I audit social media profiles for a living. I've seen some crackin' strategies and I've seen some strategies quite literally cracking.
There are endless ways of approaching social media when it comes to digital marketing, and there's no denying the importance of a brands social presence in today's tech driven society. Getting it right can be hard, and often time-consuming, especially for a small business that doesn't have a dedicated social media manager or team.
I've pulled together the following tips for SMEs that want to leverage the resources they have to hand in order to get the most out of one of the most popular social platforms: Twitter.
Here are seven tips to help you up your Twitter game.
1. Unlink your Facebook and Twitter Account
It's tempting to link your Facebook posts to your Twitter account, I get it. It saves you time after all, but honestly, it's doing you more harm than good.
First off, Twitter's 140 character limit will cut down your three paragraph long Facebook post, leaving half your message behind.
Links Shell Cove junior clinics start this afternoon at 4pm and are only $10 per hour lesson.- Links Shell Cove (@LinksShellCove) July 20, 2017
To book in or for... https://t.co/vTjYsheiqr
Twitter's character limit means you'll struggle to get the desired message across if you link up Facebook posts
The same works in reverse too - when you post a link from Twitter to Facebook, you end up with Twitter vernacular and hashtags on Facebook, which can look out of place.
In order to connect with your audience, it's vital to get your whole message across, clearly and effectively, and the only way to ensure that happens is to post to each platform individually.
Learn the difference between cross-promotion and cross-posting. Cross-promoting will save you time, cross-posting will only save you engagement (and I don't mean rescue).
By cross-posting, you cut your tweets short and miss out on sharing important messages. By cross-promoting, you can get the same message across on several social media channels by ensuring you optimize that content for each and every channel.
Think about how your post will be displayed, what kind of following you have on each channel and what they're there to see and do. Facebook is better for insightful and slightly longer content, whereas people are on Twitter are ready for snappy, digestible information. Cater to this and start posting directly to Twitter.
2. Change your display picture to your company logo
Familiarity is key in social media marketing. With social channels flooded by brands, companies and bloggers alike, standing out requires a separate strategy in itself. It's important to remember that many users will rely on your display picture to identify you as a brand. Showcasing your logo as your display picture will mean users will automatically accredit the quality information and content you post with your brand. It's all about online reputation management. Give yourself credit where it's due.
Whether you're tweeting once a day, or once an hour, every time you send a micro blog out in the form of a 140 character sentence or two, it's a chance for you to showcase your brand. Ensuring your logo is present next to your tweets will do you a whole world of good when it comes to raising awareness.
3. Don't miss out on trending hashtags
Each year social media explodes with people and brands engaging in annual awareness days. Some of them are questionable, I'll give you that (how or who came up with the idea for National Milk Day?), but there are plenty of other interesting and relevant celebrations which you can get involved with.
Awareness Days is a great source for upcoming national days - and it even lets you know which hashtag to use when the days come around.
There are also US, UK and Australian versions of the site listings, providing local information.
Make a calendar, note down all the annual days that might be relevant to your brand, stick it up in the office and start thinking of creative ways you might be able to get involved.
Getting involved with trending hashtags on social media is great for increasing your visibility. My go-to saying is 'social media is about being social', so by getting involved with trending conversations you're putting yourself out there, a great place to be to achieve higher engagement rates.
4. Stop signing off at 5:30pm
This is not just a mistake often made by SMEs but some big companies too. Social media doesn't conform to office hours. Social runs always, it never turns off, we never log out.
Even if you go home at 5:30pm, it's important to always have one eye on the ball. Your followers don't log out after 5:30pm and neither should you. Whether it's questions they need answering, or in-the-moment situations you should be responding to, social media is an around the clock job. It's important to be present on social - the most popular times on Twitter, for example, are in the evenings, once everyone's home from work, so it's vital to be active here.
Also, planning what to post is one thing, but remembering to do it is a whole other. There are some great tools out there which enable you to upload and schedule your tweets in advance. Tools like Hootsuite and Buffer mean your content will go out at times when you may not be able to manually send it out. But at the same time, be sure not to use scheduling tools as a replacement for consistent management - you still need to be aware of what's happening on Twitter at all times.
Make Twitter an around the clock thing, and certainly don't tweet your 'over and out' at the end of your shift, even if Harrods do (they're not always the best).
5. Steer away from repetitive content
Forcing users to see the same thing over and over won't make then buy into your brand - in fact it'll probably do the complete opposite. We all have a message we want to get across, and very likely a product or service we want to sell, but direct, repetitive content is not always the answer.
Just like watching the same TV ad over and over makes you want to gouge your eyeballs out with spoons, repetitive Twitter content will do just the same. There are better ways to build relationships with your audience, all whilst selling your product at the same time. The key is to ensure your content is varied - never intrusive, or forced, but always informative and entertaining.
It might be tempting to tweet the same things day after day, and there's no doubt it saves you time, but it certainly won't do your online reputation any good.
So, mix it up a little, even if it does mean dedicating an hour or two to a weekly content plan on a Monday morning.
6. Make use of your analytics
Twitter, Instagram and Facebook all offer in-stream analytics if you have a business account set up, and making use of the data these analytics features have to offer can help to improve your social media strategy.
Pay close attention to the engagement rates on certain posts, make note of what kind of posts get the most attention and categorize these. Once you have a good understanding of what kind of content your audience enjoy, start posting more of the same. Instagram now even gives you notifications on which posts perform best - you might find your following particularly likes behind the scene content, for example, or inspirational quotes.
Overall, analytics are a great way to see you your social media marketing progress in the form of helpful data as it develops over time.
Ensure all your accounts are set up as business accounts and get analyzing.
7. Don't be afraid to be you
As an SME or local business you have uniqueness on your side. You've got personality, and authenticity - make the most of this.
The passion and values that drive your business should really come across on your social channels. Audiences buy into authenticity; being 'human' and showing character on social will help to build a genuine relationship with your audience. A lot of big brands lose this personal touch when they hide behind colorful slogans and poster boards, but smaller businesses have the opportunity to show what stands behind their logo. Social media enables you to market your product or service in a sociable, human way, and this approach is great for building trust with your following.
Think about how you can make your brand three dimensional on social, think about how you might introduce your staff and their passions - users love a behind the scenes sneak peek. Some brands also like to sign off tweets and replies personally, leaving their initials at the end of a post, giving an added personal touch to your Twitter profile which can really help with customer relationship management.
So, harness your values and beliefs and take pride in being you.
Hopefully these notes will get you thinking and help you refine and improve your Twitter strategy.