The science of social media - Part 1
By Sarah Vincent - Digital Marketing Executive.
When we chat to businesses about their online presence, it is fair to say that there is usually one of three responses; the first being the glazed-over expression, the second being utter confusion but a plea for help and the third being ultimate enthusiasm from a fellow geek who shares the same passion as me. It’s sad, I know, but it’s a whole other world, and the scary thing is that some people do not realise just how powerful the ‘digi-sphere’ is – yes I did just use that word, I’m ever so cool!
Given that we are dealing with such HUGE topics, it would be rude of me to skim over all of them to shoe horn them into one blog - so stay tuned for more on this topic in the future! Kicking things off has to be two social media platforms, namely Twitter and Facebook, in part 1…
First things first, if you are going to take anything from this blog, it should be this piece of gold dust… Do NOT try to take on all channels of social media if you do not think you can maintain them. Harsh but fair, it is so much better to focus your efforts on one, maybe two social media platforms than to stretch yourself across them all. Updating your channels once in a blue moon could do more damage to your reputation than good. Which platform to choose is completely your decision to make, depending on several factors: where your audience is likely to be, what your business ethos and style is, and which one you, or the person who will be maintaining the account enjoy working on. If they already like doing it, then it will make the job a lot easier, a natural enjoyment will mean better content. What’s my fave? I love Twitter, and I know that there are bound to be people totally disagreeing, but it’s so social! I'm a chatty person, so for me it’s great! But rather than tell you what I think you should choose, why not have a look at my take on Twitter and Facebook to see if they float your boat?
The simplest, yet most detailed of all social media has to be Twitter! Hashtags, tags, trends, mentions, retweets, favourites, follows, replies, the list goes on! And yes, you probably know about all of the aforementioned, but do you use them in the best possible way?
The Favourite button
For instance, did you know that you could use the ‘favourite’ button to create a testimonial page? Rather than using it to ‘like’ an update, you could ‘favourite’ all of the lovely things that are said about your business, then direct people to it when you want to show them what people think of you. It’s a tough one to stick to as you have to break the habit of using the ‘favourite’ button to like random things but it’s worth it.
What about using ‘lists’ - do you make the most of these? Definitely more common than the alternative way of using the favourite button but do you use lists? Trying to keep up to date with your business Twitter feed can be a nightmare, especially if you are following lots of people, so do yourself a favour and break it down – create some categories and separate them into lists. The best thing is that these lists can be public or private so you can develop your ‘wish list’ of suppliers to work with or group your current clients together to ensure that you liaise with them regularly. It’s a really simple thing to do and means you won’t miss out on any of the great tweets that have happened throughout the day or night.
Don’t forget to socialise!
The last nugget of information to share with you is pretty standard, but people forget to do it: Twitter is a social tool so get talking! Do not slip into the trap of only tweeting when you want people to look at your products, or marketing, they will get bored quickly. You need to interact, chat and generally be human – do not be afraid of this, people tweet because they want interaction, so do it! Have fun, it is a social tool, remember!
Good old Facebook – a classic in the modern world, some may say! Facebook is ideal if you’re a little petrified by the concept of social media; stick to the basics and you will be well on your way to becoming a social *digital* butterfly.
Each channel is different
The most important thing is to recognise that every social channel is totally different – do not fall into the trap of thinking you can link your Facebook and Twitter updates because that is a very bad idea. Different audiences, different timings, everything is just different! For updates, two a day is your maximum so think about them wisely, no matter what platform you’re on, do not think it is okay to bombard people with sales pitches, promotions and product shots; it’s not.
Unleashing Facebook’s potential with insights:
Use the handy insights tools that Mr Zuckerberg provided you with on Facebook to know what works best, and at what time. It may feel a little creepy at first but you can get quite Big Brother-esque checking out when people are viewing your page most, how much interaction and engagement you get, and all sorts of wonderful titbits. The reason I’ve just rabbited on about Facebook insights is because you can use this information to schedule your posts at the times when your followers are online, which means higher chances of engagement and of course, better and wider reach. I also just mentioned that you can schedule posts and I'm really surprised at the amount of people that are completely oblivious to this – don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely warm fuzzy feeling watching the pure joy on someone’s face when I tell them they don’t have to manually post everything live, but I tend to take it as a given. It saves you a lot of time!
My final Facebook snippet for you is another simple one… I didn't promise to be a ground-breaking genius, just to help you use Facebook to its full potential - if you’re not doing it already! Images are amazing and people love to have their attention grabbed! Let’s face it, text-only updates are easily missed, and lots of text just doesn't stand a chance; ask yourself, what interests you on Facebook? Would you take extra time out of your day for something that vaguely interests you? We’re all familiar with the saying “a picture can paint a thousand words”, so post an image and add a meme or teeny bit of wording to get your point across and you've just hit the big time!
For now that’s it, especially as I've just pointed out that people don’t have hours to spend reading super blogs! And if it all sounds like just a bit too much work or effort, pass it on to our team, it’s our job to get your social groove on! Keep your eyes peeled for social media – part 2…