Posted: 10th July 2018

Social media is used by large groups of people to share information and to develop social and professional contacts. Here are some tips and tricks to help make the most of your social media activity, to help drive traffic to your website, increase sales, and also increase your following.

Some top tips

• Use the 80/20 rule—80 percent of what you say should offer interesting insights, educate, and spark debate with your audience. The other 20 percent can be whatever you like.

• Think of your social-media posts like a conversation at a dinner party and only talk about things that you know will interest other people.

• Pick key themes. Many people try to cover too many areas therefore becoming less relevant to their followers.

Have a Plan

• Audit where you currently are

• Set your objectives

• Select your channels and outline the roll of them

• Define your tone of voice

• Develop a content strategy

• Create ideas

• Develop a posting schedule

• Research ideas to drive followers

Remember the rules

Keep it regular.

Keep the opportunities for conversation going.

Keep it personal.

This is an informal vehicle. Think of it as a conversation, and let your brand’s personality shine. Be friendly and open.

Keep it relevant.

Focus on what you know people will want to read and drive those topics.

Have a plan and keep to it.

You need consistency, and your content should make sense to your followers. They should be able to recognize it verbally or visually. People are following you and expect to see certain things; don’t disappoint them.

Define your channel

It is important to clarify not only the channels you are going to use and why, but also the role these channels will play in your communications strategy. All channels have the overarching objective of generating interest, engagement, and amplifying the brand though sharing and positive sentiment. Each channel harnesses differing techniques to achieve that.

Get to grips with Twitter

Twitter is a free microblogging site that enables you to post messages, pictures, and links to your page in under 140 characters. People can follow your page, which means they subscribe to getting your updates in their newsfeed. People tend to follow brands and individuals who have similar interests or post about the same kinds of things. You can pretty much post as much as you like on twitter as it swallows up lots of data, here are the things to remember:

• Use the 80/20 Principle.

• Drive Traffic: Pique curiosity, drive clicks, and generate leads by delivering a relevant and timely offers.

• Always Post with Purpose: Be informative, useful, and engaging.

• Keep it Short and Sweet.

• Hashtags Are Essential: Always use at least one or two.

Figure out Facebook

Facebook is probably the best known of the social-media sites.

Generally, people use it to stay in touch with friends and family, but it is also a great way to promote your business. You can create a page for your company, update offers that you have, post pictures, run competitions, and also chat with customers. Here are some top Facebook tips:

• Brand-forward Messaging: Fans will like your page because they want to see latest news and offerings. It doesn’t have to be as artistic/polished as IG, but it should still feel curated.

• Keep It Punchy: Your page should include short and sweet copy with thumb-stopping imagery.

• Always Post with Purpose: Be informative, useful, and engaging.

Investigate Instagram

Instagram is a visual social-media site where you post pictures of things you like and that inspire you. Businesses can post images of recipes, clothes, furniture, or holidays, basically anything that illustrates what the business stands for. These images can also be linked to appear on your other social-media sites; therefore creating more traffic.

• Create an immersive, engaging expression of your world.

• Content should be an elevated expression of your brand.

• Be Topical: Posts should be timely and relevant to the mood and moment.

• Limit Hashtags: One to three is ideal.

• Punchy Copy: The shorter the sentences are, the better.

Pick through Pinterest

Pinterest is like an online mood board where you can post pictures from websites and other people’s boards. You can also split your boards into different areas, such as food, travel, and inspiration, and you can re-pin from other people’s websites.

• Provide Value and Be Useful: People use Pinterest for a purpose beyond inspiration. Boards must mix inspiration shots with product/ brand content.

• Optimize Copy for Search: The more detailed the better. Include relevant searchable keywords, without sounding like a laundry list.

Search through Snapchat

Snapchat is used to share photos, videos, text, and drawings. It has become hugely popular in a very short amount of time, especially with young people. Snapchat is different from other platforms because messages disappear from the recipient’s phone after a few seconds. What Happens on Snapchat Stays on Snapchat: Make your audience members feel like they are getting special access to unique content they can’t see anywhere else.

Learn about LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great tool for recruitment as you can post job listings and see a virtual résumé before you even get to the interviewing stage. It is also a great tool to promote your business and your credibility in your field.

Perfect your strategy

Grab those followers

• Follow brands you admire outside your field but with similar values.

• Look at what your customers are following and engaging with and learn from that.

• Look at complimentary brands and consider collaborations.

• Ask for feedback from your followers.

• Follow target publications and ask them for re posts and re tweets.

• If you have an ambassador program, integrate it into your social program.

• Plan your content delivery though a calendar.

Target Key People

When you first start creating your social-media strategy, it is best to work out what you want to achieve from it, to make sure you know what you are focusing on. Do you want to increase your followers generally? Or are you looking for only followers who are interested in what you do? Perhaps you just want to use it to see what competitors are up to. As with your business and PR goals, make a list of the things that matter the most to you.

Perfect your tone and voice

Voice is unique to your brand, and the tone is how you should apply it to different content and situations. The voice will always remain the same. We adjust its tone for the channel, and the audience, etc. Ensure that your tone and voice define you. Defining your tone and voice can even help you to develop a dictionary of key words that you can use through all of your communication tools.

Think about your customers

• Write down ten words that would describe the personality of your company. Is it energetic, fun, interesting, or confident?

• Write down ten words that you do not want to be associated with your business, such as silly, arrogant, or overwhelming. Look at your brand strapline and your elevator pitch, and see if you can write them in the brand’s tone and not your own. Or is the brand’s voice your voice? It is fine if it is, and easier in some respects. It is still helpful to have this part of the plan, as you can then hand off the voice to agencies, internal people, and anyone else who may have to write for the brand.

Remember the Keywords

Keywords are words that you use in your social media on a regular basis. They are words that you think people who are searching for a business like yours would be using. The key here is to make sure that everyone who sends out any social-media posts uses these words wherever possible, as this will begin to generate consistency across your brand.

List of Tweets

Your social-media campaign will be split into two areas: subjects that are proactive, and those that are reactive. The proactive side should be linked to your creative ideas—the ones you are sharing with the press. In your planning phase, decide what you are going to say throughout the year, and put the tweets into your time line so that there is always something interesting going out about your brand. There are a variety of tools, such as Hootsuite, where you can schedule your tweets to go out at set times. Avoid setting a tweet to go out on the hour or half hour, because it will look scheduled.

Video blogs are also becoming increasingly popular. Short videos that go out on a regular basis are attracting a huge amount of interest. Facebook is now actively supporting videos that are unique to the platform, uploaded directly to Facebook rather than via YouTube, Vine, or other platforms.

For the reactive side, keep an eye on the news so you can react to events involving your followers, brands you admire, competitors, and people’s day-to-day lives. This is much more fluid.

Your social-media strategy will look a lot like your PR strategy, as they have to work in tandem to ensure that they are as effective as possible. There’s no point sending out a press release about your new shop opening but not mentioning it on social media. This will be incorporated into your overall strategy document when you have input your information into the PR in a Box website.

Blogs and Blogging

Blogs are a great way to talk to your audience in the same way that social media does, but it provides the opportunity to do it in longhand and to go into more detail.

Keep your posts reasonably short, and talk only about subjects you have a passion for; otherwise you will tire of blogging very quickly. It is also OK for a blog to be about a subject that is quite specific. For instance, don’t just talk about travel—talk about travel for people from Ireland to unusual destinations in Asia, if that is something that interests you. If it is going to be linked to your company’s website, make sure it is relevant to the business.

See the website for examples of some great blogs that I follow.

Promotional and Product Videos

Most big brands these days are focusing on creating content. The more content you can put out there, the greater the chance that someone will interact with your company. A number of different sites are available to post on. Have a look on the PR in a Box site for some examples and a breakdown of the benefits of each site.

There are loads of different types of video content you can create, and you should think about it in the same way you plan your tweets or Facebook posts.

We get lots of clients asking us to create a viral video in the agency. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Brands have been made through creating videos that have gone viral, but most of the time it doesn’t just happen that easily. Unless you are hugely funny and creative, the best thing to do is to put something out there that will be of interest to your potential customers, something that people will want to pass on to their friends- See the website for some examples of viral videos.

When you are creating videos, you need to refer back to your brand guidelines. Ensure that the tone is in line with the rest of the business and that the language fits too. There’s no point being a very traditional, smart exclusive brand and then putting a video out about cats in the sink. Yes, cats are one of the most searched-for things on the Internet, but your video has to fit with your brand, or people will be confused.

Some examples of things you can make videos about include:

• How-to: Are there products in your range that will make people’s lives easier? Show customers how.

• Instructions: I often learn how to use something I have bought or even learn a new skill, such as plumbing in a dishwasher, through tutorial videos.

• Lifestyle: Does your company allow people to experience a lifestyle that they wouldn’t have without you?

• Endorsement: Have you got statements from celebrity followers or even interviews with ordinary customers who say how great your brand is? Use it!

• Local Area: Perhaps you want to bring people into your shop, restaurant, or hotel. Show them what they can expect from the surrounding area and attract them that way.

• Brand collaborations: Team up with another brand and show people how that might look on video.

• Meet the team: Chat with your team on camera and help people to understand more about your brand ethos and ideas that way.

• Plans for the future: A great way to talk about what is happening in the future with your company is to show it on video.

Crisis Management

Without sounding negative, it’s important to talk about crisis management, in case something untoward happens in the future. As they say, prevention is better than cure. If you know how you will deal with a problem in advance, then you will minimize the damage that it causes.

If you know in advance what you will say and who will comment on the situation, you will have increased chances of a positive outcome. Give some proper thought to the threats that may lie on the horizon, as this will stand you in good stead—if the worst happens.