Social media is taking over the world. OK, perhaps not quite, but it is increasingly impacting on our daily lives; from mobilising activists and giving us a sneaky peak into the lives of those on our TV screens, to breaking down the boundaries between Britain’s best-loved brands and those who consume them. What’s more, businesses that are not up to speed on the latest trends are rapidly fading into the background. Ten years ago, social media was an added bonus, something to think about every so often. Today it is a business necessity. As we move into 2013, the demand for creative, timely social-media initiatives has never been greater.
According to a survey by the Neilsen Company of 305 senior decision makers from UK SMEs, only 57% of small businesses currently utilise social media to help market themselves. That said, it predicts that by the end of next year, firms will spend a significant amount of their digital media budgets on online communication, as businesses start to realise the value of these platforms.
There is so much hype around the need for an effective social-media strategy, many businesses can lose sight of the basics and become embroiled in a plan they neither need nor can afford. With more than 15 years of experience in the sector, Damon Segal, co-creator and architect of Telaeo CMS, advises businesses to make sure they cover the basics and implement these ten key points for success.
1. Discuss topics you’re passionate about
Don’t focus conversation on a product or service; instead talk about related topics. For example, instead of talking about selling football kits and accessories, talk about the game itself.
2. Frequency and quality matter
The pace at which you attract followers is based on the frequency and quality of the content you post. Think about the wording of your content – can it be said in a more engaging and creative way?
3. Remember: HOC
Keep your content humorous, opinionated or controversial for maximum engagement and reach.
4. Make things easier on the eye
Visual content will typically gain the highest level of engagement from an audience. Using tools such as Instagram adds value to your social-media efforts, and involves no extra cost.
5. Use statistics and facts
People are more likely to share content that makes them look intelligent; statistics and facts are excellent at increasing reach.
6. Add a question
Adding a question to your social posting will encourage an audience to respond. Useful phrases include: ‘did you know…?’ and ‘have you seen the latest…?’
7. Remember to engage
Always try to engage with your audience and influencers. Social media is not a one-sided conversation; find postings you like and comment on them.
8. Measure effectiveness
Measure what content works best – if a post gets great virality or engagement, create more content along the same lines.
9. Find relevant keywords and hashtags
Remember to tag posts with keywords or hashtags that are relevant to your audience for greater reach. Jump on the bandwagon of current hashtags or keywords; a simple search can reveal these.
10. Use trackable links
Using trackable links where possible (eg bit.ly, ow.ly) will give you a clear picture of effectiveness.