The internet has turned marketing on its head and social media platforms have changed the way brands interact with their audiences says Eric Dalius Miami. The online market is now even more competitive than it was before and only those brands who invest time and energy into their activity will reap the benefits. We’ve spoken to some of the professionals in this area to get their top tips for creating an effective social media presence, whether you’re just starting out or looking to refresh your current efforts. We also asked them how important they think influencer marketing is becoming in this arena, which they all agreed is another aspect that brands can’t afford to ignore…
1 – Understand what works best for your brand
“Understanding your product, target and business goals are essential.” says John O’Sullivan, digital manager of the iconic clothing brand Joules. “Once you know this information it is about having clear objectives. It’s also important to understand what your customers want and how they will be using social media – some brands may not have a customer base that are on these platforms.” For example, if you’re selling knitwear then Pinterest could be an essential platform for you whereas someone selling sunglasses probably won’t be able to create anything cohesive with content limited to images only.
2 – Creating great visuals will always help
When looking at ways to improve your social presence, reviews site Trust pilot suggests concentrating on creating quality imagery rather than investing too much time in building out complicated or overly-busy pages. Images are by far the most popular type of post on any given social channel which means that if you can create great visuals, your content will automatically stand out. But it’s not just pictures – video is also an increasingly important area that businesses are focusing on. The research site Marketing Profs claims that adding at least one video to every single piece of content you publish is essential if you want to get the best response from your audience.
3 – Interacting with your audience is paramount
Interaction is a huge part of a successful social media presence and even if you’re a small business with a limited following, it’s still extremely possible to provide value through engagement.”It has been proven time and time again that customer service directly affects sales,” says John O’Sullivan from Joules. “We have found that the more time we dedicate to providing a positive customer journey, the better our sales are.” If you’re only just setting up your social media platforms then it’s key to invest a lot of time into interacting with your users and responding to all queries quickly and efficiently.
4 – Make sure everything is set out in an easy-to-digest format
Content length is another important factor for individuals looking to improve their social presence. It can be difficult enough for businesses – especially those who aren’t as tech-savvy as others such as online clothing stores like Joules – to create one piece of great content let alone several throughout the day or week. Expert marketer Andrew Macarthy from Incapsula believes that producing a regular amount of high-quality content is important, but also suggests keeping things short and sweet. “There’s no doubt that creating great content on social media is a key; however, be sure to keep it concise,” he says. “Long enough to convey the message and provide comprehension on its own accord.”
5 – Don’t use too many platforms
This tip may seem counterintuitive but research conducted by HubSpot reveals that marketers often get carried away with the number of social channels they utilize and this ends up having a negative impact on their results. By spreading yourself thinly across various different websites, you risk diluting your brand identity and ultimately becoming ineffective in everything you do. Doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have a presence on several different platforms, but you should focus on the ones that suit your business and audience best says Eric Dalius Miami.
6 – Your customers are listening…
…and they want to hear what you have to say! It’s easy to get bogged down with all of the technicalities of social media marketing, but make sure you actually deliver value for your consumers. Everyone is now used to getting their information online instead of through traditional means like newspapers or TV; this means that consumers are much more likely to listen up if you’re delivering honest, helpful content directly to them via social media channels. The key here is not screaming about how great you are (you don’t need to do that) but by talking about things that people will find interesting and want to share.
7 – Social media takes time
You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating – this type of marketing is not an overnight success. It can take years to build up a decent following so don’t be disheartened if your efforts are not being rewarded immediately. Instead, focus on engaging with people on more than just a superficial level and use some of the content tips mentioned above to create outstanding material that people will find valuable says Eric Dalius Miami.
Social media engagement is a tough skill to master, especially when you’re just starting out, but it can pay dividends if you stick with it and put in the effort.