How To Use Social Media
These are a few basic principles that, when applied, significantly improve the state of social media content online.
1. Deliver Content To Your 'Audience'
Whatever your brand vision, if you intend to make it a reality then they need to know who your customers are. The question here is not, who can you tell about your serivce in the hope they buy from you, but instead, who is in search of what you have to sell? where do they live? What is their background? How much money do they have? etc.
The vast majority of a brands value comes from building positive relationships and associations to a particular subset of society. If you’re able to identify people who are interested in what you're trying to sell, then you're in a good place to start to build a trustworthily bond where you provide value in return for your audiences attention.
Note* It doesn't matter if the brand your promoting is yours or a multi national company, the metric that determines your online followings worth is not the size of your following, It's how much they're prepared to engage.
2. Playing The Attention Graph
If you want to build trust with your audience you need to engage with them directly. To do this you need to know where they spend their time and which platforms deliver the best results.
Too many brands dedicate disproportionate amounts of time to social networks where their target demographic no longer resides. People's behaviour changes and if the brand intends to maintain momentum then they need to work out where the attention is moving to. Social media managers need to ask themselves, where are the people you’re targeting spending their time? Is there a way that you can capture a bigger audience on other platforms? Everyone has a unique message, and a unique strategy should therefore be formulated based on your goals and value proposition.
3. What Is Your Position?
Positioning is about your brand occupying a distinct position that is different but relative to other brands in your industry. As someone looking to create impact, you need to identify where the white space is i.e. where can you position yourself that is different from everyone else, but that still has value? If you have a position in mind, ask yourself, how will owning that position increase your chances of selling your product or service?
4. Good Content Is Evergreen Content
Everygreen content is content that will be as useful three years from now as it is today. While I'm never one to discourage the opportunistic spirit and leveraging of the moment, evergreen content is a great way for a brand to build assets that can be deployed at any time with minimal effort. By creating content that is timeless, you're providing value to your audience and giving the content a better chance of being seen.
5. Use Automation The Right Way
Once you've created 30+ pieces of ever green content, you're now ready to implement automation into your content strategy. Because the chances of your content being seen is rare, there's no reason why you shouldn't release it multiple times. By using tried and tested automation tools like ManageFlitter you can schedule your content to be released automatically. You can then supplement your evergreen content with live posts that make your profiles feel active and in the moment.
*tip: use tools like 'If This Then That' to automatically take content from one platform and to push it across all your other online profiles. This makes sure that even if your Facebook results are outperforming your twitter for example, that twitter is not being neglected because the content is being automatically delivered across all platforms.
Note* The general rule of automation is that it’s fine to automate anything that doesn’t require human interaction. You don't gain followers by automating responses. Just because you automate the delivery of some content you should still take the time to follow up with any engagement so that you can build a personal relationship that bulds trust with your audience over time.
6. Good Content, Is Native Content.
Contradictory to everything I've just said about automating the delivery of content across multiple platforms, you should always try and creative native content for the particular platform. Automation works well for things like pictures that work well on most platforms, but nowadays there are some social media channels like Peach, Anchor, Blab and Snapchat that don't cross platform easily. If you do intend to use these platforms, you should consider the type of content that is popular native to the platform and attempt to emulate it. Having too much of a corporate vibe is a sure fire way to turn people off from your socials.
7. Be The First To Move To New Platforms
When it comes to social media, being the first on a platform comes with significant rewards. If you invest time into a platform before it takes off and then it does, you’re inveribly in a better position to capitalise on that growing attention. This is always a risk, if the platform doesn’t take off then you may have wasted a significant amount of time. Nevertheless, the rewards for being first when a platform takes off normally far outweigh the downside. It should therefore be your responsibility to identify new platforms and opportunities for sharing your brand and to maintain a sustained strategy on those platforms despite the lack of significant numbers.
*Tip: Try reaching out to the founders or community managers of the patforms. Founders are often looking for people to help them champion their product in the early days to spread the word about their platform. If they can see that you’re keen then they may be prepared to support you in return for your valuable input. This will only gives you more momentum if the platform takes off.
Note* I'm a boss on Anchor. Follow me!
8. Don't Underestimate Recall Value
Even if social media isn't a huge part of your marketing strategy, if you occasionaly post what you do for a living, preferebly in visually intriguing way, then what you’re actually doing is just offering everyone that follows you a slight reminder of what you do. You can't underestimate this recall value. In time those prompts can easily manifest into huge opportunities or sales from people who had completely forgotton what you do until they saw that really interesting video or piture you put up online. The point here is not to over well, make it interesting, make your posts memorable. Makes them remarkable (worthy of a remark to someone else).
9. How To Go Viral
I put this one out tentatively because it's extremely difficult to create a viral video, especially if you're trying to hard. That being said, there have been numerous studies where people have analysed all the most viral videos online and come to conclusions about the kinds of content that significantly outperforms others. I highly recommend the book "Contagious" if you want to learn about this in depth. But to save you some time the basic principles are:
1: Social Currency: Does talking about the content it make people look good.
2: Triggers: What cues make people think about your idea (Like Umbrella by Rihanna)
3: Emotion: How much does you idea evoke people to feel happy, mad or sad.
4: Public. Does can you make your idea advertise itself?
5: Practical Value: Does talking about your idea help others?
6: Stories. Is the idea interesting, memorable and remarkable.
*Note: I've created a Free PDF with these points on above for future reference. You can download that here: 6 Principles For Viral Success.
10. Correct Way To Use Influencer Marketing
One of the best ways to amplify your reach and to meet new customers is to collaborate with influencers. Influencers have a very core target audience and are typically undervalued considering their level of impact. By identifying several people at various levels of influence you can begin to reach out to the kinds of people you want to talk to and suggest reasons why you think you think it would be good for you to collaborate.
Note• Remember, Influencers serve an audience, which means they're interested in their audience first. Don't try and suggest ways to go overly corporate with the content because it wont work. It needs to feel authentic. Think of it less of, can you do this for us... and more for things like subtle product placement.
Note 2* You can ask influencers to do things for you, but only if it feels very authentic to their audience. Take Casey Neistat's "Make it count" He spent all 100K budget for the Nike video to travel round the world. That's a far distance from the glossy Nike commercials we'are used to seeing, but the results speak for themselves.
11. Social Media Is A Long Game Strategy
This isn't so much a tip as it is a reality check. Success on social media doesn't happen overnight. It takes years of concerted effort and even then the best always rise to the top. One of the biggest problems brands have is they don't have a long term strategy, they pay an agency to produce content, and it's intended for surges in momentary interest rather than a consistent steam of good content that keeps audiences interested. Bottom line, remember! Long game, not overnight success.
12. Keep It Up With Sequential Content
Sequential content is a great way to maintain momentum on an idea. The other added bonus is that content that is delivered in episodes makes it clear that it is going to keep coming. This encourages people to tune in daily or weekly and follow the progress of the content. It also gives you a self embossed deadline to encourage you to put in the work every day to deliver.