Social media have become a marketing discipline in recent years and are key to a balanced marketing mix. However, online and social media measures are distinct. The following ten tips for successful social media communication can help start-ups launch well on the social web.
tip 1:Develop a strategy
Shaping the social media strategy is the first step as there can be “no measure without destination”. Using journalism’s 6W method (who, what, when, where, why, which and how), you can set up a strategic, overall framework and gradually add more steps. Then ask yourself, who am I are trying to address? What message do I wish to send where, and on which channel? The more precise the strategy, the more you know about your target groups, their needs and social media preferences, the easier it becomes to make custom-made content for your customer and target group.
tip 2: Listen first, then talk
Social media is like a good conversation. When someone talks only about himself/herself, the other person listens but a connection is not made. Exchanging ideas and making relations are the essence of social media. That means knowing what motivates a target group, identifying their needs and how you can meet their needs. That is best done by listening and taking part in conversations among a target group. Then you can compile successful content.
tip 3: Keep an eye on the competition
What is going on in your market? Who is doing what? How successful is communication? What’s going well, what could be better? The more you know about your rivals and their social media communication, the easier it becomes to address your target group. Benchmarking is thus also part of the basics of social media communication.
tip 4: Create valuable content
Create content that gives users added value. “Teflon” content that does not stick or does not offer any added value is forgotten as fast as it’s consumed and will not further your communication. Solve your users’ problems, answer questions, inform and entertain sustainedly. Then a chance of long-term brand or product perception will emerge. Remember, the worm must be attractive to the fish, not to the fisherman! Take this tip and make sure your content is interesting and has a headline worth clicking on. Studies show that 80 per cent of click decisions are based on headlines.
tip 5: Continuity and resilience
Before you start communicating, make sure that it can be sustained over a longer period of time. Start by making sure your activities have the resoures and capacities to communicate permanently and continually on the social media web. Resilience, not letting rip, is the key to success in a social media environment.
tip 6: Call to actions and easy consumption
Believe it or not, “call to actions“ are still very helpful and raise the average shareability of content by up to 27 per cent. Make it as easy as possible for followers to consume, comment and share your content. The fewer the clicks, the higher the probability of interaction with your content.
tip 7: Be where your target group is
That means using the same channels as your target groups. A good Instagram strategy is doomed to failure, if your target groups are more likely to be on special platforms or Twitter. The same applies to the choice of channel and when your content is published. Forget studies showing the best time for publishing content. Look up your own statistics and check when your target groups and followers are most active. That can be highly individual and requires good planning.
tip 8: Planning and testing
Good planning is half the job and that applies especially to social media activities. Plan the content per channel and according to your editing schedule. That gives you an overview of what you have already planned, which functions work or do not work (and can be removed from the editing schedule). Be flexible and post content that has arisen at short notice, but that pays and help you reach your targets. Social media also requires speed.
Testing, trying out and experimenting is the other side of the social media coin. There is no SINGLE social media strategy or THE formula for going viral. Experiment and try out your content without losing sight of your target group’s needs and their aims. The next point is complementary.
tip 9: Gauging and analysing
Gauge your activities on different channels and see what effect, which measures have. Continually monitoring your activities will make you stand out from unsuccessful content in the long term and allow you to improve your content on each channel.
tip 10: Invest
Invest time, capacities and (unfortunately) money. Naturally, value-adding contents are still essential. However, the reach of networks like Facebook, the organic (not increased with advertising) is becoming ever more restricted. Advertising campaigns are a tried and tested, key means of achieving a high reach. Budgets have to take account of such advertising measures to be successful in the long term. Few, really successful brands and products do without advertising support.
Guest contribution from Dominik Böcker to Hamburg News