Social Media 101
by Rhea James Fox
Learning how to best use social media to engage your audience, create a following or inspire a social change movement can be overwhelming. Below are some best-practice tips for social media to help you get the most impact with the least output.
Know your audience
Get really clear on the audience you need to target and what networks they hang out on. Spend some time researching who they follow, their top influencers, and what content they engage most with. See what posts your target audiences like and comment on. Pay attention to how they are communicating with similar brands and organisations. Keep in mind what time of the day and week they are most engaged.
The key to engaging social content is to always deliver value. Every post needs to have ‘value-adding’ as the underlying intention - what can you offer your audience? Can you create value for them through engaging imagery, new information, thought provoking questions, heart-felt stories?
Remember, it’s not about you or what your audience can offer or do for you, it’s always about what you can offer them.
If you’re a start-up or have a small team, commit to one or two social platforms only. You don’t need to use or master every one of them! That will most often end up being counter-productive as your time and resources will be spread too thin.
Offer quality content
Step back and think about creating posts that offer solutions to your audience’s problems. Consider sharing valuable information based on their interests.
Social media is social. People like seeing and hearing about people. The most successful accounts engage people, not products. If people engage with you, spend time and resource engaging back by liking or replying to their comments or sharing content they have shared with you. Make sure your audience feels heard and appreciated at all times.
You can tie in self-promotion and testimonials, but balance them with posts that only provide value and don’t aim to promote your business.
You have more quality content to share than you think. To make it easier for you, you can also re-purpose content across multiple platforms. For example, sharing your blog posts on both Facebook and Instagram.
Write copy that cuts through the noise
Speak to your audience like you would if you were speaking to them in person- use simple, conversational and personal language. Focus on clarity, personality and resonance. Keep copy clear and simple - no fancy words are required! Cut out words you don’t need and step back and think, could absolutely anyone understand this?
Copy doesn’t need to be overly formal to be professional. Remember, to have personality your copy needs to sound like an actual person.
Resonate with your audience in the way that matters most to them. Start in your readers’ head, not in yours. Use the words they use. The best copy answers what your audience wants, not what you think is important.
Spin it your way
Stay true to your voice, values and mission. Share your brand personality in a way that feels right to you. The most successful brands don’t sound or look like every other brand in their sphere. They use their unique voice and offerings to their advantage. Some use imagery, some use hashtags, some ask questions - and some don’t use any of these. You don’t need to do it all. Try a few different ways of engaging with your audience and see what they respond best to.
It’s important to keep at it. For example, blog at least every fortnight or post on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn a minimum of 3 times a week. Platforms such as Twitter and Pinterest are more fast moving so tweet 10 times a week, and pin 20 times per week. You can use also use scheduling platforms like Hootsuite to schedule in posts in advance, so you don’t need to think about it every day.