With social distancing and rumored ‘lockdowns’ now the norm, many businesses have taken to social media to stay connected with their customer base. If you’ve found yourself ramping up your business’s social presence in the past month, it’s important to remember to stick to the fundamentals and hit your customers on the platforms they frequent the most. These days most people are regularly active on more than one platform and great content on one may not be as effective on another.
In an ideal world “one size fits all” is a wonderful idea.
From wrist watches and elastic pants, to universal healthcare, the concept that you can create one service, product or solution that ticks the box for everybody frankly gets me giddy.
Though like many ambitious concepts, everything is perfect… until it’s not. And if there’s one place where one size fits all doesn’t belong, it’s in your social media strategy.
I’ve seen some pretty horrific examples of this over the years. Tweets that abruptly run out of characters because they’ve been carried over from Facebook, or LinkedIn posts that look as inappropriate as wearing a nightclub dress to a funeral.
Different social media platforms cater to varying people and are used in unique ways – so you need to tailor your content accordingly. But I get it, you’re a busy business owner with a tonne of new challenges now COVID-19 is here. Or maybe you’re an overstretched marketing manager on reduced hours and working from your bedroom. How are you supposed to manage being seen on every channel, without spending all your time curating?
Here’s some food for thought:
1. Choose your platforms carefully
Before doing anything, it’s useful to contemplate why you want to be on a social media platform at all. A lot of brands fall into the trap of rushing into too many social media platforms (or maintaining lacklustre accounts) for no good reason, other than to be there – (and for the record, this isn’t a good reason).
- Why do I/we want to be on this social media platform?
- What do I/we want to achieve?
- What’s important to me/us?
- What does success look like?
- How much time and money can be invested into the strategy?
Answering these questions thoughtfully will help you determine which platforms you participate in. Some social media channels are better than others for attracting leads, whilst others appeal to a younger crowd or a specific gender. This comprehensive summary from Sprout Social provides a great analysis of demographics per major platform that may help you choose which ones are worth investing in to meet your goals. Yes, social media is obviously a great way to stay in touch with your customers, just try not to spread yourself too thin over too many platforms!
2. Great design is everything
The way you design your posts for different channels matters. For example, whilst infographics and other visual data can work well on LinkedIn, it would likely look out of place on Instagram. Meanwhile, Facebook can be great for long-form posts, but when using Twitter’s limited characters, it’s important to think about how an accompanying image can tell half the story.
Designing content to work with your chosen channel not only looks better, but helps you impress your audience. If you don’t have access to an in-house artist or creative agency, applications like Canva help design-novices develop professional looking content, whilst the likes of Hootsuite allow you to schedule it ahead of time.
3. Get to know your audience(s)
If you’re using different social media platforms, you’ve got different audiences. Depending on your brand the differences might be subtle or profound – either way, it’s important to understand the broad types of audience demographics different social media platforms attract (have you clicked on that Sprout Social link yet?).
After you’ve done that, the next task is to get to know your actual followers better – beyond their demographics.
Ask them. Try quizzes, posting questions and encouraging your followers to share their own stories and experiences via competitions/giveaways. Over time, you’ll learn about what gets your followers excited and what motivates them – which will guide you to create better content to engage them.
4. Leverage your most engaged followers
Perhaps the most important reason to tailor content across platforms is that it allows you to build strategies around your most engaged followers. The point of social media is, unsurprisingly, to facilitate social interaction. If you’re broadcasting the same content across all your channels with little consideration about the people receiving it, you’re not going to get far.
Instead, find the “champions” amongst your social channels. These are your advocates – the people who most actively engage with your brand. Tailoring your social media content is about building these people into your communications strategy. You might tag your champions in specific content, ask them to create their own shareable content for your page, film themselves reacting to your services or products and elevate them to an “expert” status amongst your social community.
These followers are gold for brands, because they do the talking for you – and with an authenticity that others are more likely to trust.
And if you don’t have champions?
Create them! Rewarding your happiest customers and giving them a platform to share their opinions is a sure-fire way to build trust and loyalty.
Coca-Cola’s ‘Share a Coke’ personalised bottle social media advocate campaign.
So, forget one size fits all and instead harness different communities amongst your social media channels that will make your platforms (and your new way of connecting with customers) sing.