The secret to social media success is bacon.
Yes, you read it correctly, bacon. How, you ask? Well, take a look at this image from our Pinterest board :
The problem so many people have with using social media is that they don’t really know how it all works. I have written before about its general perception as ‘the thing that everyone is doing’ and the following question usually being ‘why aren’t we doing it?’ With just a few clicks you’ve created your accounts on Facebook and Twitter and you think you’re ready to go.
If there’s one thing that is vital to a great social media strategy, it’s understanding which channels you should be on and why. If you can nail that, you’re campaign will be a success.
Foursquare and Last.fm aren’t really relevant to business networking directly, so for the purposes of this discussion, I’ve left them out.
So, let’s take it from the top, shall we?
Facebook: I like bacon
Facebook is a place for you to say what your company is up to, whether that’s a status, a new article, or a recent party album. People browsing Facebook are more likely to react to something funny, light-hearted or easily viewable, so images are favoured in this arena.
This is a site with huge potential, but giving customers a place to ‘like’ you gives you three major benefits:
1) It gives them the chance to give feedback on customer service and address you directly with their concerns.
2) This in turn allows prospective clients to view how you deal with these comments; the speed at which you reply, the clarity of it and whether the matter was resolved can have a huge impact on their opinion of you.
3) You can give the impression that you provide a omni-channel service to customers, and can be reached wherever they need you to be – which is what being omni-channel is all about!
Twitter: I’m eating bacon
Twitter is ‘the now’. It’s a blow-by-blow update of what’s going on in your industry as well as every other industry. This is the only place that you can look at breaking the rule of not bombarding your followers; because of its fast-paced nature and news feed format, unless people check your profile regularly they may not receive every tweet, so there’s no real limit to how many posts you put out there. It’s also a great place to promote other material you’ve found of interest on the web, which in turn leads to follows and a bigger audience, as you’re shown to have a wider interest in your industry.
LinkedIn: I have skills that include eating bacon
This is a great platform for you to show off your skills and experience as an individual as well as a company. Use this to expand your database, but also as a way of getting your content onto groups and communities within LinkedIn. Joining relevant groups is an absolute must if you want your name to be recognised as a professional in your arena, so make sure to post regularly and comment on things you have expertise of.
YouTube: Watch me eat my bacon
In other words, watch me put those skills I’ve just described on LinkedIn into action. The use of YouTube really depends on what your business is; if you’re a fashion retailer, interviews with designers or fashion shows will be a huge hit, but if you’re an electrical equipment manufacturer, this is the ideal place to post product demonstrations or new inventions. Whatever you post, just make sure they have a title that will appeal to the biggest audience. What would you search for if you wanted this video?
Instagram: Here’s a vintage photo of my bacon
Instagram is a tricky one for most businesses; unless you have a business which is product led, it’s really just a place for you to post the social aspects, and I would always recommend Facebook as being a much better platform for this kind of post as it will receive a lot more meaningful traffic.
Pinterest: Here’s a recipe with bacon
At first glance you might think that Pinterest is the same as Instagram, but you’d be wrong. Instead of taking pictures of your own, it enables you to share pictures of others. I think this is a great way of showcasing your company ethos. The Weaveability account, for example, has a ‘Cool Tech’ board, because being a software company in eCommerce we love the latest gadgets and gizmos that will impact how we work and how our customers think. We also have a ‘Marketing Know-how’ board with infographics, as well as a ‘Funny Side’ board with memes relating to the everyday problems of people who work in our industry. I love how you can express the personality of your company on Pinterest, and it boasts the largest longevity period of any other kind of social media, with re-pins still occurring three months or more after first being posted.
Google+: I work for Google and eat bacon
I think of Google+ as a mix of Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. The posts are very visual with a high longevity and can be news-based, humorous or informative. It’s only for a Google account but I find it a great source of industry news, as you can add all the major channels to your circles. It also has the added bonus of being able to categorise the people you follow, meaning that you can select certain material to be posted to those circles only – very useful if you have any specialised material.
To conclude, some top tips for starting out!
If you understand social media, and you understand where you can find your audience, then there’s no reason why you can’t find a social media strategy that blends perfectly into the workings of your company. So, how do you define it?
1) Ask yourself who your customers are and where you can find them. Every channel is different, so if you don’t know where they are, go and find out! Once you know this, you can start to build your strategy around it, focusing on their key needs.
2) Ask yourself what they want to see. Customers will rarely want to read brochure after brochure of what products you make – if you know your market, you should know what kind of content is popular.
3) Offer them something for nothing. For you to stand out, you need to give the audience your knowledge and your expertise to gain their respect, and in turn boost your own credibility and standing within your market.
4) Stay consistent. Work out what content you’re going to post for each channel and make sure you stick to it. There’s nothing worse than crossing over content and reposting from channel to channel – it gives a lazy impression to the audience.
5) Get yourself noticed. You don’t have to go over the top, but it doesn’t hurt to share and comment things that will be of interest to your readers. Aside from further cementing you as a voice of wisdom within your field, it helps demonstrate your company as being the one who understands the market; just make sure that when you comment it is for a reason. Be clear, concise and contribute something to the discussion – you’re more likely to get a positive reaction and some follows as a result of it.
If you'd like more information about how to embed a strategic social platform, why not take a few minutes to view our Omnia eCommerce solution page.