We all use social media in life – and with varying degrees of success. But when it comes to using it for business, are there ways you could do so more effectively? Here are five tips from a panel discussion hosted by Headspace, the London-based events and flexible working space firm.
The rise of social media has transformed options for small businesses, because you don’t need a huge budget to make an impact – just creativity, according to Eva Keogan of Home of Social. Word of mouth is one of the most effective marketing tools, so if you want to get noticed and talked about, you have to be creative and innovative. Be bold and don’t be afraid to push boundaries.
UNDERSTAND YOUR AUDIENCE
Monitoring the behaviour of your customers is important. How do they use Twitter, for example? Study the hashtags they are using and get involved in the conversations where appropriate. Remember: using mentions, pictures and links can dramatically increase engagement.
PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE
It is essential that, as well as being reactive, you also have a proactive strategy. Consider developing a social media content calendar and keep in mind any upcoming events you might have.
Kaitlin McKay from We Are Social suggests using tools like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule “planned reactives” to ensure there are no awkward silences on your pages.
THINK ABOUT THE LEGALITIES
On social media, everyone is a publisher, and the same libel laws apply to the internet as to newspapers.
Joel Vertes of law firm Olswang advises that if you’re growing in size, you should consider implementing a social media policy and draft guidelines for brand tone of voice. He recommends training key employees on how to respond appropriately to online complaints and suggests preparing a crisis response strategy in the event that social media activity threatens to damage your reputation.
BRAND PAGES & KEEP IT NOVEL
Alison Batissby from Avocado Social warns that companies often fail to brand their pages appropriately. The public are increasingly sophisticated users of social media, have a low tolerance for poor branding – and can be turned off very easily. So change your banner and cover images regularly to keep it fresh.
ESTABLISH TONE OF VOICE
Batissby highlights advice offered by Bruce Daisley of Twitter UK, who said that your tone of voice should be fun, helpful or informative, adding that whatever you opt for must be meaningful to your audience.
You should establish your tone of voice in the “about us” section of individual platforms, and optimise language for SEO purposes to ensure people find you. Batissby also advises being a bit playful – but only if it suits your brand. You don’t want to give the impression that you don’t take your customers’ concerns seriously.
All leading social media platforms have their own built-in analytics tools, so make use of them. Take the time to see what works and what doesn’t, which of your posts get the most engagement or shares, and publish more posts along the same lines.
SIGN UP TO NEWSLETTERS AND WEBSITES
Finally, keep up to date with the latest social media news and keep ahead of the crowd. I recommend setting up Google alerts and signing up to websites like Mashable and Feedly.