Insight May 18, 2016

Social Media Tips – Part 1


Facebook and Twitter can get a bit overwhelmed with news of the day (politics, events, sports, etc.). How do businesses get their message across when a story or stories dominate social media?

Social media has completely changed news distribution as we know it today. Journalists, publishers and brand ambassadors now have direct access to engage with their audiences. This said, the ever-changing algorithms and sharing behaviors of the social space have formed somewhat of a barrier between the media and their audiences. This, of course, influences how news is created, as well as the stories chosen to produce and share.

As brand ambassadors, we can sense (and see) that journalists are feeling more pressure to share on social media. This creates another opportunity to reach them. However, with the news of today – be it politics, events or sports – it can be nearly impossible to get your message across or picked up. Here are a few ways to do so:

  • Personalize. Personalization is vital when it comes to capturing the attention of your audience. Therefore, it’s important to find ways to customize messages on each of the social media platforms you use. Before posting, get to know who is reading and why. Once you know the who, you’ll have a better idea of what and when to post. Consider using Facebook’s custom audiences tool, with which you can target your message(s) to reach exactly the right audience.
  • Share quality content. Whether you are getting your startup off the ground or are simply trying to grow your social media presence, building your audience should be a top priority. Think about what you read and choose to follow. Now flip that around to your brand. What will your target audience enjoy? For example, if you are opening a fashion retail business, start sharing content about the latest styling trends. This content could be in the form of a blog, podcast, video, infographic, etc., created and shared by you and/or industry influencers.
  • Focus on audience engagement. Followers who actually read your posts and interact with them are essential to growing your online presence, thereby increasing the chances of your content getting seen. Make an effort to expand your networks by following, replying to and sharing content by industry influencers. Furthermore:
    • If your followers have questions, give them answers. Customer service and quick responses are key to a successful business.
    • Consider hosting a contest. People are more likely to engage (whether that’s a follow, like, comment or share) if there’s something in it for them. Work with a local restaurant, retail establishment or sports team to find giveaways that get people excited.
    • Tell stories. Regardless of what you’re promoting, people want to know who is behind the profile. Share stories about what ties you to your audience, what connects you to your brand and what inspires you to do great work, and you’ll create an engaged following.
  • Tell a visual story. Focus on sharing personal, behind-the-scenes stories with customers – the ones who have bought into your brand culture – rather than focusing solely on promoting your products and services. Also, data and numbers often help make the case or provide background information for a story. When thinking about how to tell these stories, think visually. In addition to uploading still images to your posts, consider incorporating GIFs, videos and infographics, all of which tend to stand out as users scroll through hundreds (sometimes thousands) of posts.
  • Make friends and develop relationships with the media. Be a source of credible, newsworthy information…fast. As a brand manager, it’s our job to help news organizations create original content, responding in a timely manner via our contacts’ preferred medium.
  • Brevity is key. Figure out what the hook is, share that on social media and use your blog or website to lead media and/or customers to long-form content with more information.

Originally appeared in the April 22, 2016 edition of the Memphis Business Journal