Whether you are starting a new brand, or updating a current brand by bolstering your online presence through social media, there are several actions you can take to set yourself up for success. Besides the obvious building blocks, cohesive branding & accurate listing information, the below tips are just as important to include in your timeline and planning.
- Investing in photography should be a priority. The world of social media is visually driven. Regardless of what market your brand falls into, high-quality images should be a top priority when building your online presence. Potential consumers want to glean as much information as they can, quickly. A great way to convey the basics of your brand, and what sets you apart, is through aesthetically pleasing photography. If you don’t have a big budget, invest in yourself or a team member to take on this task. Familiarize yourself with the camera on your phone or a basic camera. Scour the internet for brands and images that you would like to emulate. Practice taking photos, basing your angles and styling off of images you’ve garnered for inspiration. I’ve linked to a helpful article here.
- Planning out your content is a MUST. This goes hand-in-hand with the first tip. With a bank of photos, you’re able to plan out your content. Given the in-real-time and organic nature of social media, you’ll need to have some flexibility and always view your content calendar as a fluid outline. However, to rely completely on spur-of-the moment posting would be a huge mistake. Having a plan ensures that you showcase all of your content themes to your current and potential customers. For example, you should be informing your audience about your brand message or product, promoting events or sales, sharing user-generated content and incorporating content that actively engages your audience (asking questions, giveaways, etc.). Keep in mind, if you’re promoting a product, special, event, sale, etc. users should be exposed to key information more than once to further ensure their support and conversions. If you don’t have a plan, it’s easy to lose track of dates and how often you should be touching on your various content themes on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis. I’ve linked a helpful article here.
- Determine what trending topics apply to you and don’t miss out on aligning your brand with them. Whether it’s a food holiday, national holiday, seasonal offering, etc., make sure you’re aware of any key dates when planning out your content. This gives you a chance to ideate a complementary promotion, graphic/imagery, etc. and have time to promote and execute. Don’t underestimate the value of chiming in on a trending or applicable topic on social media. On the other side of the coin, be mindful to avoid more controversial topics, no matter how good-intentioned, will not be interpreted well by all. If it doesn’t apply to your brand, it’s not a necessary content theme.
- The more engaged you are, the more engaged your audience will be. Be mindful of the content you’re sharing. Does it promote engagement? Your answer should be ‘yes,’ and if that’s the case, you need to be prepared to manage the community that you’re cultivating. If your audience is responding to your content, you need to keep the line of communication open. You do this in a variety of ways, ‘liking’ their comment, responding to their questions, replying to comments or tags, etc. The rule of thumb should be to reply with a ‘customer service’ tone at the bare minimum. If your brand calls for your tone to be more casual, fun, etc. try to keep this in mind when engaging with current and potential customers. Speaking of engaging with users, remember to follow and engage with relevant or aggregate accounts that apply to your brand. If you’re a restaurant, follow local and national food publications, influencers and aggregate accounts. This is another way to expose your brand to relevant accounts and fans of those accounts.
- Set aside a budget, even if it’s small, to run digital ads. This effort will supplement your organic community management and follower acquisition efforts. While digital ads are a hefty topic, you can watch a few tutorials to understand the basics. If revenue from social media is a priority, you need to invest in an employee or freelance digital advertising expert. It’s too much work to do alone. However, if your needs are light or you’re just starting out, it’s a necessary component that you are more than capable of handling after some necessary reading. Avoid the number one mistake that small businesses make: boosting individual posts instead of setting up targeted bi-weekly or monthly ad campaigns. Your money is better spent on Brand Awareness, Follower Acquisition and Website Conversion ads through Facebook’s Ads Manager platform. I’ve included a helpful article here.