At the beginning of May, I attended several sessions of Social Media Camp 2016 in downtown Victoria, BC. The intention was to seek out those sessions that I felt would assist me broadening my understanding of the extremely convoluted arena of social media marketing. In the relatively short time I was there, my brain exploded with remarkable insight, reams of notes, and a new appreciation of how brands should be operating across the spectrum of social media. New social media fads come and go, but the underlying message was always consistent.
“Be human, authentic and personal. Leave your suit and tie at the door.”
This is the overwhelming sentiment for every social interaction (with the only exception, perhaps being LinkedIn). Once your audience feels that you are spending too much time ‘marketing’ to them, you will lose their attention.
I’ve tried to capture several tips that can be taken and put into action right away depending on which network you are active in. This might be ‘old hat’ or it might be 100% new, so I hope there is at least one person who finds some value is what I have to say.
Be Human and Authentic
Get used to the repetition. This was epitomized by a great conversation/story/presentation by speaker David Knapp Fisher. His presentation on ‘connecting with your audience’ exemplified the human approach. Companies seem terrified to show their human side, share an opinion or take a chance. Guess what, your followers are human, not robots, and they want to hear your human voice.
Take risks, show vulnerability, and share an opinion; be conversational! No one will respond to thinly veiled sales pitches.
LinkedIn Publisher Dominates Article Views
The article publisher on LinkedIn generates more immediate eyeballs than any other network. When you post to Facebook you might reach a few hundred. With LinkedIn you might reach 10,000 if a single influencer takes the time to check it out. We’re still figuring this out, but watch for a lot more interaction from us on LinkedIn in the coming year. Here is a great beginner’s primer on writing for LinkedIn.
Promoted Content on Social Media Performs like Gangbusters
It’s true. And at this moment, it’s the cheapest, highest ROI, content marketing strategy around. If you want your content to reach more people, promote it. If you think that your content is super awesome and it could lead to new customers, followers, or fans, then click that ‘Boost’ button (this being Facebook specific).
The most important part is to target appropriately, whether geographically, or topic based. Try it, it works. However, when building your promoted content, refer back to item #1. Start with promoting only to your ‘Friends and their friends’. The Facebook algorithm stunts most brand posts so promoting them to your followers will ensure it gets a fighting chance. Once they start engaging the content, your organic reach will grow.
If you have a Facebook account you may have seen something like this (look for the ‘sponsored’ attribute):
Instagram is where you Visually Tell Your Brand Story
People have a love/hate relationship with Instagram. Those who engage on it, love it, and engage well. Those who don’t understand it, can’t be bothered. However, you can really gain great feedback on Instagram solely based on the type of person who engages there.
Be FUN! This is visual marketing, so feature your brand culture. Photos of staff enjoying themselves, in and out of the office! By showing the human side of the brand, you suddenly become approachable. Try it. You might be surprised! Here’s an inspirational Instagram account using nature as a setting: https://www.instagram.com/fursty/.
Always Read Articles that you Share
This might seem obvious, but you would be surprised how many of us will share an entire article based solely on the heading or title. Headings are constructed to attract clicks. Sometimes the article content is in contrast to the flamboyant headline.
Always read the article, and when sharing, use a particularly meaningful snippet to comment on during your share. Never share an article without some manner of comment that states an opinion or personal angle. This will speak to your audience and will usually trigger responses, especially if you ask for it!
Is there a common theme here?
As mentioned, my head swelled from the volume of incredible information that was shared during this event. I was able to attend 2 days of sessions over the event’s 4 days, and easily felt the time was well spent. Social media is proving to be a very difficult nut to crack for many companies because they still use older communication styles that people don’t respond to that well.
Again, referring back to point #1, consider this phrase I learned: your engagement potential is measured by the “weight of your interaction”. Meaning, if you spend your day simply ‘liking’ content, you won’t elicit a response. However, if you take the next step and actually comment (start a conversation), your engagement value grows exponentially!
Now go forth and socialize!