Last month, I had the honor of speaking to the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) during their February professional development luncheon, where I delivered the presentation, #LoveisBlind. Appropriately titled (V’s Day is in February, get it?), my presentation centered around creating fan love for your brand via social media. We had a laugh or two about #famousfails, but ultimately wrapped up with my top five tips to conquering social media and creating a loyal following for your personal brand or professional organization. And in the name of love, I wanted to share a quick overview of my top to-dos when it comes to the world of social marketing.
1. Set Your Intentions
Social media can oftentimes be an after-thought; something you give to your intern or your teenage daughter to manage. But, if you integrate it with your overall marketing strategy, it can be quite a useful (and free) tool. Begin by setting some clear (and realistic) objectives. Getting specific about what you want to achieve when using social media can help put your use of it into perspective. In terms of engagement goals, who are your followers and what do they want to see? Remember that if everyone is your customer, no one is your customer. Examples of quantifiable goals may be to increase likes or followers over a specific allotted time.
But how do you put these goals into action? A strategic go-to-market plan can help. Pre-plan a social calendar or make a point to have a weekly posting goal – based on your current and target audience, of course. At least 4x a week for 3 – 6 months of consistent posting comes into play when structuring and crafting your digital presence. Remember to be patient and pragmatic. Increasing fans from 100 to 1,000 in a month is not realistic.
2. Passion Is Purpose With Personality
So, you’ve identified your target audience and set some goals. But what to post? Ask yourself, what are the top values as a business? Or perhaps the top 5 most relevant content categories? If you’re an individual just starting to freelance, what are 4-6 of your passions that you want to communicate in your personal brand? For example, say you’re a freelance illustrator who specializes in food illustration. Your drawings and “work-in-progress” shots could be a category. Staged food snapshots could be your inspiration and so on. Another way to think of social media is to think of it as storytelling – and you control the storyline. In terms of posting and content, understand that consistency creates comfort. When followers have an idea of what type of content you’ll posting, they’ll be more inclined to pay you a visit.
3. Community Rules of Engagement
Social media is not a one-way street, recognize that it’s a virtual dialogue between brands and individuals. Having social interaction with your followers and/or people that you follow is important. Many times, it’s more than simply liking photos. Try to leave a comment, or better yet, a compliment every once and awhile on other’s profiles to show appreciation and engage in a convo. Follow people back. Don’t be needy!
You may be wondering, how (and how often) should I respond to my follower’s comments? In true fan love fashion, it’s always a good idea to give them a pat on the back. If someone reposts something you put out there and credits you, say thank you in the comments or like their photo. Remember that not all comments are going to be positive, and that’s OK. Be mindful of how you respond to negative commentary and grow a thick skin. Here at MOD, we like to think, if you’re not pissing someone off, you’re probably not doing anything meaningful.
Ahhh, the #hashtag. If you understand how to use them, they can be a great advantage, especially for those who are trying to build a following. When someone clicks on a hashtag, every post that includes the same hashtag will automatically show up. In terms of branding, this is can be extremely valuable. Audiences looking for specific content are more likely to see your posts under the hashtag you’re tagging it with. Strategically, it’s a great way to group your content, to find that niche so you’re able to thrive and for eager consumers to find your posts. When using a hashtag, be mindful of the CTA (call to action). With every post, there should be a goal. #Ohmygoshicantbelieveimdoingthis versus using keywords that are related to your industry are crucial and will be the difference between getting noticed or being overlooked. Lastly, don’t overuse them! Although it’s personal preference and you’re able to use 30 in a single post, aesthetically, it’s not worth it. In terms of etiquette, you appear desperate. Quality over quantity, my friends.
5. No #Lazy Posting
If your business is using more than one social media platform, tailor content based on the social outlet – do not always post identical content simultaneously and everywhere (HUGE pet peeve of mine). Examples of how to switch it up may be to use different messaging, snap a photo from a different angle, post on a different day of the week, etc. Use a scheduling tool like Hootsuite to schedule out your posts. If someone is following you on all channels, they should not see an omnipresent post.
Finally, don’t overthink social media. Be as strategic as you can, but at the end of the day, remember to be conversational, let your personality shine through and of course, #havefun. Want to learn more about social? Check out Lauren’s post and be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. And of course, feel free to contact our studio if you’d like to chat.
Maria is the President and Creative Director of the award-winning agency, The MOD Studio. Her repertoire includes more than a decade of experience developing successful advertising and branding campaigns for local and national clients. Her work has earned 16 ADDY awards & 27 American Graphic Design Awards. Maria is also a featured writer for elite publications such as Entrepreneur Magazine, Texas CEO Magazine and the Austin Business Journal.
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