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Social media planning: how to stand out from the crowd?

There can no longer be any doubting the value of social media. It’s a powerful tool which, when used effectively, can definitely create leads and drive sales. The problem is social media is becoming ever-more competitive and cutthroat. Although online audiences continue to grow exponentially, getting the attention of that audience is becoming increasingly difficult. Many businesses mistakenly believe that the way to overcome these difficulties is to add more and more channels to their marketing strategy. Unfortunately, that approach never works, and will not drive or engagement or result in a better ROI.

So what can your business do to stand out from the crowd? How can you win that share of the online audience? Well, the simple answer is to have a plan and a clear strategy. This plan needs to be very carefully considered and structured and must address issues like strategy, content, creativity and analytics. So, if you really want your business to ride the social media wave, then you consider the following points:

Objectives

There’s no point spending time and effort on social media if you’ve no idea where you want to end up. You need to have an end goal, whether that’s increasing the number of your followers, boosting referral traffic to your website, fostering engagement or driving more conversions. To achieve that you’ll need a strategy. The important thing to remember is that whatever goals you do set must be measurable, as this is the only way you’ll be able to gauge whether your plan is successful.

Know your audience

If you want to engage with your audience and build a long-lasting rapport, you’ll need to know exactly who your audience is. You’ll need to understand their interests, know where they hang out, appreciate what is motivating them and understand what their needs are. So, spend time studying your analytics and find out which social media channels your followers are engaging with. This will help you tailor your content and discussions to the areas that are most relevant for your audience.

Content is key

Quality content is vital to the success of any social media strategy. Interesting posts and thoughtful insights engage readers and ultimately help to build a brand’s online reputation. Not only will great content attract new readers: it will also keep them engaged and brand-loyal. However, remember it’s not the ‘brand’ that’s important per se: it’s the way people interact with and respond to the brand that’s crucial. In order to build a sense of brand loyalty, it’s important that businesses not only provide fresh and interesting content, but also content that is carefully targeted so that it meets the needs and the expectations of the audience.

Get creative

What type of content do followers share most on social media networks?  Informative and interesting content, or funny and amusing stuff? Well, the answer is a mixture of everything. There’s a place for everything on Facebook and Twitter, whether that’s original or educational content, contentious and controversial content or simply frivolous stuff. The important point to remember is good content sparks engagement and encourages brand loyalty. But what about company information: is there a place for that anywhere? Well, yes there is – but its use needs to moderated and contextualised.  The type of content that is readily shared is the creative stuff. It gets the conversation going and engages the audience. The more creative you can be, the more likely it is to be shared.

Be consistent

If you want to foster continued engagement on your social channels, you’ll need to post consistently. The crucial issue is getting the balance right. You don’t want to be posting countless times a day because this will only antagonise an audience. You also shouldn’t only post content whenever the mood takes you. What you should be looking to do is post content regularly. So draw up a schedule and decide whether you’re going to post daily, weekly or monthly, and when you’ve done that, make sure you stick to the schedule. Brand-loyal audiences like certainty.

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