With social networks an integral part of people’s daily lives, having a presence on at least one social media network is a must for any company. More than two-thirds of American adults regularly use social networking sites as part of their daily lives and social media accounts for almost 30% of a person’s online time – that’s a large audience you can’t afford not to capture.
Your social media presence is an important marketing and public relations tool; these five strategies can help you make sure you’re using that tool effectively and efficiently.
1. Create a Social Media Plan
Don’t leave your social media presence to chance; take the time to create a plan that will serve as a guide for your company with regards to how you approach social media.
Define Your Audience
Audience is important; with millions of people on social networks, you need to decide who you’re trying to reach, as this will affect what platforms you choose to be on, as well as influencing your content and voice. For example, Facebook’s users trend older, while Twitter and Instagram trend younger. So, if your intended audience is younger, then a strong presence on Facebook may not serve your needs.
Who are your app’s current and potential users? That’s your primary audience. Be aware, though, that if your company develops multiple apps, that may then translate into more than one audience you’ll need to target with your content. In addition, when it comes to branding, you may have a broader audience for your company overall when compared to the more specific audiences for your app. If you do find you have multiple audiences, make sure your social media is regularly speaking to all of them.
Define Your Voice
The next step is to decide on your company’s social media tone and voice and then be sure to stick to it on all platforms. If you’re slightly irreverent on Twitter, you want to carry that over to Facebook, Instagram, etc. The one possible exception to this rule, particularly if you’ve decided on a more casual tone, is LinkedIn. Because of its purpose and its users, you may want to maintain a slightly more “business” tone there. You can still let some of your social media persona shine through, but keep it more professional.
Over time, this will create an online “persona” for your company. This persona can and will have a direct effect in how people view your company. For a perfect example of this, take a look at this NPR article about Merriam Webster’s Twitter feed. The impact your social media can have is important to keep in mind as you develop your company’s online persona, so you don’t end up driving away the very people you’re trying to reach.
Do set realistic—and measurable—goals for your social media. Whether it’s garnering more followers or page likes, or increasing post engagement, having a concrete goal will help keep your social media focused.
Use a Social Media Calendar
Pre-planning social media content is essential. Not only will it save you time in the long run (no more sitting at the computer, trying to decide what to post about on any given day), it also gives you the opportunity to try something – like focusing all content around a single theme for a week – and to coordinate unified content across all social media accounts.
You can easily create an editorial calendar on your own in Microsoft Excel (or any other spreadsheet program, including Google Docs), or you can download this really nice one from Curata for free.
2. Post Regularly
Ensuring you have posts and content keeping your social media accounts active and fresh is key to both gaining new followers as well as keeping old ones.
With tools like Hootsuite and Buffer, posting on a regular basis is a breeze; just load your content in and let the program do the rest. You can add in spontaneous posts as you have spare time, but with pre-scheduled content, you know you’ll have posts going out on a regular basis, even when you’re too busy to focus on your social media.
A cautionary note: pre-scheduling your content doesn’t mean you can just “schedule and forget it.” There are times—such as if a natural disaster or other tragic event occurs—where you need to be ready to quickly postpone/re-schedule content, to avoid the social media faux pas of posting inappropriate or insensitive content in the midst of a tragedy.
3. Be A Real Person
In today’s social media environment, there are far too many accounts that do little more than retweet and share others’ posts, or whose content has no unique personality or voice. Make sure your social media stands out from the crowd. Retweeting and sharing posts is fine, as long as you add a personalized comment when you do so. Always link back to the people you respond to or reference – that pings them with a notification, and ups the chance they will respond back in kind. Remember, you’re trying to build engagement!
If you do choose to outsource your social media to an external third party, be wary of companies who aren’t focused on creating and curating strong content for their clients, but instead on churning out bland content as quickly as possible. Ask a potential social media company for the names of some of their client accounts and take the time to check those accounts to see if they are delivering customized and personalized content.
4. Offer Content With Value
No one wants to follow an account that does nothing but ask them to buy something. A good rule of thumb is no more than 20-25% of your social media content should be promotional. The rest should be either educational or entertaining.
Use your app’s videos and screenshots on social media; tutorial videos in particular are great ways to provide your social media followers with value-laden content. Quick tips and tricks about your app are also valuable; to really boost your engagement and reach, pair them with a screenshot, a GIF clipped from a demo or tutorial video, or relevant image. Posts with some form of visual content produce a 650% higher engagement than posts that are text-only.
5. Direct Engagement
Pre-scheduled content is the best way to keep your accounts active, but you can’t solely rely on it, especially if you want to increase engagement. To do that, you need direct interaction. The easiest, most efficient way to do this is to carve out 15-30 minutes a day to visit your social media accounts. Take a look at your notifications, reply to any comments made on your posts, answer any questions or concerns, and if you have a little time left over, scroll through your feed and find one or two posts that you can retweet/share, or toss a quick “like” or “thumbs up” on. If you do the latter, be sure to add a quick comment or compliment. Again, it’s about encouraging engagement and relationship-building, and also about showing people that there’s a real person at the helm of your accounts.
Social media is a golden opportunity to reach out and engage with your users and potential customers. It should be an integral part of both your overall business plan—for company branding and visibility purposes—as well as the marketing plan for your app. If your company isn’t on social media yet, or you just don’t feel your current modus operandi is working for you, these five easy ways to boost your social media presence can help get you started.
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