When it comes to the social media marketing policy for your business, it’s often hard to know what you should and shouldn’t be putting out into the world.
In fact, this is the very worry we hear most often from our clients when discussing social media, so we know the fear is real.
So many people have heard horror stories about companies who have gone bust thanks to a rogue social media post (although they can never name the company involved – mainly because they don’t exist. Companies have suffered social media faux pas, but no business has ever been completely ruined by it.). Nevertheless, they fear that the same might happen to them; that they might post the wrong thing on social media and it will be the end of everything.
Needless to say, that fear is a little extreme. But it is true that putting your foot wrong on social media can lead your brand into a bit of hot water. It’s possible to get out of it, but not getting into it in the first place is a better strategy.
Hence, in this week’s blog post we’re asking what type of content you should be sharing on social media if you want to increase the amount of traffic to your website, or if you just want to grow your online profile? Basically, what is the best type of content for success?
The short answer is that you should be sharing as much content as you can on social media and that content should be as varied as you can make it. So, make sure your social media content comes in a range of formats – articles, videos, graphics, infographics etc. – and also make sure it’s relevant and interesting to all of your target audience, not just a small percentage of it. The more you can post, and the more interesting and varied your posting is – the more social it is, in essence – the more success you will have and the quicker it will arrive.
Easy, right?! Clear as mud?!
OK, maybe not. I get that it’s very easy to say, ‘just post often and make it interesting’, but if you’re a business owner trying to work out a social media strategy, that’s not a very helpful statement. I get it.
Hence, I’ve come up with the following two resources for you.
The first is this handy infographic, which outlines the top five ‘dos and don’ts’ for posting on social media. It’s fairly self-explanatory – and you’ve all got a working brain – so I’m not going to repeat myself over it, but if you have any questions or would like to know more, you can always email me at [email protected].
The second is this handy – nay, awesome – blog post itself, which outlines my top 3 questions to ask yourself before posting content out from your business social media accounts. They may seem obvious but, for the nervous amongst you, sometimes just having a checklist can be reassurance enough that you’re not about to bring down your entire empire with a misplaced Facebook post.
So, without further ado, let’s away.
Question Number 1: Is It Relevant?
There’s a golden rule when doing social, which is pretty similar to the golden rule about life: never spend your entire time talking about yourself. If you do, people will very quickly get bored of you.
Instead, you should use your social media platforms as an extension of your content marketing generally. They should be a means of establishing you as an industry expert in your field.
Hence, you need to be posting all sorts of things on your social media about you and your business, obviously. But, for every 1 piece of content you post about yourself and your own achievements, you should be posting 2 pieces of content by or about somebody else.
And that could be all sorts of things. It could be a piece of news you’ve read in the daily press about your business sector, it could be a blog an industry leader has written about your products or services (yes, even if they’re a competitor!), it could be an article on a trade publication. It could be pretty much anything, but what it doesn’t need to be is about you.
Hence, before you post a piece of content to social media, ask yourself first if it is relevant to you (i.e. is it related to the sector in which you are trying to become an industry leader)? Secondly, ask yourself if it relevant to your target audience (i.e. will they find it interesting, even if it doesn’t directly relate to what I do)?
Even if the second applies but the first doesn’t, it’ll still be OK to post it. For example, we have a client who produces wooden play equipment for schools and nurseries, so you would imagine that they should post lots of content about the responsibly sourced wood they use, or play equipment safety etc. etc.. Generally, they do, however the content that gets the most engagement on their social platforms is often that about Ofsted inspections or changes to Key Stage One and Key Stage Two etc. That’s because their target audience are primary and nursery school teachers, hence they want to read content that is relevant to THEM, not necessarily to the business posting it.
Hence, if you have a piece of content and you believe it will be relevant to your audience on social media, send it out there.
Question Number 2: Is It Interesting?
The one thing to remember when you’re planning your content for social media is that the clue is in the name. It’s SOCIAL media. People are on there to be social, so don’t bore them to death with tedious content that will not be interesting to them.
For example, if you’re primarily posting to Facebook, think about sharing content that is much more informal, funny or lifestyle orientated. Think about the type of content you engage with when you’re on Facebook, then recreate that. Memes do particularly well on Facebook, for e.g., so maybe find some that are relevant to your sector and schedule them in?
On the other hand, if your social media marketing strategy is much more focussed on LinkedIn and Twitter, then more business-like content is much more appropriate. This might be the best place to share your blogs, articles and eBooks, for example, and where you can really demonstrate your expertise and knowledge by sharing content that is much more work-focussed.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that funny memes can’t be posted on LinkedIn too, or that news articles shouldn’t be shared on Facebook; they can be. And especially if you’re just putting all your content out the same on all your platforms, then it’s a good idea to mix it up a bit anyway, so that you’ve got a good mix of content that will appeal to anyone.
Hence, before posting your content to your social media accounts, ask yourself, ‘is this interesting to my target audience?’. One of the worst things you can be on social media is boring and corporate; no one is there for that, so no one will engage with you. At best, your efforts will just be a waste of time.
Instead, be bold, be funny, be interesting, be engaging. Ask questions, tell funny jokes or stories, get people talking and responding to you. And, most of all, be human.
Question Number 3: Is It Safe?
The final question to ask yourself before you post your content to social media is, ‘is this piece of content safe?’. And by safe, I don’t mean dull and boring (please see the above point!).
Often, business owners are so scared of social media – of posting something that might possibly offend someone, somewhere at some point – that they steer clear of anything even vaguely exciting and just publish dreary old dry posts instead. But this fear of social media must stop.
Think about how you yourself use social media. If you see a post that you don’t necessarily agree with, or that you’re not particularly interested in, or that is not entirely relevant to you, you will just scroll past it. You won’t fall out with the company who posted it (unless they’ve sent you the same irrelevant post umpteen times already), you won’t defriend them, you’re unlikely, in fact, even to respond to it. You’ll just scroll past and look for something more exciting.
Hence, the worst that might happen with your social media posts is that people will ignore you. And they’re ignoring you anyway if you’re not posting, so you’ve not really lost anything.
At the other end of the scale, the best scenario is that you get people talking about your post – that they start commenting, liking, sharing it etc. That’s the holy grail of social media marketing. The more you can get this, the better your social media campaign will work for you.
Hence, if your posts are a little bit risqué but they get people talking, that’s a good thing. If they’re just funny or exciting and they get people talking, that’s also a good thing. If they’re boring and no one responds, that’s a bad thing. Not the end of the world, but not the point of all that work you’ve just put in.
Hence, by safe, I do not mean that posts need to be boring and sterile, they absolutely do not.
What I do mean, is that they need to be non-offensive. They need to be legal. In certain industries, they need to be compliant too. But none of those are insurmountable bars to get over.
Basically don’t be racist, not be sexist, don’t be rude. Don’t express an extreme political opinion. Don’t marginalise anyone and don’t be mean to anyone. And don’t share anything from organisations or companies who are or do any of those naughty things.
(But then, you wouldn’t do that anyway, would you? Because you’re a nice company, aren’t you?)
So, before you hit the publish button, just double check, ‘have I been a massively rude and racist idiot with this social media post?’, and if the answer is no, you’re probably good to go.
Get In Touch
If you’d like to find out more about the types of content you can and can’t publish to your social media profiles, or if you’d like to speak to us about implementing a proper social media marketing campaign, then please do just get in touch.
GrowTraffic are an award winning SEO agency, so we can show you how to harness the power of social media to increase the traffic to your website and improve your rankings.
If you’d like to know more, simple phone 0161 706 0012 or email us at [email protected].