See how businesses may be overusing social media outlets, and learn how these platforms are best utilized to attract engagement.
Wait a minute! We were all told years ago that using social media was the next big thing, and we had to post, share, tweet, and chat to stay ahead of the competition and bring in more business. Now you’re telling us we’re sharing too much?
There are tons of social outlets out there. The key is to select the ones that do the following:
(1) Make the most sense for your industry and business goals
(2) Are nurtured appropriately by your staff or marketing group
What’s happening now: the oversharing trend
New social media websites pop up every year; some catch on and some fall flat. Early trendsetting companies are anxious to test out these new platforms and create new engagement opportunities with potential customers. The drawbacks to using brand new social tools are:
- They have not yet generated a large, varied audience to warrant targeting
- They risk not gaining any traction or validity as a respectable, profitable method of social engagement
Another trend includes the late-blooming companies that are finally hopping on the social media bandwagon. Now seeing the value of social media, they are trying to join as many popular social media sites as possible. Joining too many social media sites can create “noise” to your customers, as described by Entrepreneur.com:
In response to such increased noise, many consumers may respond by simply tuning out. Even worse, they may disengage altogether and even unfollow your brand if they see that you post too frequently without providing anything of real value.
Now, businesses are faced with a new challenge: selecting social media that fits their business and provides the best opportunities for audience engagement.
Choosing the best social media outlet
Not all social channels are created equal. Think of them as an exercise regimen. Let’s say your goal is to build strength in your arms and upper body, but your exercise routine consists of only riding a bicycle. Yes, you’re still getting a workout, but you are not following the proper regimen to achieve your goals.
CWS’ Social Media Specialist, Ethan Herber, provided some insight into the best uses for three of the more popular social media channels:
Overall, Facebook is a great tool for businesses of all industries. Posts, likes, and shares are all ways for businesses to connect with their audience. But be careful; FB needs to be updated on a more frequent basis to generate and hold consumer interest. This means you’ll need someone to continuously update and engage with users. My recommendation is to post two to three times per week and check notifications daily.
Twitter provides an unique opportunity to target a specific audience through the use of hashtags. Businesses are able to reach their communities in a news format. In other words, you’re providing the latest and greatest updates of your business in 140 characters or less. You’ll want to keep posts short and punchy, like a news headline. This is not ideal for every business, so be sure to consult your marketing team. Finally, Twitter works best when paired with other social media, so don’t plan to use Twitter alone for your social strategy.
Instagram is definitely one of the up-and-coming social platforms to keep an eye on. It’s extremely effective for connecting with customers and allowing them to see the inside of your business through video and photo sharing. A word of caution: Be mindful of the visual representations that you’re sharing publicly. I recommend posting one to two times per week, as well as liking or sharing your audience’s posts on a weekly basis.
Keep in mind that there are plenty of other social media sites that may provide benefits to your business, such as Pinterest, Snapchat, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and YouTube, to name a few. Be sure to consult your marketing team to determine which platform is recommended.
Sustaining and nurturing your social media presence
If you’re not going to actively engage on social media, don’t expect your audience to. Whatever platform you use, consider that you will need to post, share, or upload items on a weekly, or even daily, basis. Here are some tips for sustaining your social media presence:
- Keep the frequency of your social engagement consistent. For example, if you start posting weekly, don’t stop for three months and then start up again. Be consistent.
- If you can’t be active on social media on your own, hire someone to help. If you make social media a part of your sales and marketing strategy, it deserves to have time, energy, and funding devoted to it.
- All posts and shares should be conversational, not overly promotional. You want to welcome your audience to your brand, not badger them with salesman messages like Buy Buy Buy!
- It’s best to pick one to two social media sites and be highly active, rather than using five platforms with little to no activity.
- Always think about your audience when you post to your social sites. Leave any personal or unprofessional commentary to your personal pages.
- If your audience comments or engages with your pages and/or posts, respond to them! By responding to your audience, you show that you are an active and interested company that values each and every customer.
Remember, it’s not enough to just have a Facebook page or Twitter account. You need to remain active on these channels and nurture your audience’s interactions as needed. Social media is about being social. Don’t be the kid at the party that stands in the corner waiting for someone to come up and start a conversation. Be the initiator.
Lastly, don’t overshare or overuse social media just for the sake of being everywhere at once. Going back to the party analogy, it’s better to have meaningful interactions with a few people then to nod at everyone and have no one really know who you are.