and clearly align with your brand identity doesn’t have to break the bank. The industry is seeing a massive shift towards the micro-influencer, who perhaps has fewer followers than the million + of Love Island stars, but they are loyal and attentive. Always remember to be clear when a social partnership is a gift exchange or paid for.

Consider a mix of paid and organic social

Social ad platforms are brilliant at allowing you to be highly targeted helping you to reach relevant prospects based on their activity, location, interest, age and more. Ads are ideal for promoting a major piece of content or to reach beyond the organic (unique accounts that see your content without the use of paid for promotional tools) although understand also that your organic social strategy has to work well for ads to be effective.

If this all sounds too onerous or time-consuming, we’re here to help so why not call for a chat about how your social media can really work for your business?

For more information, visit virtubrands.com, ring VirtuBrands on 01908 382 848 or follow @VirtuBrands.

Ashanti Akabusi, Director at VirtuBrands Media Ltd
Ashanti Akabusi, Director at VirtuBrands Media Ltd