Social Media: Tools & Tips

It’s no secret that social media has become a very powerful marketing tool. Social media has become an essential part of our everyday lives. Because of this, businesses have transformed social media into a marketing tool.

Last quarter, I was given the opportunity to run a social media-based campaign with my classmates for our advanced public relations class. While each of us had experience with social media, using it personally is much different than using it for a business or PR campaign. Having to adapt those skills taught each of us a lot. Here are a few of the lessons I have been able to use during my internship that you can apply to your business’ social media strategy:

1.    Take a crash course on analytics:

An important part of social media is being able to measure your success. Fortunately, social media sites are now equipped with analytic and insight tools. This data allows businesses to see exactly how their social media posts are performing. Seeing what works and what doesn’t allows you to personalize your social media according to your audience. A great way to get familiar with analytics for your social media sites is to take a free course about these tools. Hootsuite Academy provides great, free courses on social marketing. In my own campaign, these courses helped me understand the basics of analytics and other social marketing skills.

2.    Take advantage of scheduling tools:

To be keep your audience engaged, you need to post regularly. Keeping your social media accounts active gains traffic and keeps your audience up to date and engaged. Not only is it important to have constant content, but it’s also important to take your time creating the content that will be posted. According to a case study done by ymarketing, “When well executed, [original content] not only increases your traffic – it engages your audience in a way that positions you as a trusted source.”  Doing this ahead of time will only save you time in the future. Free tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, and MavSocial enable you to schedule your posts ahead of time for multiple social media platforms. Additionally, Facebook gives you the option to schedule posts when you create a page for your company, campaign, or group.

3.    Graphics catch attention:

Whether it be a picture you took or a graphic you created, always include graphics. According to Buffer Social, “Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than tweets without images.” If this intimidates you because you’re not a graphic designer, don’t worry, I’m no photoshop genius myself.  Now, sites like Canva can help you create designs of all kinds. It’s easy to use, and more importantly, it’s free to use! In my own campaign, my team used Canva to create Snapchat geofilters. If you aren’t a photographer either, sites like Unsplash, Pexels, and StockSnap give you access to unlicensed, high resolution pictures.

4.    Live Streaming is the future:

Live streaming is a tool that is booming. According to Mediakix, “82% [of audiences] favor live video over social posts.” With tools like Periscope, Instagram live, and Facebook live; live streaming doesn’t need to be a big production. All you need is a good internet connection and a smartphone to reach your audience in a new way. For example, my class hosted an event for our campaign. Because the event was during the week, it was difficult for some students to attend in person. If attending in person was an issue, students would tune in to the Facebook live stream instead. Audiences we reached outside of our student body also watched the live stream instead of attending the on-campus event. Live streaming can be used in a variety of ways like hosting interviews, showing a behind the scenes look at your company, hosting Q&A’s with your audience, and even live streaming your events!  It’s a simple way to connect to your audience and maybe even widen your reach.

5.    Always include a call to action:

With every picture, tweet, or post, it is crucial to have a call to action. Giving your audience a call to action boosts engagement. What is it that you want your audience to take away from your post?  Should they visit your website? Do you want them to donate money to your cause?  Whatever it may be, make sure it is clear what you want your audience to do next. Instagram promoted posts are a great example for this because it requires a call to action when you create the post.

6.    Lastly, choose your platform wisely:

Not all companies should have every single social media platform.  Each platform offers different features to meet different needs.  It’s important to think of the needs of your company as well as the needs of your audience and demographic. Once you have specified those needs, use them to determine what platform will be most useful.  For example, if your company is big on customer service, Twitter might be a good tool to create a dialog with your customers rather than Instagram, which is great for visual marketing. It is also important to note that each platform has different demographics. For example, according to SproutSocial, while Facebook is evenly used among all age groups, Instagram is used by 59% of 18-29 year-olds compared to only 33% of 30-49 year-olds. Make sure you know what audiences you’re reaching through each platform.

Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind when posting:

●     Post regularly, but don’t spam. While you want to keep your audience engaged, you also don’t want to drive them away. This CoSchedule blog post has great advice on how often to post.

●     See what posts get more views/likes/retweets and adjust your posts to that. It’s important to know what your audience likes.

●     Keep up with current trends, news, and holidays. If you use them the right way, you can generate more views.

●     Post at high traffic times. Posting at odd hours of the day will not get you much success.

Social media has become an essential part of the public relations and marketing industries. It can be a powerful tool if you know how to use it. Taking the time to adjust your social media strategy can be the difference between success and failure.

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Olivia Stafford