The new year provides the perfect time for reflection, to look back over your social media feeds from 2017 and analyse the good, the bad and the ugly! Use these insights to determine what worked well (and what didn't) to plan how to improve your social media outcomes for the year ahead.
To help you to get started, we have devised six pointers to ensure that your social media is the best it can be in 2018:
1. Plan ahead
As the saying goes, if you “fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Create a social media plan that sets the direction of travel for your social accounts in 2018. Ensure that your overarching objectives for using social media are clearly identified and SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and timed). These objectives could be linked to brand awareness, marketing communications or customer care. Every good plan should be created in the context of the bigger picture, so remember to take a look at the global trends in terms of the types of content and channel approaches your audience are likely to prefer.
Once this plan is in place, your day-to-day approach can be defined in terms of scheduling ahead, collecting and disseminating the right content at the right time. Remember, social media posting should be focussed more on quality, not quantity. So keep posts relevant and in keeping your the plan, unless your analytics tell you otherwise.
2. Be human
Social media is called ‘social’ for a reason. Even with all the scheduling and analytics tools available, social media is predominately about engaging with your customers or community on relevant subjects. Liking, sharing or retweeting posts is vital element to keep this engagement high with your audience.
By ensuring a human touch to your social interactions, you will not only improve engagement but can vastly improve your social customer experience. Making it easy for people to submit questions or complaints via social and quickly acknowledging those messages helps generate positive word of mouth and increased customer satisfaction, helping to drive positive sentiment about your brand, and improve loyalty from consumers. For more about social customer care, check out our blog here.
3. Train your social team
All content posted from your corporate social media accounts should be in-keeping with your brand image, tone-of-voice, social media policy guidelines, and ultimately is accurate! So, if you haven't already, 2018 is the year to implement a social media policy for your team and train them on it.
A policy clearly defines the do’s and don’ts of social media within your organisation (especially to new employees or social media users), helps protect employees from potential security risks of social, as well as helping protect your brand reputation.
Big brands continue to get this wrong. For example, British Airways promoted post about visiting London that was published by their major competitor, Virgin Atlantic. The original post included two separate calls to action, which sent their audience directly to the Virgin website. With comprehensive social media training, or even a 'two set of eyes' policy to validate content before it is published, you can help protect your brand against errors and deliver a better social customer experience.
4. Adopt social media organisation-wide
As an enterprise organisation, don’t limit the use of social media to just the marketing or communications team - think about how local teams or other departments could safely engage in social media. This helps increase the audiences you can reach, and the results you can achieve, since each department's news attracts new interests and followers.
The broader adoption of social media also helps demonstrate that your organisation is not one dimensional, and can provide an array of perspectives. In this scenario, social media control tools allow posts to be validated before they are published to ensure content is in keeping with the social media policy, with checks being made to ensure there are no errors. Take a look at our Brand Protection features for more information.
5. Understand the risks to the organisation
As with any communications channel, there are risks associated with using social media. The speed of communication and the nature of snowballing messages means that it needs to be handled carefully with the relevant checks and balances in place. Some enterprise organisations will also need to adhere to compliance issues, such as in finance the FCA guidelines on social media. To breach these could lead to heavy fines.
By defining and mitigating the risks you can reduce the risk of a PR crisis, which could result in embarrassment for your organisation. That said, even with the risks identified it is essential that you have a Crisis Management plan in place, in the event something might go wrong so that you can quickly act to counter it.
6. Vary your social media content
With 2.8 billion social media users globally, making your organisation stand out is more important now than ever before! Make 2018 the year to be more adventurous, don’t just post generic media, trial and test new content formats. Instead of your go to stock image, post an infographic of how your company is doing. Don’t be scared to trial new things like GIF’s (often a crowd pleaser).
Video content and especially live streaming is anticipated to see tremendous growth in 2018. Live stream customer events or office competitions, just give it a go. By varying your content, it will give you a better understanding of what your audience engages with, and what doesn’t work so well. But don’t forget, always keep your target audience and their expectations in mind when creating posts.