Social Media- Make it work for you
‘It can seem an awful lot of effort, this tweeting and posting. Why use it at all? What’s the point?’
If you are a small marketing team of one, continuously having to keep up social media accounts can seem like reason enough not to want to bother with it at all. However, with everything going digital and with 73% of adults using at least one social media channel on a regular basis, you simply can’t afford to miss out. Social media enables you to contribute positively to you/ your organisation’s public image and reach audiences you would never normally have the chance to. And we, the social media team, are here to help to show you how to make that possible.
Where do I start?
If you have never used social media, start by looking at similar events or attractions. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What social accounts have they set up? Facebook, Twitter, both or any others?
- How regularly do they post- once a day? Twice a week?
- What do they talk about in their posts- team photos? Interesting facts about their sector, topical updates or other external links?
- What type of response are they receiving from their audiences- shares, likes or comments?
Once you start to get a feeler for what others are doing, you will be able to think about your own social media strategy, research whats out there and decide what type of social media accounts you want to start with and what will be feasible to keep up.
Take the plunge
Set up the social media accounts that are right for you. The Social Media Examiner website is useful. We have also produced how-to guides for Twitter and Facebook that might be of help you. Don’t be afraid to take the plunge and shoot a few (considered) posts out to start making your profile look interesting and worth following.
Are there any dos and don’ts I should know about?
A lot of social media is about experimentation and finding what works best for you. However, we follow a sort of online etiquette that we find helpful to bear in mind when we post:
- Make a good first impression. Seems like common sense, but take time to upload a nice profile banner, fill up your contact information, description text
- Experiment. Try posting at different times initially to see what works. Test the waters and don’t be too afraid to experiment. Later, use facebook insights to find out when your followers are online by the hour
- Be original. The content in your post should not simply be lifted from elsewhere. Even if you are sharing content from your website or an external source, put a unique twist on it to make it more “shareable” and “likeable”.
- Encourage engagement. Use quizzes, quotes, agree vs disagree, what’s your favourite, ask for recommendations.
- Nurture your networks. Make friends, build a community and most importantly don’t forget to say please and thank you when they re-tweet your posts and credit people if you use their content
- Connect with your influencers. These are people who have a significant following, such as bloggers, press and local media. If they connect back and push you out to their audience, then you'll really earn some brownie points. Use your profile to improve your outreach to these “influencer hubs” and get more from your social media presence.
- Be positive and complimentary at all times.
- Use poor quality photos. It is better to find a higher quality image and credit an external source than to post dark, blurry, tiny photos
- Be repetitive, irrelevant or tasteless. This can be seen as spam
- Hard sell. It doesn’t work
- Over-post. It will quickly drive followers away. Choose quality over quantity at all times
- Don’t ignore people. Acknowledge, retweet, thank them and answer questions quickly
How do I grow my audience?
Being original and creative is the best way to gain attention, generate sharing and increase interaction. Potential customers need information such as opening times or contact details, but what really creates a buzz is personal stories, photos and videos, a look at the future and, most importantly, the chance for the public to be collaborative, contributing and driving a theme in any direction.
There are also many ways in which you can begin to encourage people to follow you even without tweeting:
- Follow as many people in your industry and area that you can. At first, you can follow up to 2,000 people, and Twitter recommends accounts that may be of interest to you. Following people will draw you to their attention, and many will be interested in following you back.
- Use Hashtags. Jump onto conversations with content that would be of interest to people viewing hashtag topics on Twitter and Facebook and you could see more people coming through to you. See hashtag example here
- Contribute to communities. Google+ and Linkedin have groups and communities that you could share your posts on which will then appear in all group member’s feeds. Pinterest promotes community building and wider audience reach for collaborators through “Group Boards”.
- Get the conversation going. Contributing to other organisation’s social efforts is a great way to join a conversation and be seen by new audiences. See example here.
What if I don’t have anything to post about?
This would mean there is nothing going on in your organisation, in your industry or in your area, which is never the case! There is ALWAYS something to post about – it doesn’t have to always be about your event or organisation. The trick is to always have your social media hat on. That way whenever you come across something interesting that you think is worth talking about with your audience you can save it to post later: promote events hosted by others, share photos and videos, ask for opinions on a subject matter – the possibilities are endless.
It doesn’t need to be a chore! Commit to the channels you feel you can reasonably keep updated with current and interesting content. If you are unable to do it yourself, try and find someone else in your organisation who would be interested to take this on or even a volunteer dedicated to raising the awareness of your event or attraction through social media. The more effective you are, the more consistent and appealing your message, the more engaged your audience feels, the more you will get out of your social posting activity.