One of the biggest complaints about social media that we at Depict Media come across is that “getting social media right demands SO MUCH TIME.”
Sure, it’s the truth. When it’s done the right way, it CAN take a lot of time. The coolest fact about it is that when it’s done the right way, it’s worth the investment of time, money and relationships.
Please don’t ignore that word. “Relationships” is one of the most important pieces that leads to success in business… on and offline.
Do you remember the original reason that you created your first social media account? Chances are it was to stay connected to the many people in your life, especially those who are far away. It certainly wasn’t to be advertised to or sold to, was it?
Fostering meaningful conversations and relationships via your social media channels can be one of the most solid marketing avenues to invest in because it is your digital frontline. This is where you have direct access to your fans and customer base at all times. When you’re present on these channels and spend time engaging in real time with your audience, it strengthens your connection with them. It’s just like nurturing any other relationship in your life… it takes time, but it always pays off.
So, I’ve broken it down into ten simple items here to get you started with a solid social media regimen for your brand.
1. Incorporate a Live Video Strategy — Yeah, ok! I’ll just jump right on in and tell you that if you don’t already have a live video strategy, you certainly need one.
“Well, my brand doesn’t really have anything to talk about on live video…”
WRONG-O! Your brand, just like any other solid brand out there, has a story to tell and an educational angle for your audience.
What kinds of questions are you constantly being asked by your clients and customers?
What pain points does your audience have that you can address and talk them through?
Think about the conversations that you’re already having with people in real life experiences, make a list of these topics, and then you have your content calendar for a live video series! BOOM!
“I don’t like to see/hear myself on camera.”
C’mon now… the way you appear on camera is honestly the way you appear in real life. Be confident! People already LOVE YOU, and getting on camera to have an in-real-time conversation with them will strengthen your relationship with them and build their loyalty to your brand even stronger. (You’ll notice I used that word “relationship again… just saying…)
“I can’t afford all of that expensive equipment.”
Ok ok ok. Let me tell you this: On our Friday Facebook Live show, #DEPICTTHIS, we simply use an iPhone, a small tripod that we bought on Amazon for $14, and a lavalier mic… that we also got on Amazon for $13. We get hundreds of views and lots of comments on every episode, and our community members are now even asking to be guests on the show. It’s been wonderful!
Not so intimidating now, is it?
You can come up with a million excuses not to do live video, but I’m telling you that if you just start doing it, you’ll get better and better at it, and your community will get so much value out of these video sessions with you. I promise, it pays off. And you’ll also grow to love it! As our good friend Brian Fanzo always demands: PRESS THE DAMN BUTTON!
2. Master the art of engagement — Tell me honestly: Do you enjoy one-sided conversations or lopsided relationships?
If you’re anything like me, then your answer is likely “no.”
Same goes for your online community! You can’t just post something on your Facebook page, then walk away and magically expect people to comment on your posts or share them. Before they’ll do this, they need to feel like engaging with your page is actually worth their own time and effort.
Are they going to leave a comment on your page that no one comes back and interacts with?
Or are you going to be that awesome, dependable brand who always comes back to re-join the conversation that’s happening on your Facebook page? I guarantee that if you decide to keep coming back and nurture meaningful conversations on your social platforms, that more people will want to come and hang out there and interact with you.
So what qualifies as engagement, you ask?
Here’s the answer: likes/reactions, comments, clicks and shares/retweets. Simple as that.
But here’s the thing: you don’t want just numbers for vanity sake. What you need to strive for are meaningful interactions with your page. This goes much further than one-word comments or a simple press of the “like” button.
Do you like it when you ask someone a question and they give you a one-word answer? More than likely, you don’t. When this happens, it doesn’t give you much room to expand on the conversation. Even if someone does leave one-word (or very short) answers, you can try expanding on the conversation by asking a follow-up question. This may encourage them to come back and re-engage, and to add even more value the next time they comment on your stuff.
When you take the time to engage with your community, they feel heard. They feel validated. They feel INCLUDED. This strengthens your relationship with your community, and leads to more loyal customers/fans/advocates. So as I mentioned before, it’s absolutely worth the time invested.
3. Craft content with specific goals — Do you ever feel that urge after you haven’t posted in awhile to just “get something up on your Facebook page?”
Please ignore this urge.
If you post simply for the sake of posting, then most likely you will often post “crap content.”
Before EVERY SINGLE SOCIAL MEDIA POST, you need to think to yourself: “What is this post going to accomplish? What am I hoping for when I post this on my social media channels?”
Are you trying to lead people to your website? Are you trying to get objective feedback from your audience so that you can improve your product or processes? Are you simply trying to make your fans feel good on a Monday morning?
Always post with intention. Oh! And always make sure that you’re developing your point well in the caption of your post. Most of the engagement that you can expect on your social media posts truly depend on a well-written caption.
When you write a clear caption, you’re leading your audience into a conversation about a topic. An example of a solid caption could be something like this:
“Writing the perfect caption for your social media post can oftentimes be quite the challenge! Looking for some easy ways to come up with valuable content for your social pages? Check out this insightful blog post: (insert link here)”
Here’s what happened in the caption above:
a. We touched on a common pain point
b. We asked if they are looking for help
c. We provided a resource and a call-to-action to help them right there, on-the-spot
You always want to be bringing value to your audience. So it’s almost like your momma always said: “If you don’t have anything good to post, don’t post anything at all!”
4. Deploy a video strategy — Did you know that by the year 2020, 70% of social media content is expected to be in video format?
Yep! Consider this your warning and a straight-up DEMAND to start brainstorming a solid video strategy.
This can tie back into developing your live video strategy, and that’s ok… but for most brands it’s a good idea to have a solid mix of both edited video as well as live video content.
This doesn’t have to be difficult! This can be as easy as creating a short, informative one-minute video on your cell-phone. Check out this example from an Open House that Julie and I attended this week for one of our former clients:
As you most likely noticed, this video does include video captioning. This is a very important item to take note of because when you add captions to your videos, you retain higher viewership.
Why is this? Well, let’s think about it. When you’re at work, sitting at your desk when everything around you is quiet, do you like to listen to video with sound on? Odds are, your answer is “no.”
Ok, so this is why it’s important to add captions to your video.
In this specific video, I used a tool called Quicc to caption my video content. The awesome thing about Quicc is that you can quickly upload your video to the platform, it captions the video for you, you go through and do any editing that you might need to do, then finalize the video and save it. Then you can put it anywhere! And people can get the full context of what you’re trying to say to them. It’s AMAZING.
Incorporating video content into your social media strategy has never been easier than it is right now. There are so many excellent and helpful social media tools out there that can truly help simplify this process for you, such as Animoto, Hyperlapse, Boomerang, and Ripl. These apps are usually very easy to use, and they all produce beautiful and engaging content. Give them a try!
5. Check your grammar — Ok, this is going to be a short section. Main point: GRAMMAR MATTERS! Periods matter. Exclamation points matter. Spelling matters. Using the correct form of “your” or “you’re” matters.
Why do these things matter so much? CREDIBILITY. When you are easily understood and when you remember to add context and the right amount of detail, you become a more credible source in the eyes of your audience. So please don’t undervalue the power of excellent grammar.
6. Be Scroll-Stopping! — This one seems like it should be common sense… but honestly, you’d be surprised how many folks just don’t realize how important this really is to your social media presence.
Like using proper grammar, using high-quality imagery in your social media posts really adds to your credibility. You want your social media post to be scroll-stopping.
What does that even mean?!
Think about it… when you’re scrolling, and you’re scrolling… and scrolling and then BOOM!
Cute puppy rolling around in a bowl! OMG!! I might need to share this… it’s SO CUTE!
Ok, now do you see what I mean? Ok good.
Be scroll-stopping. Your content isn’t doing you any good, and it’s not doing your audience any good if everyone is just going to scroll past it because it’s boring.
So what makes something “scroll-stopping?”
Well, this really boils down to your audience and what their interests and habits are. Is your typical audience working women who just need a break by Friday? Something like this might resonate with them:
Does your audience include business owners who really want to learn what in the world is so important about social media marketing? Well, maybe this will slow their scroll:
So, as you can see here, GIFs are quite engaging. Most times you can find a GIF that is absolutely perfect for your situation, and because they’re typically so relateable people tend to share them often.
But when it comes to your photography, you truly need to take into account the fact that your photos don’t necessarily need to be professionally done, but they do need to be nice images.
Same goes for video content! Angle, lighting and audio are all just as important as the content that you’re trying to communicate to your audience. Remember, if your content isn’t scroll-stopping, it’s a waste of time.
7. Be a resource to your audience — One of the best ways to draw your audience in closer to you is to constantly be educating them.
When your audience views you as a resource (because you use great grammar, your content is aesthetically pleasing, and you anticipate their needs before they even realize they have them,) then they come to you more and more often for valid, helpful information.
Think about how often you Google something in a single day. Consider that, and then also recall how many questionable sources your run across in the results. Who do you trust?
Most likely, you trust the name you are most familiar with who hasn’t failed you before. Am I right?
But what if YOUR social media channels eliminate your audience’s need to Google items that are related to your brand? What if they see your social media channel as such a reliable source that it’s the FIRST PLACE THEY GO for answers to their questions? Man. That’s some kind of trust.
And what if they start referring their friends and family to your social media channels — in turn, leading to more warm leads and more foot traffic to your actual brick and mortar? I’m telling you…
BE A RESOURCE.
Find a way to make everything that you post valuable, interesting, or educational. This doesn’t mean post about your product and/or your service in every single post. This means that you should think about topics your audience is already interested in, or questions that they already have, and create educational content around those items to draw your audience in.
The cool thing is that they’ll keep coming back. (so engage with them!)
8. Have a Facebook Group tied to your Facebook Page — Ok, now we’re going to go back to that “R” word we were talking about at the very beginning of this piece. Remember what it was?
What’s a really great way to cultivate community, relationships and experience on Facebook? Answer: Facebook Groups!
As our amazing friend Bella Vasta always says, “Your Facebook Page is like your front yard, but the backyard (your Facebook Group) is where all the magic happens. You want your group to be a destination. BE THE DESTINATION!”
Facebook Groups are on the rise, and they’re a wonderful place for your community members to collaborate, learn from you, learn from each other, and even teach each other a few things.
Once you have your group linked and all set up (nice description that lays out boundaries, nice cover photo, etc.) you need to start inviting people to the group. Start with your most engaged fans, some of your friends who are interested in your services, staff members, and any other folks that you know would enjoy collaborating and interacting in the group.
Similar to your Facebook page, you need to keep your audience engaged. Utilize polls, go live, post relate-able memes/gifs… make it a fun and valuable place for your most enthusiastic fans to hang out with each other.
If you want to learn about many of the other things that Facebook Groups have to offer, check out this episode of Social Media Examiner’s Social Media Marketing Podcast featuring Bella herself!
9. Optimize all content — This seems to be the most challenging piece about social media marketing to a lot of people, and it’s also a piece that’s hugely underutilized.
Optimizing your content does not have to be a huge, daunting task. In fact, if you’re constantly adding value and being genuine with your audience, then chances are most of your content is already optimized simply because you’re using using verbiage that draws your audience in and makes them crave what you have to say.
If you aren’t naturally doing this already, then the rest of this blog post will most likely set you up to be more successful at it!
But let’s back up a minute…
What in the world is social media optimization?
Simply put, social media optimization occurs when you include key terms and key words (with a natural feel) in your captioning, in your file names, and in your content tagging.
Why is it so important? Answer: VISIBILITY ON THE WEB!
That’s right… if you do this right on your social media channels, you increase your likelihood of showing up in Google search results. And where does someone usually go first when they are looking for an answer to a question? GOOGLE! (Unless you’ve already established yourself as the most credible source on the topic, as we talked about earlier in this piece!)
If you think about it, if you’re doing all of the things previously mentioned in this blog piece, then optimization is going to come very naturally to you. And if you haven’t already been doing all of these things, then just start making it a habit! The more you do things, the better you get at them.
So this leads me to my final item:
10. Show up in person! — Alright. I know that the title of this piece suggests that the entire thing is about being successful on social media.
Do you want to know something super powerful about social media that is highly-overlooked?
Answer: The power of taking your online relationship with your audience offline!
Have you ever had the experience of running into someone in person whom you’ve only ever known because you follow each other on your social media channels? It’s a very exciting circumstance!
What’s even more powerful? People tend to trust people even more once they’ve spent real time with them in person and shared an experience together. There’s really no feeling like it!
Social media engagement is very important for your brand and to your audience, but true face-to-face experiences are irreplaceable. Don’t be shy! Get out there and truly spend time nurturing those relationships.
We’ve covered a lot of ground in this piece, but we at Depict Media truly feel like our community can use all of these nuggets and come up with their own individual rockstar social media strategies.
Can’t wait to hear about everyone’s progress!
Do you have any questions or comments? Make sure to reach out and contact us so that we can help guide you along the way. Thanks for reading! -Jen