Develop authenticity, understand your audience, and let the data guide you
By Denery Noone, Account Executive at Racepoint Global
Drafting compelling, eye-catching copy is important for any social media profile. Social media both builds and reinforces brand trust. It nurtures prospects, communicates with customers, engages with influencers, and ignites employee advocacy.
Too often, however, companies treat social channels as just another avenue to deliver content, when they should be creating a community connected by one commonality: appreciation for your business’ services otherwise known as your brand. But building online trust and community is easier said than done. Here are three tips to help you begin — or refine — your social media program.
1. Balance best practices with authenticity
Building a social media community requires a strong balance of following best practices and promoting an authentic presence. Best practices for each platform include factors such as character limits, suggestions on appropriate content, post frequency, and post timing. Best practice guidelines should also include information on the key features of each platform, such as when to incorporate hashtags or emojis or how to respond to happy or unhappy customers.
Your guidelines must also include establishing a presence — loosely defined as how often you post and how you interact with your followers. Your community should recognize the consistency in your message, even if the style or format of the message evolves. If you do this, community support stays strong.
These practices establish the direction of your social media program and are critical for success (most of the time). However, social media trends evolve so frequently that by the time you’ve adapted to the latest shift, the next one is already in motion. The best way to account for changing trends is by always staying authentic. This requires consistency in your brand messaging, your cultural pillars, and the way you interact with your community of followers.
2. Know your audience on each social platform
You can follow best practices guidelines to a tee, keep up with changing practices and themes, establish authenticity, and still fail to accomplish your program goals. Why? Because you failed to consider who your audience is, what they’re interested in, and the post styles they’re most receptive to.
For example, if half of your audience comprises software engineers, prioritize content like software demos, video tutorials and other product features that make your audience want to engage with your messages.
Of course, it’s also essential to understand the different audiences on each platform. The way you engage with followers on Instagram versus LinkedIn should sound different because the audience is different.
Instagram — as a visual platform — requires a less formal approach. Showcasing your teams and their projects, and monitoring competitors, is more practical for this platform than posting a full-blown new product announcement.
Alternatively, LinkedIn is a professionally-focused platform. LinkedIn allows individuals or companies to establish themselves as thought leaders in their industries. It also offers opportunities to engage with other influencers and potential customers. LinkedIn users are much more likely to attend a webinar, read an ebook, or attend an event. In fact, 80% of B2B leads generated through social media come from LinkedIn.
Knowing the difference between social platforms and understanding how to use it to your advantage is what separates the most engaging companies from the rest of the noise. Tailor messages, voice and content to best serve each audience on each platform.
3. Trust what the data is telling you
Once a balance between best practices and authenticity is established and you’ve developed an understanding of your audience, let the data guide you. You don’t need software for social media analytics, you can simply keep a spreadsheet that tracks, among other data:
If your social media performance metrics aren’t meeting expectations, there can be a tendency to overthink things and possibly even try and get too “cute” with your posts. You might feel tempted to abandon the guidelines you created. Or change messaging and throw authenticity out the window. All this does is lose your community’s trust.
You don’t need to alter you approach and adopt a more difficult path when the answer is right in front of you: Listen to what the data is telling you. If the data reveals that when you promote an app, video, blog, etc., the post performs well, it’s telling you that’s what your audience likes and you should keep promoting these types of content.
Alternatively, if the data indicates that when you promote a webinar or event, for instance, performance is poor, decrease promotion. This doesn’t mean stop webinar promotion all together, but asking followers to register for the same webinar three separate times when engagement from the first post was low isn’t conducive to success.
Identify the content your followers are interested in and let that guide promotion cadence. The more often they see content they like, the better the chances are that when you do post about that webinar they will actually engage, because the trust is there.
By following these simple steps, you can help ensure your company shows up in relevant and engaging ways. And this ultimately turns your social media program into an authentic, trust-building machine.