The internet is awash with advice about how to get noticed on social media. We’ve read a lot of it and the thing that strikes us ever time is that it’s very high level ‘advice’- even the articles that include examples of what big brands have done to get noticed on social media don’t offer much in the way of drill down. You read the article, and then you’re left looking at an awesome Facebook post or a tweet or some stats that blow your mind, and you think: “But how did they actually DO that?”
In this post, we’re going to offer 4 headline activities and some practical hints and tips to help you get noticed on social media in the same way.
- Make social marketing a priority
For anything to succeed, you need to invest and persevere. It’s a common misconception that social media offers ‘free’ advertising, and that you can just ‘fit it in’ around everything else. In the sense that you don’t have to pay for a Facebook or LinkedIn business page or to be on Twitter or Instagram, this is true – it is free, and you could just fit it in around everything else, but if you’re really intending to get noticed on social media – if this is your strategy for marketing your business, this is simply not going to work.
Did you know? The John Lewis 2016 Christmas Ad generated 2,066 mentions of #OnTheMoon before the video even launched on YouTube
- Understand the power of social Social media isn’t magic. It is a tool for you – for your business – to use. It can deliver many benefits but it can’t make a bad product or service good, and it can’t miraculously deliver you sales. The key to social media is how you use it.
- A good example Think, for a moment, about the John Lewis Christmas ad (it is June after all, so not long to go now…) Yes, it’s aired on TV, but the focus over the last few years has very much been on social media. Now think about the time that went into creating the advert – building a concept, working out music, nailing the ‘tugging at your heartstrings’ element – think about the budget (eye watering) and think about the social media campaign. They had (we imagine) a dedicated team working on it – with the result that before the video had even launched on YouTube last year, the hashtag #OnTheMoon had been mentioned 2,066 times.
- Set aside time – and budget Of course, we know that John Lewis is a massive player and that most of us don’t have the resources to emulate their social media campaigns on a similar scale BUT we can learn from what they do. Making social media a priority, setting aside time and budget, whatever that budget is, will immediately make a difference to your approach and the results you see. We can’t know for certain, but we are fairly sure that John Lewis has already set aside budget, time and energy for the 2017 campaign. It wasn’t just ‘fitted in around everything else’.
- Have a game plan Once you’ve set aside time and budget – however much time and whatever the budget, you can start to plan a strategy. Think about what you actually want to achieve from being on social media at any particular time. Obviously, your overall objective is sales, the survival and growth of your business, but social media offers many opportunities – customer engagement, brand loyalty, network growth. Much will depend on the type of business you are in – whether B2B or B2C, and your industry. Spending time working out a strong set of goals and objectives, of what you want to achieve through social media and over what time period will help you focus and in turn drive your activity in a more focussed way.
- Goals & Objectives For many businesses, the idea of goals and objectives for social media feels a little alien. This is because for many, the idea that it can just fit in around everything else pervades. A lack of understanding about the power of social media as a business tool fuels a failure to understand that flicking through timelines on the sofa with a glass of red, looking at the occasional video of cats in odd places isn’t going to work. So taking time to understand what social media can do for your business, look at your overall business goals and objectives, work out where social media fits in and create some SMART goals.
Take time to understand what social media can do for your business and create SMART objectives aligned to your overall business objectives.
- Get the basics right
We’ve looked at a number of ‘the basics’ in previous blog posts, but it’s worth reiterating that these things all need to be taken as part of a package if you’re serious about your efforts to get noticed on social media.
Did you know? 91% of retail brands use 2 or more social media channels. Social Media Times
- Analyse Take time to analyse which platforms your customers and potential customers prefer to use and join them there. There’s no point posting on Facebook if your customers prefer Twitter. Choosing the right social media platform (see here) is fundamental in your drive to get noticed on social media.
- Choose your network Your own business is probably more suited to one network over the other. A professional services company such as a firm of accountants might find it harder to get noticed on social media if they are concentrating on Instagram rather than LinkedIn. If you’re looking for crossover – for example you’re offering legal services (social media home – LinkedIn) to the food industry (social media home – Instagram or Pinterest) – you will have to work harder to create content that’s going to communicate your brand and services and engage with your potential clients on their ‘home turf’.
- Profiles Set your profiles up correctly: use a Facebook business page not a personal page, ensure brand consistency across your online presence, use the same logos and language. Even if you’re not intending to use some of the social networks available, it’s worth locking down your brand presence on those profiles – registering your business name against social network profiles – so that no one else can use them in future.
- Be aware of the rules Facebook is particularly hot on its rules and regulations. It’s set up so that personal profiles should be just that. Aside from the definite benefits of having a business page (access to advertising, reviews and insights), be aware that Facebook can – and WILL – close down a personal profile that’s being used as a business page. We’ve seen it happen. Even if you’ve set up a personal profile using a business name and have then set up business pages linked to that profile, Facebook will get wise to it and insist that you move your business pages to a genuine personal profile. You can convert a personal profile into a business page – and we’d suggest doing so sooner rather than later.
Spending time at the outset to create a social media strategy – or taking some time to re-evaluate your social media activity – will set you on the right path.
- Be social
OK – this might seem obvious, but to get noticed on social media, you need to be social. This doesn’t just mean posting regularly, although this helps. It means interacting with followers, responding to comments, finding out where your online network is – not just your customer base but other businesses and suppliers you work with, and hanging out with them online.
Did you know? In 2017, it is estimated that there will be around 35.7 million social network users [in the UK]. Statista
- Automate! Automation tools such as Hootsuite can help by keeping all your profiles in one place. It also helps you keep a regular flow of social posts publishing on your profiles.
- Interaction is everything Set aside time to respond and interact as part of your marketing activities. Social automation tools can’t respond to comments or take part in online conversations for you. Some people seem to find it easy to keep on top of social media conversations, but if this is something you struggle with, why not research when your followers are most likely to be online, then make that your social media time.
- Insights Using ‘insight’ data that the social networks provide can help here. Facebook, for example, gives data as to when your business page was viewed – look for patterns and post when you’re most likely to get noticed.
- Social networking Take part in live online networking sessions. Twitter is a good place to see one of these in action. There are a wide range of ‘hours’ – county hours (see @HampshireHour), industry hours (see @WeddingHour) ‘trend’ hours (see @organichour) where you can join in using a particular hashtag when you tweet. This keeps your tweets with all the other tweets using that hashtag. If you’re struggling to know where to start, try general business networking such as @1pmlunch to see how it works.
- Collaborate If it’s a possibility, allow other members of your team to contribute to your social media. You can add people to your business pages so that they can post on your behalf. Set down a few guidelines about what is and isn’t acceptable and see what happens.
- Invest time Remember that even for the big brands, it takes time. You need to invest time and energy creating a vibrant social media feed – we’d like to say it just happens overnight, but it really doesn’t.
Don’t stay in a social media bubble – engage with people, other businesses – your customers!
- Use the tools available
We’ve mentioned ‘insight’ data that the social networks make available. Have you had a look? Take Facebook – have you clicked on the ‘Insight’ tab yet?
You’ll find a huge amount of data here that will tell you who likes your page, the type of posts they like. It’s all good. It’s also worth taking the time to explore the paid advertising options the social networks offer and think about competitions.
- Gather information When you start posting and interacting on your chosen social media platform, you won’t have much to go on in your insights. But as you continue to implement your social media strategy you will start to see information appearing which will show you how your posts are doing. This is will help you refine your strategy over time as you understand more about your audience, where they are and who they are.
- Paid advertising It’s tempting to see social media as ‘free publicity’ but the reality is that it takes time and effort to see real benefits from social media. On the other hand, the benefits that are available are real, so perhaps paid advertising is worth it after all if you’re looking to get noticed on social media relatively quickly.
- A good example We’ve seen businesses increase their likes, followers etc through comparatively little spend on social advertising. Recently, a watersports business we work with increased the number of page likes from 500 to 843 by spending £21 boosting a post on Facebook. Not only did the page likes increase, the boosted page achieved a reach of 12,500, 193 likes and 11 shares. We think that’s a pretty cost effective way to get noticed on social media.
- Establish your goal before you invest in paid for advertising on social media, work out what you are looking to achieve. Do you want more page likes or more followers, or do you want to advertise something specific, or get more people to subscribe to your newsletters? Your end goal is important and will shape the advertising you develop.
- Competitions Some brands seem to run competitions almost constantly – Facebook leads the way here. The key is to establish what you want to achieve (page likes? Followers?), and work out any rules that apply to your competition. Again, Facebook is quite rigorous about what you can and can’t do when you run a competition. It’s interesting to note that Facebook doesn’t allow businesses to ask people to share posts on their personal timelines – although we see this a lot. We’ve no direct experience but urban legend suggests that Facebook will close your page down if it catches you doing this. You can, however, ask people to like your page for a chance to win something.
Boosting a Facebook post for a relatively small amount of money can deliver huge returns in terms of increased page likes, reach and social shares
If you didn’t already do so before, we hope this article has given you a more in depth insight into some of the practical activities that you – your business – needs to engage in to get noticed on social media. If you’d like to talk some more, why not join us on Twitter @WebAdept or give us a call?