Every forward thinking brand and business is using social media to grow their following, generate new leads and increase sales. There are now 4.2 billion active social media users who are spending an average of 2 hours and 25 minutes every day on social media(source). Therefore, building your brand on social media is extremely important as you want to connect with your current audience as well as finding new audiences that will be interested in what you provide.
When using social media you need to know where your target audience will be and what platforms they spend the most time on. To do this you have to work out who your current audience is. This can be done by looking into the analytics of your social media, which will help you understand who is buying from you and who is interacting with you online.
Once you know your audience you can build a relationship with them. By using social media you can talk directly to the customer and your followers. They will be able to engage with organic content which will help build trust and form a more loyal following. This will help your brand as your audience will share and like your content which gives you free exposure to a new audience.
You want to keep your audience engaged, by interacting with them through your different platforms you will be able to connect with them on a deeper level. Answering customers' questions that come up on the comment sections of your posts or in a message section will show your interest in helping your audience and that you care about what they want to know. You can also ask questions to your audience. Asking simple questions to get to know them will build a sense of trust between consumer and brand.
Consumers are making more time to connect with video content, they prefer watching video over reading pages of content. Video content has potential to be shared across multiple platforms, however you want to consider the different opportunities each platform might give you.
Types of video can be varied on every platform. Some platforms are solely video based whereas others give you the option to have photos and video. This means social media video length will vary with each platform and this will impact the length of content you create.
Tiktok tend to be quick and fun videos, they have a max length of 60 seconds but the most popular length is between 9-15 seconds. These videos are often trending videos, but a lot of brands will promote products and services through short snippet videos.
Instagram has a max length of 60 seconds on feed videos but if the first 15 seconds are engaging audiences will be willing to watch a 10 minute IGTV video. Instagram reels have a maximum length of 15 seconds, these are similar to tiktok videos and instagram stories have a 15 second limit but they will stay on your story for 24 hours.
Twitter videos tend to be shorter and give information that is easier to understand. It offers a limit of 2 minute 20 seconds but video isn't as core to twitter as it is with other platforms.
Facebook Watch offers original shows and popular videos from creators, it has an option to upload video with the maximum length of 204 minutes. 45% of facebook video viewers who watch the first 3 seconds of a video go on to watch 30 seconds.
Youtube is a long form video platform, it accommodates more comprehensive content and has a maximum length of 12 hours. However the average length of a youtube video is 11 minutes which shows people do like longer videos. (source)
Video content is extremely important, with IGTV and the growth of youtube, facebook live, consumers want to see more video. Engagement is higher on video content therefore many social platforms are giving priority to people posting video content as that is what now gets more views. Brands and businesses are getting more exposure from posting videos then they were from posting text and images.
Keeping on top of popular trends on each social platform is really important, you want to work with trends that go with your brand as this will drive more engagement, if the trend isn't relevant to what you offer, audiences will be less interested. The audience needs to be kept in mind, something that worked with your brand last year might not work this year so make sure you are giving them new content and what they want.
You want to understand what your customers are looking for, this will help you relate more to your audience. People use social media to keep up to date with current events and news, therefore try and find events and news stories that relate to your brand to keep the engagement there. You want your brand to be relatable.
When posting on social platforms it is important to create quality content on your key channels then it is to be present on every social channel. You want your post to offer value, if you only pitch and sell you won't be building a relationship, audiences will be more likely to share content that holds value to them. Once you understand a few social channels you can start to build more from what you have learnt.
Try mixing up what you post, if you normally post pictures try posting videos or GIFs and vise versa. You want to give your audience a variety of content as some content can be boring and repetitive if you constantly do the same thing. Take advantage of what different social platforms offer you within their network. For example instagram offers reels, live video and story content, use these to content and talk to your audience more so they feel a part of the brand.
Updating and republishing old content is key. If you have a backlog of content that is outdated try updating it with new fresh ideas, this will draw new readers in as well as keeping your current audience. It’s also a quicker way to push content out onto platforms rather than taking up time creating new content all the time. Blogs are good at republishing as they can always be changed due to information and statistics always changing. This will help build more engagement onto your website.
Having a content calendar will allow you to stay on track and keep up with regular posting, 63% of businesses don't have a documented strategy which means they are coming up with ideas on the spot (source). Setting up a content calendar is fairly easy and will help you know what you're posting, when you're posting it and what platform you are posting it on. This helps you distribute resources effectively and help you get an understanding of what will work and won’t work for your business. You can use the calendar to brainstorm ideas, getting together with a team will generate new ideas that you can all share opinions on and find out if they are right for your brand and it’s values.
Having a content calendar will keep your consistency. It’s key to always stay in your audience's radar and offer them more content than they think they need. If you are irregularly posting viewers will forget about you as they are not keeping them up to date with what is happening. By being consistent you are keeping engagement.
You will want to get the balance of content right. 80% of your content should be used to inform, educate and entertain your audience and the following 20% should be to promote the brand. Different platforms require different activity time to get maximum potential from it’s audience, some platforms require you to be actively to get noticed by a wider audience. Keeping everything in a calendar will make it easier to keep your content fresh and new rather than having rushed unfinished work going out.
Analytics help you understand your audience and learn what generates traffic to your business. You need to be measuring these accurately, 40% of businesses do not accurately track their social media ROI at all, (source)this means they have no way of finding out if their strategies are working. Metrics you want to look at with different social platform include :
You want to be tracking these metrics weekly, monthly and quarterly as it will help you make changes when and if you need to.
Without tracking your analytics you won't be able to make accurate forecasts, which means you won't know how to effectively use social media to drive your performance. Once you have an idea of how your strategy is working you will be able to start making improvements to it which over time should boost your success. You can then expand your efforts and expand your audience as you will begin to find out what more people like seeing.
Using social media effectively is an essential part of your overall marketing plan, and there are many different elements that go into using social media to make sure that you're using it to its highest potential. Social media is constantly changing, there are always new trends and updates that you need to stay on top of to keep in the loop.