With so much content online, how do you make sure you're standing out from the pack? As of March this year, there were more than 15 million Facebook pages for businesses, companies and brands alone.
The rapid growth of brands on using social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram means that to stand out you need to put time and effort into building your brand's presence.
Nail your brand voice
Understanding your brand voice will help you get everything else right; the content you create, the way you speak with customers online and the sorts of social media platforms you use. A brand voice comes from having an authentic story or narrative. What's your story? What does your company do and why are you different from everyone else?
A good way to determine your brand voice is to think about your social media brand as if it were a real person; that is, if you had to describe your social media voice as a real person, who would they be? What are they interested in? How old are they? What do they do for a job? What are their hobbies?
Knowing the answer to these types of questions will help you determine the type of content to post and the language to use. Your neighbourhood cafe will have a different voice to the local real estate agent. They might be more likely to share a meme or use smiley faces in replies to followers. Either way, these decisions should be made based on the brand you're trying to convey.
Make it regular
Building an audience is like growing a garden from scratch. Giving it the right care and attention at the beginning will ensure it grows strong over time. Investing time and effort will give your brand the best chance at success on social media.
Facebook suggests posting roughly once a day to get the most value out of your content . This will ensure that your followers will see fresh content appearing in their News Feed. There can be a risk of posting too much, so the best approach is to tweak your strategy depending on how things go. It's different for each social network; it's generally appropriate to post more often on Twitter.
Setting aside time to develop content is important. Many brands develop a content plan for the week or month ahead. When developing content, make sure it's consistent so that your followers know what to expect. That can mean everything from ensuring your social posts are in your brand's color palette to always posting an inspirational quote every Monday morning.
Social media is a conversation and content that provokes discussion will be the most effective. Social media expert Jeff Bullas has found that Facebook posts that ask questions result in double the comments of other posts. Images also perform well. A study of more than 1.3 million posts across the top 10,000 Facebook pages found that posts with images performed better in terms of likes, comments and shares than those without.
You only need to look at Pinterest, to see this in action. The social network is totally based on sharing images and has high engagement. In fact, 80% of the "pins" on the network are people re-pins of content uploaded by other users. On Twitter, tweets with images receive four times the engagement of standard posts. It sounds simple but looking at the response to different types of posts will help you improve your content. Being aware of the metrics will help improve your social media strategy.
Investing time in building a strong social media presence will help reach new audiences and allows you to better understand your existing customers. If you start posting regularly and try different things you'll quickly find out what works best for your brand.