Creating your company's brand voice is about more than just designing your fully-owned media spaces, like your website and blog. It's just as important to customize, align, and update your partially-owned social spaces, like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and others.
By taking the time to strategize about where, when, how, and what to post on your company's social spaces, you could be saving yourself a lot of time, money, and heartache in the future.
Step 1: Claim all Social Spaces for your Business
Start by listing out all the spaces your company exists, or should exist, on. There are dozens upon dozens of social media possibilities, so it's time to figure out where you want to be and stake your claim! One benefit of doing this as early as possible is getting a link that has your company name in the title, also called a vanity URL. So, instead of being at socialsite.com/123456, you’ll be at socialsite.com/mycompanyname. It may seem like a simple thing, but it will go a long way toward helping your customers remember where you are.
Being where you're expected to be has other benefits, too. This is not the time to play hide and seek! If your company has a physical office, it absolutely should have a page on Google Places, Yelp, and Foursquare. The more pathways you can create from third-party social sites to your digital and physical addresses, the more traffic you’ll get.
Once you’ve claimed your spaces, then take the time to do a little housekeeping. Put your brand message up in the bio sections and upload some images. Make it feel homey.
Step 2: Create a Post Strategy for the most Important Social Spaces
Now that you’ve gotten your social spaces in order, it’s time to think about if you want to post to all of them. Make sure you’re willing to put in the updating hours before you commit to being present on 36 different social sites. If you don’t think you can do it all, then pick out your top 1-3 that you think your customers will want to interact with the most.
For argument’s sake, let’s say you picked out more than one social media site. Consider how each site communicates with your customer base, look for what unique message or audience type is in each space, then craft messages that make the most sense for that particular medium and audience. For example, the Rise Facebook audience is comprised primarily of clients and friends we’ve met in the industry, so we post things that we think those folks will care about. On Twitter, we have a lot more folks from the industry following us, so we can get away with sounding more techy. And we’re more apt to get on our soapbox about current digital trends...something that most of our Facebook fans wouldn’t give two hoots about.
Posting from various perspectives not only gives your brand more depth, it also gives people the reason to follow you in more than one place. Two different social sites, two completely different audiences, but one main brand and posting strategy.
So at this point, you know where you’re posting and the kinds of things you want to talk about on each space. Now all you have to do is decide how often you want to post. Yep, it’s commitment time. That doesn’t have to be scary, though! Just pick out a schedule that you know you can keep up with. Plus, there are a variety of tools out there that can help you schedule posts out in advance.
Step 3: Activate your Audience
Let’s say that you already have a decent following (because growing an audience on your social media spaces is a whole other process! If you’re interested in this kind of post, let us know in the comments!). The next question is: How do you keep them interested?
That’s where an activation strategy comes into play. Think about what will be interesting and/or useful for each social space audience and what will elicit a response (like, comment, share, retweet, etc.). Then make sure that it’s still something that falls within your brand. For example, if Rise started talking about women’s fashion, it might be interesting for our audience and might get a few likes, but it wouldn’t make sense for our brand since we’re a digital branding agency. If we talk about fashion as a way to brand yourself, then we’re more on target since it’s about one of our core services.
Why is this important?
- People can always unlike/unfollow your page.
- On Facebook, if you’re not posting interesting things, then you won’t show up very high in someone’s feed. Which limits your reach to that person. Besides, isn’t getting more exposure the whole reason you signed up for Facebook in the first place?
- On Facebook, if you have interesting posts, then you have the potential to reach your fans’ friends and family.
Step 4: Analyze the Results and Pivot if Necessary
Google Analytics and Facebook Insights can be two of your new best friends if you’re using them to their full potential. Google Analytics allows you to track specific content marketing campaigns that point back to your website, so you know exactly which campaign is generating the most amount of traffic for your site. This allows you to shape and hone your posting and activation strategies as the market changes and grows.
Facebook Insights offers insanely targeted marketing potential for as much money as you can invest at any particular time. Know your audience, and Insights will help with the rest. You can target ads to “friends of my friends,” specific locations, genders, ages, demographics, or keywords the user has been posting. Yeah, it’s that cool.
You have to be willing to read the writing on the wall, though: If you’ve been posting on 3 different social spaces for the past 6 months and don’t have a bit of traction, it’s time to change course. Your social media strategy is meant to help your business succeed. When it doesn’t, don’t be afraid to alter your approach or ask for help.