Five Secrets to Social Success
18th Aug 2021
Sometimes social media can feel a bit like a bit of an unfair popularity game. Why do some brands have so many more followers, subscribers and shares than their competitors? One day your posts may achieve a colossal reach and other days no one sees them — rhyme nor reason as to why. Social media is a tricky mistress, but by following our five secrets to social success you’re likely to see an improvement in the rate of return you glean from social media, even if you don’t rival Christiano Ronaldo overnight.
1. Treat each platform as unique
Each platform has its strengths and weaknesses, this means there is little point in blasting the exact same content out across every social channel you’re on. You need to tailor what you post to suit the idiosyncrasies of each platform.
Consider the differences between how you are likely to consume a video on YouTube and Facebook. On YouTube, you’re actively looking for video content whether, for educational purposes or entertainment, you are also going to have the sound on and holding your phone in a landscape position or using a tablet/laptop. This set-up favours long-form, landscape video with an audio track — perhaps someone presenting the video and talking directly to the viewer. Whereas, on Facebook you are most likely going to be killing time, scrolling through your feed, holding your phone vertically. This platform favours snappy videos which catch the viewers’ attention in the first few seconds, videos play muted by default so the best practice is to use captions to communicate.
This doesn’t mean you cannot repurpose content, you just need to make sure each post is optimised for the particular constraints of each platform.
2. Prioritise which platforms you use
Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok and LinkedIn. There is an ever-growing list of platforms that people will tell you “you need to be on!” to expand your brand’s reach. The truth is however not all platforms suit all businesses — and if you’re not active on a platform it can be better to delete a platform than it is to have an account updated extremely sporadically.
A pub is unlikely to get much business from LinkedIn unless it’s a huge chain like JD Wetherspoon’s. Therefore, we advise clients to consider what platforms are most suitable for them and to excel at using those channels, there’s no point stretching yourself too thin. Remember the way to become popular on a platform is with frequent high-quality posts rather than occasional updates.
There is one exception to this: large brands may want to register on social platforms purely to protect their IP from imitation and parody. Social media phishing is a growing issue where scammers will pretend to be a company’s official account to con people, equally some people imitate famous faces and brands on social media to amass thousands of followers quickly. In these cases, it is advisable to register verified (with a blue tick) accounts on each platform to protect yourself, even if you never post on the platform.
3. Engage with your followers
One of the best things about social media is it enables two-way communication with your audience. The brands that perform best on social media, engage with their followers. Failing to respond to positive mentions on social media seems snobby, especially considering how easy it is to repost on platforms like Instagram and Twitter. People post about your brand because they want to talk about you, by engaging back with them you encourage them to do it more often and increase your visibility further.
Now we’ve talked about positive engagements let’s talk about bad ones. While the temptation is always to ignore them or try to get them deleted, responding to them is often the best strategy. You can choose to do so politely and with humility or give as good as you get!
4. Analyse to optimise
Setting up a new social media account for any organisation is always unchartered territory. What works for a competitor might not necessarily work for you, it is only by experimenting with the types of content you put out will you find what is exactly right.
This is why it is vital to look into the analytics of your social media channels so you can hone your output to resonate best with the people you want to be connecting with. There are a great many third-party providers of social media analytics — often with tiered subscriptions. But the truth is the best ones out there are the ones provided by these social media channels themselves for people with registered business accounts.
5. Develop your tone of voice
Tone of voice is an integral part of a brand’s image. No matter whether it’s fun, serious, authoritative or anything else a brand’s tone of voice needs to be consistent across all platforms. Problems with this arise however where social channels are managed by a team of individuals. For this reason, it can be helpful to create tone of voice guidelines to ensure that no matter whose turns it is to post, your brand sounds the same. The only exception to this may be if you opt instead to have team members identify who has posted that update, which some brands do as it gives a human touch.