Is your business still a social introvert?

by Ofentse Sefolo
Is your business still a social introvert?

10 tips for doing social media purposefully

As one of the most popular online activities with high user engagement rates, social media platforms put users in touch with networks far beyond local and traditional boundaries. This year, according to Statista, a provider of market and consumer data, it is estimated that 2,77 billion people will use social media around the globe.

However, when you are running a business, you don’t want to be on social media just for fun. No, you want your efforts to pay off – to either result in direct financial gain, better brand awareness or a larger network of professionals that are connected to you, which would benefit your business in some way now or in the future.

Whatever your goal, you need a strategy to achieve it.

Kwanele Nomoyi, Media in Africa’s digital coordinator and social media guru, gives you his top ten do’s and don’ts:

1. Make a commitment
Many businesses open a social media account and start posting very enthusiastically . . . and then it just stops. Others follow a very blasé approach from the start, thinking that just being there is enough. It is not. If you want to make an impact and eventually benefit from it, you need to commit to a strategy with specific goals, which, in turn, would inform your actions. Your typical audience is on social media every day, so if you want to stay top of mind, you need to be there too. People like rhythm and at least some kind of predictability, such as the popular #TBT (throwback Thursday) posts.

2. Be authentic
Remember that social media marketing is not just about selling and direct profit, but even more about building a brand. And people don’t want to be misled. You don’t have to imitate your favourite personality on social media or follow the same pattern as your competitor. Be yourself, talk about what you know, show your followers who you are and own your unique “brand personality”.

3. People are interested in people
Even behind the biggest brands, there are people who make it all happen. And social media audiences tend to engage more with brands that also reveal who they are. Yes, your parents might have taught you to be modest and not talk about yourself all the time, but on social platforms, this is what you do. In fact, from a pure algorithm point of view, pictures with faces tend to perform better than those without. In showing the people behind the projects or products, you could turn your own employees into online brand ambassadors. Also engage happy customers to give a testimonial online.

4. Don’t be all work and no play
While your business activities should be the main focus of your social media presence, don’t focus your entire strategy on only that. Also incorporate social events, behind-the-scenes footage, fun social event and corporate social responsibility outreaches. Create a social calendar in advance and identify opportunities for possible social media postings. This will help you to plan and assign responsibility.

5. Don’t sell, tell!
Storytelling is becoming a vital marketing skill and is a good substitute for purely promotional content. Not only is it a much more interesting interaction, but it gives the audience a chance to relate to characters or situations, and through that, create teachable or convincing moments.

6. Listen to your community
Don’t merely assume what your followers want to see or hear about on your social media page. Ask them. Engage with them on a personal level and if questions are asked, answer them timeously. Also study the kind of comments and posts that people engage with the most to identify their interests.

7. Automate processes
If you must take time out of your busy schedule to remember to post something on social media every day, you will fail. What if there is an important project deadline, or you have been on site all day? Rather set aside an hour or two at a time to schedule as many posts as possible ahead of time. This will enable you to create a flow and plan content properly.

8. Click the red button to record
Videos are a must. They are much closer to human interaction than a still photo and allow viewers to experience the emotion behind the scene, to see a project or product from different angles and make the experience more authentic. Life is not static, and your message shouldn’t be either. So next time you want to take a photo, think of how it could be a video.

9. Don’t be everywhere
Know what your goals are and choose the appropriate platform for what you want to achieve:

• Facebook: The social braai

Being on Facebook is like having a conversation around the braai – everyone is there and almost anything goes. The range of topics is wide and quite informal.

• Twitter: Book club meets coffee shop

Conversations on Twitter have become a bit more serious, and are typically about current affairs, socio-economic and political news, as well as entertainment.

• Instagram: The themed engagement party

Instagram is all about the image you put forward. Everyone “dresses up” and converses through their best visuals and hashtags. While words are limited, your pictures and videos should speak the proverbial thousand words.

• LinkedIn: The professional’s yellow pages

If you have a business that matters, you should already be on LinkedIn. It is where you talk shop and where you connect with other professionals in your industry.

10. Leverage trusted voices in the industry
It may take quite a bit of time to get a proper social media page up and running, and establish a decent following, which is why it is a good idea to leverage existing networks that have access to large audiences similar to your target market. Media in Africa, for example, has a big following on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, where it promotes architects’ work, cutting-edge products and much more.

For more information on how to benefit from these social media platforms, phone Santie Koch or Marlene van Rooyen on 012 347 7530.

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