As the digital landscape continues to evolve at warp speed, it’s no surprise that more and more brands are racing to establish a strong social media presence. If done right, the benefits can be huge - increased brand recognition, more clients or customers, and long-term brand advocates. What brand wouldn’t want that?
Unfortunately it’s not quite so simple, and there are several key considerations to take into account if you want to set your brand up for social media success. Here are five ways to spruce up your social media strategy and credibly establish your brand in an immensely cluttered space.
1. Be Selective
While it might be tempting to sign up for every social media platform available, resist the urge. When you’re starting off, it’s imperative that you choose one or two platforms that most align with your brand identity and will reach the right audience. It’s better to do one thing really well versus try everything half-way. Which brings me to my next point.
2. One Size Does Not Fit All
Each social media platform serves a distinct purpose. This is why you need to do your research, get a solid grasp of where your target audience spends their time, and is in line with your company tone of voice, then execute accordingly. Are you a food or fashion brand with impeccable visuals to share? Instagram could be a great way to engage with current and prospective customers. On the other hand, if you’re a large organization looking to establish your senior executives as thought leaders, LinkedIn and company blogs are excellent platforms to share short opinion pieces. The key takeaway is to be authentic and leverage channels or platforms that are the right fit for your business needs.
3. Consistency is Key
If there’s one thing I’ve seen repeatedly in my career, it’s the propensity for brands to come barrelling out of the gate with solid content and posts, only to vanish to the sidelines shortly thereafter. Consistency really is the name of the game, and you need to establish a comprehensive content plan or calendar and be resolute in sticking to a schedule. A PR partner can help you map out a short-term or long-term content plan that will position your brand favourably and help you achieve your core business objectives.
One other common mistake is not engaging with your audience. All too often brands will push out great content but then fail to interact with the individuals who are taking time to like, comment and share. In some cases, they simply forget this important step, and in others, they are afraid of connecting with their audience ‘on the fly’ and avoid it at all costs. However, to build a lasting relationship with your audience, and hopefully develop brand advocates in the process, you need to be prepared to engage in real-time. Set aside a few minutes daily to scan for relevant conversations and any commentary on your posts, and respond accordingly.
5. Have a Crisis Plan
Of course, the challenge with social media is that with the good, comes the bad. Of course there will be negative comments from time to time - that’s a reality of the digital landscape. Don’t take offense, and use it as an opportunity to either reinforce your company’s position, or in the case of failure or error in judgement, to apologize for your company’s misdeeds. Getting ahead of the news cycle is more important than ever. Ideally your organization has a crisis communications plan in effect - social media should certainly be accounted for within that plan. Again, engaging your PR agency to help develop and implement a crisis plan can help protect your brand reputation when you need to most.
Results rarely appear overnight. Patience is perhaps the best piece of advice I can impart. One of the main reasons brands give up on social media is because they are not seeing the immediate return on investment. While boosting select posts can certainly improve the odds of people seeing and interacting with your content over the short-term, it is not necessarily a viable (or authentic) long-term solution for your social media platforms. Truly authentic content and engagement takes time to yield maximum results.
The bottom line? By staying true to your brand, strategically selecting which platforms make sense for your company and audience, sticking to a schedule, engaging with your followers and having a crisis plan in place (just in case!), you will be far more likely to grow a loyal following that will stick with you through thick and thin.