We are aware that you may have seen thousands of articles like this on the web but it’s always good to remind yourself of some of the unwritten rules to deal with your social media activity, especially if you are an SME trying to find your way into the social media sphere for the first time.
1. Don’t focus solely on self-promotion:
An obvious one but one that I feel still needs to be said. Don’t just talk about how wonderful your services are. People are engaging with content that they find interesting so give it an angle, much like PR. You need to add value, show your platform to be a source of relevant and worthwhile informational content, and be subtle when talking about what your company does or offers.
2. Don’t turn your back on social interaction:
Especially if you’re a small business. Social media is about maintaining an active community and two-way conversation with like-minded advocates, fellow followers and your brand. Consumers often find social media to be the most efficient tool to express their ideas, questions or complaints about companies. Get involved and build in processes to pass this information on to the right people who can deal with it. The only exception to the rule is where the channel (within the platform) has been set-up for one-way informative soundbite updates for a solo specific purpose. For example, a legal court sending out updates on results from cases as they happen that day, because they can’t be seen to have an opinion.
3. Don’t share your content at random times, but do be consistent:
Timing is important in social media. Find out when your audience is most active or when they are more likely to appreciate your posts. Especially do not ignore weekends or non-business hours. Depending on the platform and the post, these hours could be the most interactive periods for you, where your posts will gain greater tract
4. Don’t ignore the many different ways of communicating:
The web runs on symbols – grouped characters (such as letters and numbers) forming words and data. But people are not algorithmic machines. You need to communicate with people in various communication mediums (Cognitive Communication), to engage with them on all communication levels. You can use images, videos, apps, games, contests, polls, infograph’s, photographs… the possibilities are endless, it just needs excellent imagination; good idea of the technology available; tried and tested common sense; and research (results from your metrics). Some mediums work better in particular platforms than others, for example, Facebook audiences loves the simplicity of imagery. Find the right way to communicate with your followers.
5. Don’t try to be everywhere all at once:
You just can’t manage them all of the time. You will be overstretching your people resources and over-promising to deliver interesting content consistently. Find out which platforms your target audiences are interacting on, and what they are interested in on that platform (‘the Why’- making your content relevant). You will also need to learn about the capabilities of the platforms, and the best social media management software for your needs. If you need to move fast do seek the help of someone who really knows their stuff, such as a tech savvy friend or, better still, a good social media consultant or freelancer. The former will know their stuff but only from their own needs and perspective so they could very well miss the value of a simple capability within a platform. Social media takes time to build results that help adapt a strategy, so speaking with someone who knows their stuff will save you an enormous amount of time and get you your ROI faster in the long-run.
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Kathryn is a Digital Marketing and Communications Specialist with 14+ years in the industry working with SME's and individuals, to corporate and public sector organisations. She is also a mum and one of the pioneers of holistic marketing - digital, consumer convergence. and practical management.