5 Tips for Sailing the High Seas of Social Media
Marketing is the first mate of a business that’s on course to Treasure Island. And the parrot that sits on its shoulder is social media—a bit flashy, a bit loud, and a bit temperamental, but in today’s world, it’s hard to imagine a starboard marketing department without it.
Social media can be intimidating, but it’s also one of the best ways to find the right audience for your products and services. More importantly, having a robust social presence builds community. If you’ve embarked on a social media adventure and feel like you have a good handle on the basics, here are five tips to really establish your social sea legs.
Use Your Social Media Channels to Highlight Your People
When we talk about standing out on social media, we don’t (just) mean slick branding. Your social media posts should frame your brand and make you stand out by emphasizing what actually makes you different. It can be a uniquely personal source of support for your audience—answering questions like “Why You?” and “What Sets You Apart?” And the most natural answer to those questions is your people.
Ready for the good news? Your team members are individuals with unique skills, experiences, and approaches. Help your audience get to know the people who make your businesses happen. Showcase the wonderful, weird, and interesting aspects of their personalities that make them especially suited for their role.
Maybe you have an electrician who’s incredibly organized. Show off the interior of their truck or toolbox. If you have a programmer who loves to automate processes, highlight something they’ve created to make work easier or more fun. Showcase the quirks that make your people special.
You’re likely to discover that what you “sell” isn’t what drives your sails (sales, har har). It’s actually who is interacting that makes the difference.
Pull Back the Curtain
Another point of differentiation to feature in social media is how you run your business. People want to feel like they’re getting a behind-the-scenes look at how things work. Show how your product is manufactured, how you handle shipping, or how you designed a recent product update. Share discarded design ideas, early concept art, or alternate visuals. Highlight what a day in the life of one of your employees looks like. All of that transparency not only builds your legitimacy, but it also reassures people that they are buying from an organization that values honesty as a tenet of their operations.
If you’re struggling for ideas, think about what about you might surprise your audience (in a good way). Maybe they have no idea that you custom-design the tissue paper that goes in your shipping boxes, or that your product takes several hours to manufacture, or that your service technicians go through an intensive training program. Social is a perfect opportunity to show these things! The trifecta of educate, enlighten, and entertain will keep audiences coming back.
Measure the Social Media Metrics That Matter Most
Social media is a web of algorithms, targeting, and most importantly, visual content. The best way to navigate that sea of competing priorities is by establishing what matters most to you. Do you want to increase direct sales? Track conversions on your website that come from social media channels. Do you want to increase awareness of your brand? Aim for impressions. Do you want to create a community? Prioritize engagement. Do you want to inspire your audience with new ideas around your products or service? Keep an eye on saves and shares.
Once you decide what you want most, create your specific actionable measurement toolbox, and use it. Weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually.
Social media is relentless and ongoing, which can feel daunting if you’re the sole proprietor of visual assets. You know how people like to say, “work smarter, not harder”? This is where that phrase comes into play. Working smarter means finding others to create content with and for you. Remember that your consumers and followers are interesting too and having them contribute relevant content on your social media channels not only helps you build a library of interesting material, but it also builds community, broadens reach, contributes validation, and creates fans.
User-generated content (UGC) isn’t limited to reposting pretty pictures or direct shout-outs about your products. You can feature quotes from positive reviews, ideas for new ways to use your products, tips and tricks, recipes, selfies, before and after shots, or how-to videos. Let yourself go wild here. (Social is a great forum for experimenting with trend-setting!) For example, share a real question from someone and provide your followers with the answer, or crowdsource solutions. Remember, your most powerful asset is your creative and truthful use of transparency.
To get more UGC, you’ll need to ask for it and reward users for making it. When you’re getting started, consider hosting a contest with prizes to encourage a specific kind of UGC. Send surprise gifts to people who are creating good content with your products or services. And always make sure to ask permission and give appropriate credit. Nothing’s worse for your reputation than stealing from the little guy.
Part of being a good leader is knowing when to ask for help. And you probably have more help than you’re aware of—if you invite your employees to amplify or create content. By including people with different positions at your organization, you’ll be able to tap into unique perspectives at every level of your company. Often those who are distant from internal operations can provide an in-depth view of your brand’s nuances. Social media will prove to be one of the greatest draws on your time, so don’t hog the helm. Another option? Outsource. Social media marketing is a common business responsibility to hire an agency for because it’s extremely time-consuming and requires such a variety of skills (photography, videography, writing, design, etc.)
Dragons Tame Krakens
Dragon Army is a team of digital engagement innovators that inspire happiness by helping brands rise above the noise, connect with audiences in new and interesting ways, and support always-on relationships that matter. It’s easy to do social media poorly. All it takes is a lack of discipline and creativity. But getting lazy with your social media is like pulling your watch out of the crow’s nest or letting the boom of the ship go flying. (And we’ve all seen pirate movies. That’s when the Kraken wins.) The Dragon Army social media team knows how to execute continually and iteratively. Also, we’re writers and designers first and foremost. We understand competitive landscapes and audience alignment. In other words, we’ve got the crows nest, steering wheel, and Kraken hunting well under control.
Send us a message (not in a bottle, but let’s keep this analogy going) if you’d like a crew on your brand ship that will keep you sailing smoothly.