Once you create a Twitter account and link it to your website your brand will become a viral sensation, right?
Social media algorithms and strategies change daily, so how do you keep your brand in the conversation on social day in and day out? Oftentimes my clients think their social media presence will develop overnight which is unfortunately not the case. Mashable’s list of Top 10 Brands on Social Media in 2013 reveal specific reasons why brands are popular on social media. Now of course, the term “popular” should be used loosely, as brands all have different goals and measurements of success on social media. Some are looking to increase their following while others are looking to achieve higher engagement rates. It is important to keep in mind when developing a social media strategy that it must be tailored specifically to each client or brand in order to meet their goals.
Though those listed on Mashable’s Top Brands list are all well-known companies, there are reasons other than their large following and popularity that landed them on this list. How did they do it? Here are a few tips to ensure your brand stays relevant on social media, for the long-term:
Consistency on social media is arguably the best way to ensure success. Companies will lose followers quickly if they do not share updates regularly, typically daily, with relevant content and important news. It is similar to maintaining relationships offline: your relationships will fade if you are not checking in regularly to nurture them. Of course, consistency on each social network can vary. On Twitter, I recommend posting at least 3-5 times daily. On Facebook, 1 post daily will work just fine. It is generally appropriate to post on LinkedIn at most once per day, excluding job postings. Instagram updates should be shared multiple times per week, but time sensitive posts will work the best! Posting a picture of your dinner last night at 10:30 am this morning will be off-putting to your followers, so make sure to post at appropriate times! On Pinterest, there is no limit; pin away!
Would you consider someone your best friend if you didn’t talk to them regularly? I don’t think so, and it works the same way on social media. You don’t just want to talk at your followers, but rather you want to talk with them. I will guarantee a rapid loss of followers if your posts solely include company updates without a call to action (i.e. how your followers feel about it, if they have any input, etc.). The best way to maintain a high following is to engage with your followers. Offer advice and then ask your followers if they have anything to add. Promote a company event and then target specific users to attend. Does a follower have a question for your brand? Make sure you answer it in the shortest amount of time possible.
3. Thought leadership
There’s a reason why celebrities and CEOs have a much higher following than average twitter users: they are experts in their field. Does your CEO have an opinion on a controversial topic? Promote that (and tag them if possible)! Followers become uninterested if your posts only link to articles without taking a position (that’s what journalists are for). Your company’s reaction to current events are important and valuable to your followers. You don’t want your brand to be the follower; you want them to be a leader! Take a position and stick to it.
4. Know your audience
Your followers have specific interests and they are following you because you discuss topics that they are interested in. If you are a healthcare company who all of a sudden starts posting about popular rap music, your followers will be confused and will likely unfollow you because you are no longer relevant to them. All companies have an established target audience, so make sure you adhere to that on social media, too. Brand standards and messaging apply to social media, so it is vital to understanding who your target audience is on all platforms.
5. Have a plan
It may come as a surprise that social media strategies are artfully crafted, similar to all PR and Communications plans. Your posts must maintain a specific message and position in order to achieve relevancy on social media. Are you aware of a national event taking place? Plan out where you can insert your brand into that conversation on social media. Target your audience and align your messaging with the interests of your followers. Find a way to promote your thought leadership. Research popular hashtags where you can maximize your brand's reach. Having a social media strategy will ensure your brand stays relevant on social media.
How do you ensure you remain relevant on social media? Let me know in the comments!