By being inactive on social media, small to medium enterprises are missing out on the opportunity to nurture brand awareness, promote their products and services, position themselves as experts in their field and are essentially neglecting a whole channel when it comes to driving traffic to their website.
If you’re worried about getting left behind where social media is concerned, take a look at these seven easy steps to build a big brand social presence for your SME.
Step 1: Choosing Your Channels
With nearly 5 billion collective users between them, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat may all look like promising social channels for your business, at first glance. But which platforms are really best for your business?
Generally speaking, Twitter is a solid choice for most organisations, as you can make your profile and presence as formal or informal as you like. Conversely, professional social networking site, LinkedIn, is far better suited to B2B organisations. Similarly, the informal nature of Facebook and Snapchat suit B2C companies looking to portray a fun and conversational, brand voice. While visually-led platforms, Pinterest and Instagram, tend to be favoured more by B2C companies, they can be effective – if utilised strategically – for any business that can utilise the visual though-leadership in a manner that is in-keeping with their brand.
Step 2: Find Your Voice
Before identifying the right ‘voice’ for your brand, you need to identify your audience, who are you looking to reach? How do you want them to view your brand?
Millennials and Generation Z (link to G Z blog) in particular are not satisfied with faceless businesses with no personality. Given that these younger users make up the majority of social media users, it is important that your social media presence makes people feel closer to your brand, so try to create a culture and thought leadership. Rather than just promoting your products and services, make your brand more human – share external articles relevant to your industry and position your brand’s take on this.
Step 3: Look Pretty
When it comes to social media, looks definitely count. As well as having a branded profile picture and banner image, it is important to share all of your posts with a variety of engaging images. It is easy to scroll past posts sharing nothing but text, but alongside the relevant URL, images and video content are a must for getting your content noticed and engaged with.
Step 4: Create a Social Calendar
On a busy day, sometimes posting on social media slips your mind. Creating a social calendar makes it easy to strategically plan what you want to post and when you want to post it, saving you time while maximising the effectiveness of your social posts. Make a note of any relevant National or World Days that your brand can join the conversation on. From pizza to popcorn, learn an instrument to save a spider, there’s a National Day for just about everything. Use relevant days as an opportunity to engage and be seen by using the correct hashtags.
Different works best on different channels – LinkedIn is more formal, Facebook is casual and Twitter is short and snappy. However, before you go creating different social calendars for your different social channels, here’s how to recycle and repurpose the same content by tailoring it to each channel appropriately:
— Generate UK | Digital Marketing Agency (@GenerateUK) March 9, 2018
Don’t stick to your calendar religiously – while proactivity is key – it can be just as key as engage and react. What’s trending? Focus on how you get yourself involved in the relevant conversations and hot topics.
Step 5: Look & Listen
Social listening, that is, staying abreast of social media conversations relevant to your brand and industry, is an integral part of a strong and effective social media strategy. If you’re not using social listening tools, like Hootsuite, you can manually search for relevant terms on social, to see what users are discussing. Using Twitter lists is a great way to monitor the accounts most relevant to you, whether that’s competitors, current customers, influencers or employees, these lists provide you with a stream dedicated to only these tweets.
Step 6: Engagement is Key
Many brands neglect an integral part of social media – socialising. Engaging with customers, prospects, industry influencers and other relevant accounts will help you build relationships and nurture a strong, brand personality. You don’t have to spend hours scrolling through social media to up your engagement rate, here are some of Generate UK’s tips for building relationships on Twitter:
- If you share an external article on social media, always mention (tag) the sources Twitter handle.
- Similarly, take the time to reply when people share your content.
- Respond to questions and take part in relevant industry discussions.
The bottom line is, engagement is so much more that constant retweets and serial likes; reply to tweets and invite conversation; quote tweet content from other accounts to add your own brand message.
Step 7: Enhance Organic Posts with Social Media Ads
Though organic social media is a great way to for SMEs to grow brand awareness, increase brand authority and position themselves as a thought leader – all on a low-budget – running social media ads can really bolster your organic efforts boost your reach even further.
While you have limited control of who sees your organic posts, the targeting options on social media mean that your ads can be well-optimised to appear in front of exactly who you want them to.