Have you ever unfollowed a company on social media? Of course you have, because we all have. What was the reason you unfollowed? Most of the time, it’s usually one of two reasons: 1. The content wasn’t what you were expecting from that brand and you’re no longer interested, or 2. Every post from the brand was salesy and/or was purely focused on them.
Social media is a necessity for promoting a business, yet there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. Strike the wrong note again and again you will not only fail to gain followers, but you will slowly lose the ones you have. The best way to ensure success is just like many other things in business: through strategy.
Establish Your Brand’s Voice on Social Media
Your company should be uniquely your company on social media. Only your company does exactly what you do and precisely the way you do it. Don’t be afraid to let that shine. If your company culture is fun and irreverent and your website text is conversational and humorous, your posts on social media should strike that tone as well.
People don’t just follow brands because they are potentially interested in buying from that company, in fact, most of the time, the person is nowhere near the decision stage and is merely seeking information. Or, they saw a post from the company and found it interesting/funny/informative. When someone follows a channel because of a post that resonates with them, they expect similar content to come.
Take time to talk with your team about who your company is on social media. Will your voice by purely educational and informative, with facts shared and a more serious tone adopted? Will your voice be slightly snarky, but in a funny and endearing way? Or will you aim for unfailing optimism with positive and happy notes in every post? Go with what is true to your brand and stick with it.
Identifying the Right Mix of Content for Your Channel
Remember how I mentioned the number two reason why people unfollow a brand? If the majority of your posts are about your product or service and how great it is, you are no longer practicing Inbound Marketing, you are reverting to dinosaur marketing: “Rawrr! Listen to me! My product is the best! Buy now! Rawrr!” Annoying right? (Although, if you pictured a T-Rex selling you short-armed jackets it might be endearing.
The right mix of content for your social channels will be slightly different for each company. I recommend focusing on a trifecta of content that allows you to: Inform, Inspire, and Interact, and aiming for about 1/3 mix for each.
‘Inform’ posts: sharing industry news, facts, quotes, interesting tidbits, how-to guides, Did You Know? posts, etc. And these types of posts can be about your product/service, but just not every time.
‘Inspire’ posts: this could be more heavily weighted if you sell something that is tangible and can make for attractive posts. Think: beautiful photos, inspiring words, positivity. But inspirational doesn’t have to mean imagery (although if your company is posting on Instagram it definitely means that), it can also mean that you inspire creative uses of your product.
When duct tape brands realized that pre-teens were buying colorful duct tape and getting creative by making wallets, bags, and more, the brands smartly started to put out content that showed different things that could be made with the tape. They also started making new colors and patterns of their tape, just for this reason. This use went far beyond its original intention: use on heating duct work in buildings, but it was a great opportunity for brands to show their fun sides and embrace how their product was now used by their customers.
‘Interact’ posts: every good social media strategy includes engaging with your fans. Examples of interactive posts include taking polls, asking questions, retweeting fan content, and contests.
Know When to Promote, When to Brag, and When to Stay Silent
Your social media strategy should have guidelines in place around sensitive issues that social media can run into. Decide what your policy is about celebrating national holidays: will your company post about them or stay away due to religious sensitivities? What about when the country or world is going through a crisis or something controversial? Will your company weigh in or is it better for the brand to stay silent? These are all important questions to ask yourself.
Additionally, you should know when to pause your social advertising campaigns and promotional posts. Think about the context in which your post may be received. Is it tone deaf to what is happening at the moment? Could it be construed in a different way than it was intended? It’s best to always look at your content with this lens, especially during sensitive times in the world.
Conversely, when you aren’t worried about something unique happening in culture and you have good news to share about your company, feel free to celebrate your wins! Share awards received, features in publications or broadcasts, promotions of your staff, or how your company is being environmentally responsible/sustainable. You can still talk about yourself, just think of it as a conversation at a party with a new person; you wouldn’t talk only about yourself ?
Always Keep Inbound Marketing Practices in Mind
The bottom line here is that inbound marketing is all about pulling your potential customers to you, with compelling and relevant content, and a genuine brand identity. Don’t try to push your product on people, they will feel that old-school sales vibe and bail faster than you can say ‘retweet’.
Be thoughtful in your approach. Be informative and educational. Be remarkable.