At first, social media, like Facebook, was designed to post personal thoughts and keep personal connections. However, where there are people, there are markets. Exposing private life to the public draws attentions, not merely from your private circle, but also outside your circle, such as from the business world. Enlightened by the principle of ‘going to your customers’, every piece of business nowadays is under the pressure of ‘you must have a social media presence’, and when done correctly, it can help scale businesses of all sizes (Long, 2017). Looking through the job market, social media skill becomes a core qualification that employers target at, and candidates with a communication or marketing degree have embraced more job opportunities. However, social media marketing is still being questioned as mundane and not challenging, and it is never the case. Social media marketing is a study and creating social media presence is more than PR. You can find numerous articles and journals online talking about keys to successful social media marketing and I’d love to point some out here.
Long (2017) concludes the goal of social media marketing as ‘putting your message in front of the correct audience and trigger engagement’, while Gary (2013) provides a more structured version of explanation: a) Understand the nuances of your platform; b) Use a distinct voice; c) Drive your business goals. Honestly, I prefer the second one as it gives different layers of the goals, which helps to build a more solid understanding.
In terms of the keys or ‘must-do’s, Long (2017) lists 6 guidelines that are most significant to his mind:
- Learn how social media works, the same as ‘being native’ or ‘using the native language of each social media platform’ in Gary’s theory;
- Listen to your customers: use social media platforms as an extension of your customer service;
- Use automation for consistency and there is a software called Hootsuite worth applying;
- Engage with and delight your audience: you can’t just post and walk away, you have to be proactive;
- Don’t spread yourself too thin: it’s important to pick where to focus your social media effort based on what works for your specific customer base;
- Track and measure everything: constantly optimize and test your efforts throughout the campaign.
Looking into the specific social media platforms, according to Gary (2013)’s book, first of all, there are some universal characteristics that could be found in great content and compelling stories in all platforms: it’s native, it doesn’t interrupt, it doesn’t make demands-often, it leverages pop culture, it’s micro and it’s consistent and self-aware. In addition, there are tips and tactics that can be applied to all social media platforms.
- For pictures: visually compelling, logo included, short and strong copy
- For text: short, correct tone and voice, entertaining and relevant
- For engagement: using hashtags and cross-pollinating, linking to the right call to action page (only one call to action);
- Buying sponsored story and promoted Tweet is a good investment.
However, each social media platform has its own focuses or uniqueness. For example:
- Facebook post is about targeted marketing. The key is to know about your customers and try to engage them, that is why we need to use an eye-catching picture with logo and correct copy in it, and then, add the link to the specific product website after 2 lines of brief introduction.
- Tweet is about community engagement. As news and information are the currency of Twitter, we need to take advantage of hashtags to track the trends, listen and join the current conversation.
- Instagram post is about artistic pictures. As a visual-centric tool, the artistic image is at the core of the content. In addition, hashtags are the entry to the content so that we need to add as many relevant hashtags as possible to gain attention.
In conclusion, posting a social media post is never as easy as you think when it involves business motivations. Unfortunately, more and more people are managing their personal brand as a business, which is so frustrating to me. Although I am reluctant to turn the personal expression into such business-oriented practice, I have to adapt to the trends.
Jonathan, L. (2017) 6 Must-Do’s for Effective Social Media Marketing. [Online] Available at https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/292169
Vaynerchuk, G. (2013) Jab. Jab. Right hook. How to tell your story in a noisy social world. Harper Collins.