Social media can be as much of a burden to a brand as it is a blessing. Sure, social media allows an organization to showcase your personality and voice, connect with customers one-on-one, and bring life to the brand by telling your story. But the truth is, many organizations fall short of their social media potential by overextending themselves onto too many platforms and failing to maintain the pages they initiate.
Sometimes organizations will create a basic account on every popular social platform, even though the channel may not be the right fit for their target audience. Others only return to their pages to occasionally post the formal announcement and news release, leaving a hit or miss stream of content for followers, with large gaps of time between posts.
So how can you breathe new life into your social channels? After you retrieve that old password, there are five essential steps you can take.
Re-engage with the 5 Ws
If you’re looking to breathe new life into your stagnant social channels, it can feel a little overwhelming to know where to begin. How do you reinvigorate your social channels and develop your brand’s voice? Begin by asking yourself and your team these five essential questions:
1. WHO is your target audience?
By identifying who it is you seek to engage, you will have a better idea of what direction you should take in sharing content and the tone of voice you should develop. For example, if your target audience primarily consists of Millennials, your voice on social media will differ in language and topics from that of a brand targeting Baby Boomers. Similarly, B2B and B2C brands will possess varying levels of formality and messaging when engaging their target audiences.
2. WHAT makes your company/brand different?
Everyone and their brother can claim to be an expert in something, whether it’s in marketing, finance or energy. What makes you and your brand stand out is how you differentiate yourself from the pack. Is there a niche market skill you have developed or industry recognition you’ve received? What is your individual or organization story? Let your unique qualifications and personality shine through social media, because that’s how others will relate, and ultimately, engage with you.
3. WHERE should you have a presence?
The type of social media platforms on should be an intersection of the type of content you’re sharing and audience you want to reach. Far too often, I see clients struggling to feed multiple social channels, when in reality, they should only be on a few. It’s our practice at Pierpont to help clients hone in on the social platforms that will deliver the biggest bang for their buck, optimizing their efforts by reaching their target audience with the content they can consistently produce. For example, consumer-facing retail brands that are highly visual and frequently share images and videos should have a presence on Instagram and Pinterest. On the other hand, organizations looking to interact with other businesses or professionals to share more informative or educational content should focus on their Twitter and LinkedIn presence.
4. WHEN should you post and how often?
There are certain times of day during which social media engagement is highest. If you want to maximize the number of people likely to see your posts, aim to publish content during those high traffic times. For example, HubSpot says the best times to post to Twitter are between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Depending upon how much content you have to share, plan your posts accordingly to be as consistent as possible. For example, if you have five posts to publish in a week, space them out to share one a day as opposed to posting them all on the same day.
5. WHY is your brand relevant to your audiences?
Bringing this full circle, the key to developing a successful social presence is not only understanding your audience—but it’s also understanding how you uniquely connect with them. Look for ways to develop content with a unique point of view to educate, inspire, entertain or inform. Social channels are ultimately a funnel in your marketing and sales pipeline. And keep in mind that, just as in real life, audiences want to know what’s in it for them on social channels, too. So seek to build a relationship to create a two-way dialogue. It’s this level of interaction that will ultimately build your brand and grow your business.
As you know, being successful with social media requires more than just creating a profile and checking the box. Think of it more as an ongoing relationship to continue interacting with followers and reaching new people. Developing your voice on social media is about engaging in the right channels, at the right time and in the right way—to ultimately drive the right results.
Amy Lach is an Account Executive who specializes in social media, digital marketing and media relations, supporting clients across diverse industries.