More Than Hashtags: How to Succeed with Social Media

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By Julia Cardillo, Intern

social-media-successThese days, it feels like everyone is on social media. With nearly 4.2 billion accounts registered on just the major platforms (think Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), Pew Research Center calculated that last year 76% of all online U.S. adults use social networking sites. That’s including everyone from your tech-savvy college niece to grandma. While it seems like everyone you know is uploading daily accounts of their workout routine and Starbucks orders, social media is much more than just “re-gramming” lattes and “hash tagging” #tbt. For brands, whether corporate or personal, this enormous level of social media engagement can play a crucial role in building brand awareness and in turn, generating customers or clients.

For brands looking to expand their presence and venture into the digital sphere, adopting social media may seem like a daunting task. While many of us use social media to share our daily personal lives with friends and family online, managing a business account requires an entirely different strategy than we typically use for our own profiles. What’s going to gain likes from your friends and family isn’t necessarily going to attract customers to your business. So how exactly do we build an audience for our company and keep them interested?

Create timely content

Timing is everything, especially in the media world. When creating content to share on your media channels, be aware of the calendar to ensure you are posting items that reflect current events and are seasonally appropriate. Be sure to take advantage of major events, such as the Super Bowl, Grammys or major events in your industry to capitalize on trending hashtags and increased social activity. While enjoying the broadcast at home, keep your phone nearby, ready to tweet in response to plays or awards. A great example of real-time responses, which helped make a seemingly unrelated brand go viral, is DiGiorno Pizza’s Shorty Award winning tweets during the Sound of Music Live in 2013. Through witty, real-time tweets, a frozen pizza brand “broke the internet” by garnering over 44 million impressions during NBC’s live musical event.

Even when big events aren’t going on, social media managers should familiarize themselves with the best times to post content. Each platform has a peak time when the most users are online. Generally, most users are online during waking hours, with the most activity occurring between 3 p.m.to 12 a.m. Posting during these periods can maximize your reach, bringing your message and brand to a wider audience. Because the most effective times to post may vary between industries and platforms, make sure to sign up for an analytics service, such as Google Analytics, or use the free Facebook Insights tab on your company page to learn when your unique audience is most active.

Make it relatable

Audience members want to see content that is applicable to them and directly influences their lives. When creating your content calendar, be sure to include relevant news, promotions and events but always keep your audience’s interests in mind. Find topics within your industry that are important to these populations and will encourage them to interact with your posts. If you’re a vegan restaurant, chances are a post about the latest BBQ recipes won’t perform well. However, if you’re looking to soften the image of vegetarianism to meat eaters, a short video featuring gourmet cupcakes that are coincidentally vegan may garner attention from an otherwise unlikely audience.

Before posting, learn who your audience is and decide whom you are trying to reach to maximize the impact of each post. For more information on how to effectively target an audience in today’s crowded newsfeeds, Tim Gerdes, Director of Digital Services at R&J provides insightful strategies in his blog post “Signal to Noise: Competing for Your Customers’ Attention in a Crowded Marketplace.”

Keep it consistent

Once you’ve mastered how to gain a following, keep driving traffic to your page with a consistent flow of content. Viral posts may be great for attracting new followers, but brands must follow up with equally as creative content to retain their newfound audience. Develop a schedule that generates new content on a consistent basis to always keep your brand visible. While daily or even hourly posts work best for large corporations such as Disney or The New York Times, smaller brands may benefit from sharing blogs or photos every 2-3 days. Find a schedule that works for your activity level but don’t let your channel fall silent. A newsfeed with large breaks or sporadic content will diminish the credibility of your business and will only create a lull in new followers. Utilize social managing platforms such as Sprout Social or Hootsuite to schedule posts in advance to keep a consistent, active newsfeed.

Are you ready to increase your online presence with social media? Shoot us a message to see how R&J Strategic Communications can help get your brand online.






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