This blog was originally published in Nov. 2016.
Most of today’s population has at least one social media account where they connect with friends and family as well as their favorite brands. In order to reach your audience in a direct and engaging manner, it is vital that your business uses social media to engage as well. If you’re unsure on how to create a social media strategy that connects meaningfully with your customers, keep reading for the steps to success, pitfalls to avoid and several ways to add a little personality into your account.
5 Steps to Get Started on Social Media
The world of social media can be daunting, stressful and chaotic, but extremely rewarding in the end. For many brands, social media marketing is overwhelming, but these simple steps should get you on track to success.
Before you take the plunge and jump into social media marketing for your business, take the time to research your brand’s audience. Are they more likely to be on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or Pinterest? What times of day are they the most active online? What kind of information are they interested in? These are all crucial questions you need to find the answers to in order to make the most out of your social media attempts and connect with your audience.
After you have done your research, it is time to come up with a game plan. Diving headfirst into social media marketing without any sort of plan is like moving without boxes! This step is when you need think about your overall goals for social media, the general messages you plan to communicate, the frequency you update your pages and the time of day your posts go live. After you have a clear vision for your social media, set aside time every week so you can plan and draft your next set of updates. Doing this will ensure that you have fresh content ready for your audience to enjoy at regular, consistent intervals.
Now that you have a plan, sort out your priorities. What tools can you utilize to make your life easier? We recommend scheduling your posts ahead of time. Platforms like HootSuite and SproutSocial allow you to organize your social media updates days or even weeks in advance. Organization is key to keeping stress levels at a minimum.
You are now ready to post your first round of social media updates! Remember not to be discouraged when you don’t see immediate responses. It takes time and consistency to build your audience – at least several months; keep pushing forward and your patience will be rewarded!
How did it go? What could you do next time to make it less stressful? Are there ways you can tweak your updates to better engage with social media users? Take time to reflect on how your campaign is going. What worked last week may not be working this week. New trends are always on the rise and old ones fade into background noise. One thing is for sure: when it comes to social media there’s always room for improvement.
4 Social Media Pitfalls
While the world of social media is extremely rewarding, navigating it can be incredibly difficult and full of pitfalls, much like the 1980’s Atari game, “Pitfall.” In the game, there are many hazards, including pits, quicksand, fire and crocodiles.
For brands navigating the world of social media, there are also a number of potential hazards. Many businesses fall into one of these four danger zones:
1. Lack of Time and Budget for Social Media Activities
Using social media platforms for your business does not have to be expensive or time-consuming. Many brands spread themselves too thin by trying to use every platform. Instead, research and target one or two social media sites that will create the best connection to your customers.
Don’t be afraid to outsource the work to professionals so you can stay focused on what it is you do best – running your business. In fact, Three Girls Media offers cost-effective social media management for brands.
2. No Customer Engagement
Think about the term, “Social media.” “Social” is in the name! These platforms are a fantastic tool to build relationships with customers, but it takes effort on your part to socialize with them. Strike up a conversation to engage with your audience. Don’t broadcast information only about yourself and your business. At Three Girls, we recommend our clients follow the 80/20 rule – 20 percent of the content you share should be self-promotional, while the remaining 80 percent should be fun, interesting, educational content that provides value to your followers and is relevant to your brand. This allows for much more customer engagement and a far more interesting page.
Over-sharing poses a huge risk for potential security issues. Many hackers are targeting employees on social media who post information about themselves and their jobs online, according to The Wall Street Journal. Protect yourself from this by reminding employees of social media best practices and set up clear policies for what kind of information they can share about your company.
4. No Social Networking Plan
Companies need to be strategic about how they use social media. Don’t jump into it without clear goals of what you hope to accomplish. Goals should include everything from the type of content you’ll post to how frequently updates will go out. Write down your desired results and clearly fill in the complete profile on each platform to reinforce your brand.
Remember, while social media can be a great tool, it’s easy to fall into these danger zones and end up wasting valuable time.
Adding Personality into your Social Media with Memes
While you want to avoid the mistakes that can lead to unsuccessful social media management, don’t forget to have fun with your accounts. One way you can engage with your audience is through memes. These funny visual images are constantly shared amongst social media users of all interests.
Although memes are typically surrounded by a bit of snark, there is great potential to create one that caters to your targeted audience. Some terrific memes for business highlight a product or make an industry-related joke that entertains your audience while reinforcing your company; make sure you keep it tasteful and professional. Check out these 4 ways to create a meme for your business.
1. Use a Generator:
Not sure where to start? Meme generators are a quick and easy way to create a meme based on a popular graphic. Sites such as MakeAMeme.org offer users famously used images such as “Success Kid” to create a visual of their choice. Just add a tag line and voila! There’s your meme! Please note that if you do use this method, make sure you understand the cultural context of the meme you’re incorporating into your social media updates and you only post images you have the rights to use in order to avoid any legal issues in the future.
2. Use Your Own Image:
Funny photos from your office can be a great backdrop for a potential meme. From silly moments at the company picnic to the most tiresome task of the day, pictures that relate to others in your industry are a great starting point for engagement. The simplest way to create a meme using this method is to upload the image to a site like Canva and add text to your photo. Add a company logo on a corner of the meme and you are set to share!
3. Tailor Your Words:
Memes tend to be filled with sarcasm that relates to a certain audience. That specific snark-loving audience tends to be between the ages of 18-27. If that’s your target, great! Otherwise, try tailoring your meme’s content to something that relates to your business or industry. Since sarcasm isn’t translated easily over the internet, you don’t need to create a meme full of it to be humorous; it just has to be funny to your followers.
No matter the route you decide to go to create your meme, remember the content should always be short and to the point. Readers should be able to read your meme in a matter of seconds.
Now that we have shed light on how to get started, the dangers you need to avoid and adding personality you are set to begin your social media journey.
Want to read more about using social media marketing for your brand? Check out these other helpful articles on our blog:
- The Beginners Guide to Social Media Terms
- 5 Of The Best Strategies For Building Your Brand Through Social Media Marketing
- Social Media Importance: 5 Reasons Your Brand Needs to Embrace It
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