5 social media principles for businesses of all sizes

A few weeks ago I had the fantastic opportunity of speaking to a room full of Sainsbury’s suppliers. In attendance were businesses of all shapes and sizes, so I had to try and find topics that felt appropriate for all.

I went for five themes that regularly feature in conversations with clients large and small.

1. Content creation versus distribution

I began with an old favourite… remember to make sure there’s the right balance of time, budget and resource spent between creating content and distributing it.

It can be easy to create lots of content for your social media accounts that isn’t necessarily impactful. And not because the content isn’t great, but rather because insufficient budget or planning time has gone into its distribution. You wouldn’t create a beautiful TV ad and then run it in just one commercial break!

2. Focusing on a vision

Next was a reminder that with so much content available to us online we’re bombarded with marketing messages all day long.

As marketers we obviously see all of the social media content we publish (as we’re busy planning and creating it). But think about the end consumer… at best, they’ll only see a small proportion of what a brand will publish on social media, even with a fair amount of media budget behind it.

So, let’s ensure that when they do see something, our message is clear and consistent. If we bombard them with lots of different messages how can we expect them to understand what we stand for.

Pick one or two core values and ensure they sit at the heart of everything we say on social media.

3. The importance of repeatable formats

Aligned to the point above, make it easy for consumers to quickly understand a piece of social media content is from you.

Using repeatable formats in terms of look, feel and structure is a sure fire way of helping the audience easily focus on the content and associating it with your brand (instead of having to use valuable ‘cognitive space’ reorienting themselves every time they see a message from you).

4. Retarget. Even if it’s basic.

Quite simply I made the point about making sure to maximise the opportunity to serve consumers a logical series of content based on what they’ve seen or done before. That could be as simple as splitting your audience into customers and non-customers.

Anything you can do to make your content more relevant will improve the likelihood of the audience engaging. Simple.

5. Customer care is an opportunity

And to finish – don’t look at customer service on social media as a chore, but instead an opportunity.

We spend all this time and effort trying to get people to engage with our content on social media … so when they do, let’s make the most of the opportunity by responding and properly interacting! I’ve written about this beforeOf course in the context of the world we find ourselves in (in April 2020) social customer care is being disrupted as organisations work hard to support the right people at the right time.

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