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Social Media: The Basics

Friday, February 28th, 2014 by Jenny

It’s been a decade since the emergence of Facebook, and the advent of social media has forever changed the landscape of corporate marketing strategies. Companies across all industries are increasingly participating in conversations with their consumers via wall posts or tweets, but often are unsure of how to make the first move. Having helped various lifestyle brands build their social media presences, I’ve broken down some of the key tips to engagement I’ve found:

1. When starting out, be selective.

So many businesses make the mistake of trying to maintain a social presence across every relevant platform just to put themselves out there. Consider which formats (for example, the more visually driven Pinterest, Instagram, or YouTube, or the more text-driven Twitter) will share your brand news with your consumers more effectively. Focusing your efforts on channels that are more complementary to your content will be more successful in building your following than trying to do a little bit of everything.

2. Keep it brief.

Last year, Tech Crunch reported that 78 percent of Facebook’s daily U.S. users access their pages exclusively via mobile. In a world where consumers with smartphones are wielding increasing influence, the format that your content is being viewed on is most likely the screen of an iPhone. Whether it’s 140 characters in Twitter, or using a URL shortener to share a link on Facebook, make sure your message is concise, compelling, and piques your followers’ curiosity—instead of forcing them to scroll to know the full story. The actual content you’re linking them to will tell them that.

3. Provide content from multiple sources.

Social media channels are like the Cookie Monster: You need to keep feeding them content to keep them happy and active. However, this does not have to impose pressure on you or your organization to post. Sharing content from fellow users of your product, or broadcasting relevant industry events, diversifies your feeds in ways that engage your consumers and simultaneously position you as a resource for your followers. They’ll see your feeds aren’t just about self-promotion, but sharing real information that is relevant and useful to them.

4. Track everything!

Clicking “post” may feel like the equivalent of firing off content into the oblivion of cyberspace, but monitoring what responses you generate in return is critical to understanding what engages your audience and how to grow their number. Metric trackers like Google Analytics are easy to set up to identify everything from the times when traffic is highest for your various pages/feeds to which type of posts your followers read, re-read, and share.

5. Social media is not a 9-5 job.

Maintaining a brand’s social media presence is not a role that powers off Friday evenings to be resumed Monday morning. Just as you, your colleagues, and even your kids, are logging online during time spent out of the office, so too are your consumers. Making sure some sort of new content is readily available during these hours is minimizing the number of missed opportunities to engage with your customers. Obviously not all companies can monitor their various feeds 24/7, but strategically teeing up content in advance to provide a seemingly constant stream of new information is key to maintaining consumer interest.

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is a member of the Content Bureau editorial team.

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The Business of Copywriting

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