With World Social Media Day on Tuesday, we had to make this week’s post about social media. During these last few moths of isolation and uncertainty, it has become much more of a crutch for people all around the world, keen to feel connected to the outside world, to keep in touch with their loved ones, and to educate themselves on the situation as it unfolds. It has had many positive effects, serving as a lifeline for many, although we have also seen its flaws highlighted, with the mass spread of fake news and misinformation.
From a business perspective, a lot of brands have struggled to keep up with the rapidly changing times, and the expectations, wants and needs of their customers and followers – having to change their strategies and tactics at a time when their businesses are balancing huge operational challenges. Some have done this very well – those organisations that were already agile and able to adapt quickly, others are now trying to catch up with what they have missed.
Whilst all platforms, brands and audiences are different, and there is no simple cookie-cutter approach to social media, there are some key elements that are needed to make any social media campaign successful:
1. Have a plan and be consistent
This is one of the most important things if you want to achieve anything with your social media – getting one video to go viral, or sharing a key company milestone or event is not going to do anything for you if you don’t have a consistent and credible presence and a loyal and engaged following. The only way to achieve both of these critical elements is by strategically planing your communications and consistently sharing high quality content that appeals to your audience. This needs to be shared at the same times/on the same days every week in order for you to develop a genuine fanbase.
2. Give them what they want!
Approach your social media from your audience’s perspective – what adds value to their lives, what do they enjoy, what resonates with them? In the words of Stephen Covey, ‘begin with the end in mind’ – how do you want your audience to feel or behave after engaging with your content? What is going to pique their interest enough to stop scrolling and engage with you? Generally people are looking for information/education, entertainment, or inspiration when they interact with social media – does your content add value in any of these areas?
3. Be visual
We are becoming increasingly visual, our attention spans are shorter, and brands therefore need to grab our attention quickly and hold that attention long enough to impart their message. Video is essential for this – live streaming if it’s possible – as well as regular videos and images. Try to include a variety of hyper lapse, slow mo, slideshows, talking heads, screenshots, infographics, and more. Think about the different ways you can show your message visually.
4. Go hard or go home!
Don’t just dip your toe in the water – throw yourself in headfirst! You need to commit time and resource to this in order to achieve real results. It takes a lot more time than you would imagine to proactively interact with people, and be an active part of the community. Social media is not a megaphone for you to communicate your messages, it’s a platform for meaningful conversations, dialogue, and contribution. You need to spend time thinking about how you use it, developing the right content, and purely just being online – to monitor conversations and trends, identify advocates and detractors, get involved in topical conversations, support your community and respond to engagement.
These four elements are essential for social media success – make sure you have them all covered, and that you are prepared to take this seriously. Do your research and spend time on all the platforms watching and listening before you confirm your actions and strategy – and then go for it!