Social media marketing can seem a little like hoovering your home: you know you should do it, everyone else seems to, but it’s so damn time consuming to do week in, week out – and the benefits aren’t immediately tangible. And yet for startups, utilising social media regularly and coherently really is essential – whether in terms of customer acquisition, brand positioning, wider awareness or simply becoming the leading opinion maker in your field.
But a mere Twitter presence isn’t enough. You need to communicate regularly with the people you need – clearly, concisely and cleverly. According to marketing platform Hubspot, last year 80% of marketers claimed that social media marketing was important for increasing traffic to their websites. And yet according to Social Media Examiner, 85% of marketers aren’t sure what social media tools are the best to use.
So how can you take care of your company’s messaging efficiently, inexpensively and shrewdly? We spoke to Chris Bell at We Did That, a content creative agency whose clients range from Unilever, Philips and Audi to takeaway company Just Eat and password management platform Dashlane. But the same advice applies to all businesses, whatever stage they’re at…
- Do it now
“As fast as possible, you need to start humanizing your company and its products,” says Chris. “And social media channels are the free, easy way to do this – to broadcast your brand’s voice and content.” Statistics shows that that humanizing effects of social media are far more efficient at improving your brand recognition – with far higher conversion rates too. “Do it right,” says Chris, “And simultaneously you’re friendlier and more accessible for new customers, while more familiar and recognizable for existing customers. It’s a no-brainer.”
- Do it readably
“We used to write and edit major lifestyle magazines, so it never fails to shock us how painfully dull social media can be,” says Chris. “This is the voice of your company – the personality of the brand! Don’t bore people to death with it.” So it is important that you distill any blogpost or tweet down to the essential points you want to get across, then move on. But more essential is that you establish the right tone and style. “Remember,” says Chris, “People like doing business with other people; not with companies. And social media enables that relationship of a wide scale.”
- Do it regularly
“Be careful not to only tweet or post a blog when you have something to push, like a new product or an update,” says Chris “Your audience will feel like they’re being sold to all the time, so they’ll have no reason to check back regularly.” So think about a social schedule that slowly build a wealth of content your audience will find compelling and valuable – and do it regularly enough that they stay in contact. “Ideally, this means making contact with the outside world at least once a day,” says Chris.
- Do it widely
Building a brand is about showing where your brand fits into your customer’s lives. “This means reacting to, and having an opinion on, subjects and items in the news that may seem only tangentially to do with your core messages,” says Chris. “Remember, you want to get as many eyes reading your content as possible. So anything which engages your audience and encourages a conversation is gold dust.”
- Get someone else to do it
List all the social media channels that need attending – Twitter, Facebook, increasingly LinkedIn and so on – as well as your company blog, and it can seem overwhelming. But social doesn’t have to be arduous or tedious, says Chris. “Think of it as another part of your business that needs servicing, like your accounts or your legal affairs. There are providers out there, like us, who specialize in generating buzz and talkability for your brand – who can take the headache out of building your public persona efficiently and inexpensively. Which means you can get on with actually building the company.”