Five things you need to do now to get social media to work for you

Are you not getting the results you’d like from social media? It could be you’re missing an important trick! Read five things you need to do now to get social media to work for you.

Facebook recently announced that less branded content will be shown to people in future (read how to survive the “Facebook apocalypse” here). It’s a blow to even the largest of companies, but when you’re small it’s easy to feel like you can’t compete, your efforts will be wasted and you’ll never beat the ‘algorithms’.

But fear not. There are ways you can ensure your social channels are still performing effectively despite the changes. In fact, there’s never been a better time to review your social media plan and budget.

Five things you need to do now to get social media to work for you

By looking closely at your activity, results, audience and current spend you can review each channel one by one and make certain your social media efforts meet your current objectives and goals. Here are five golden rules from Karen Pearce from Bristol-based digital marketing agency, Digirank.

1) Drill down into your results

Collect and analyse detailed data from all of your social media accounts using the built-in social insights tools such as Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, Instagram Insights and Pinterest Analytics to answer these three important questions:

1) What time should you post?

Look at the time that your most active and engaged users are online for each channel. This will change for each channel so make sure you find this data for each. Use platforms such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck to schedule posts for the time that most of your users are online.

2) What types of posts should you be publishing?

Look at what types of posts get the most engagement. Is it video, polls, images? Again this will differ from channel to channel so don’t be too quick to stop an activity if it’s not working as it might be perfect for another.

Remember too that social platforms don’t like sending users away from their platforms. This means that external links are always down-weighted by the algorithm. Focus on getting the most engagement on the platform itself.

3) What content should you be posting?

Use Google Analytics and software such as Buzzsumo to identify which of your website’s content is being shared most socially. This will help you identify the type of posts that your audience want to see more of.

2) Analyse your audience

Sometimes the people that end up following and engaging with you are completely different to those you expected to when you first set out on your social strategy.

Use social Insights to review the demographics of your engaged audience including location, age and gender. You’ll have different audiences on each platform so you’ll need to create a target audience for each.

Use Google Analytics to identify ‘affinity categories’ also known as ‘interests’ that your audience has. For example, if your audience is made up of a high percentage of people interested in film, this is something you should explore with your content.

If you have an eCommerce business, go one step further and use Google Analytics to review the demographics of the people who become loyal customers. You may find that although 18-24 year olds engage most with your social channels, it’s 24-34 year olds that spend the most money with you. You’ll want to take this into account.

3) Ensure consistency across platforms

It’s rare that a company’s social channels are all set up in one go. Some platforms won’t even exist when you first start!

If you’ve added social media channels overtime then make sure you regularly audit all of your social accounts. Is your brand consistent across all of them? Look at your branded assets, tone of voice and graphics. Do they all match your current branding? Are they used in the same way? This is so important to how people perceive you and influences everything from whether they will buy from or recommend you.

It’s always worth considering when a new platform launches, or suddenly becomes popular, whether it makes sense for you to use it or not. If you do decide it’s worthwhile, make sure your brand remains consistent on it.

4) Optimise your profiles

Are you using the most of what is available?

  • Have you completed your bio and About Us section in full? Is it optimised for search?
  • Have you included the best URL for that channel? Hint – it’s not always your website’s homepage. For example, look at your current business goals, if your aim is to get people to find out more about your services, send them straight to your Services page.
  • Have you verified your social account? This builds trust with your audience, so verify all the channels you can.
  • Are you using your cover and profile picture? Cover photos are a great way to quickly introduce people to your brand – use a high-quality graphic with a tagline, one that communicates how you will benefit them. It’ll tell your audience why they should follow and engage with you.

For example, if you’re a card shop you may choose: Helping you say it better with personalised greeting cards.

Remember that cover photos must be closely related to your website’s branding as it’s a doorway to your company. If the branding is extremely different between the two you can lose trust.

When it comes to your profile image, it should be simple and consistent across all social channels. It’s recommended to either use your company logo or a head and shoulders image of your ‘front man or woman’.

5) Review your budget and ROI

Once you have looked closely at your activity, results and audiences, you will be able to review your current budgets and ROI (return on investment).

If you have been targeting a wide audience and your insights show that in fact only half of your perceived target audience are engaged, you can choose to update your targeting and potentially reduce spend.

Alternatively, you can choose to maintain spend and instead run more paid ads that are more relevant and go to a more targeted audience. Getting more bang for your buck is always a winner.

After reviewing your results on each channel, you will be able to see which channels drive which objectives. For example, Facebook may regularly drive newsletter signups and Pinterest drive sample orders whereas Instagram may be more of a discovery platform which pushes people towards the website. All this will help you see where you can get the best return on investment.

Making time to run through this checklist every month will pay dividends, and should Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest make a surprise announcement you’ll be well prepared to respond.

Karen Pearce is Client Strategy Director at Bristol-based digital marketing agency, Digirank. Karen has acquired over 13 years’ experience in traditional and digital marketing. She currently leads a talented team of digital marketing experts to deliver innovative, award-winning digital campaigns.