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Successfully shaping the online #conversation

POSTED: 19th October 2016
IN: Guides
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There’s no dark art to keeping your business’ social media accounts healthy. There are loads of cheats and sneaky tips to help you look awesome online, with minimal effort.

When you’ve got orders to process, invoices to chase and meetings to attend, it’s easy to see how tweeting might drop off your priority list. We get it. You’re busy as a business owner and sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

You’d be forgiven for falling behind and losing interest, because social media evolves so quickly. But when you think of all those potential customers, partners, influencers and investors that are scrolling through their Facebook newsfeeds right now, it suddenly becomes obvious that you could be missing a trick.

Aldermore’s in-house social media expert, Vicky Murphy, explains how you can run an enviable social presence for your business… and it doesn’t have to be a chore. 

 

What should you post?

Your audience needs to see that your business is your passion. You’re the expert, so let it show.

Have a think about why someone would follow you and what you need to post to keep them interested. Are they looking for offers and discounts, behind the scenes exclusives, industry news, expert advice, product updates or interesting articles? There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, so keep a varied mix to grow and engage your followers. You may start to see a pattern in terms of what works well and gets you the most engagement, so tailor your feed to work to your strengths.

A good place to start is by looking at your competitors; see who is winning on social in your industry and learn from them.

Remember: don’t just talk about your business. It’s not about hard selling; it’s about interacting, having personality and furthering awareness of your brand.

Where should you post?

No-one goes on LinkedIn for baking tips.

Think about your demographic – on which platform do they spend their time and what do they want to see there? Put yourself in their shoes.

There’s probably not much point posting only on LinkedIn if you’re trying to talk to students or, to contrast, it’s unlikely you’ll find many middle-aged business people on Snapchat. Facebook has the largest number of users and it’s really good for building your fan base if you’re direct to consumer. LinkedIn is for businesses, while Instagram is the place to go for image sharing.
It’s better to choose the right channel and do it well, than post meaningless messages on multiple platforms.

How do you manage what you’re posting?

No-one expects busy entrepreneurs to be browsing Twitter all day. Scheduling posts removes the need to have eyes online at all times.

With this in mind, you can’t pre-plan everything and you should still interact with users individually.

Scheduling helps you set the backbone of your social media without worry, so maybe spend an hour on Monday mornings scheduling a handful of posts to gradually go live throughout the week. Tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer and Tweetdeck have basic versions that are free to use, with paid options for more advanced features.

 

Vicky’s top tips to social media success

  1. Talk with people, not at them.

“Did you know algorithms used by social sites can punish you for low performing posts? It’s crucial to get likes, shares and comments your messages. Engagement like this will not only help posts perform better, but will further your reach, build relationships with your community and create awareness of your brand.”

 

  1. Take advantage of Twitter lists

 “You probably have a little black book of business contacts, so why wouldn’t you for social too? Think of Twitter lists as the category separators in your phone book.
Created through your Twitter settings, lists are groups of specific accounts which can be viewed all in one feed without sifting through your timeline or searching manually.
Segmentation like this is great for grouping bloggers, customers, competitors and more.

You may see themes emerge in their conversations and get inspiration for your own posts. If you see that three of your influencers keep talking to the same blogger – get in there and join the conversation! “ 

  1. Make your posts pretty

“Most social sites will give priority in newsfeeds to messages with visual assets – so the more engaging your post, the more likely it is that people will see it. Use GIFS (Twitter has a built in GIF keyboard), royalty free stock imagery (from sites such as Google Advanced Image Search) and even pics you’ve snapped on your phone to make your posts perform better. The more human the better.”

  1. Know what works

 “Analyse your activity to see what your top performing posts are and what links your audience are clicking. This allows you to do more of the good stuff. You can access basic insights using the platforms themselves, or download reports from your scheduling software. If no-one is clicking when you post pictures of cats, stop doing it (although cat GIFs will NEVER be unpopular).”

  1. Be topical and human

Check sites like BuzzSumo for hot content, keep an eye on trending topics and don’t be afraid to stray from your general area of expertise if it feels right. Jump on hashtags too but don’t use too many in one post – two is usually best-practice.

 

 

 

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