Helen Steemson seeks guidance from some of the country’s top social media managers.
Social media may not have killed traditional advertising as promised. But it’s still crucial. So Helen Steemson asked a few social managers for their tips on how to increase engagement.
Social media. Wasn’t it supposed to solve our problems and make us millionaires? For a while there, some of us believed it. Then we got off our unicorns and realised it was just another way for our brands to connect with people. Sure, consumers could talk back, but we still needed to employ all of the strategy, expertise and forethought you need in any other mass media.
There are probably hundreds of thousands of social accounts languishing in the land of no engagement, abandoned after too many hours netted too little return (or after the receptionist’s teenage daughter got bored with posting about things).
That said, social media are useful platforms if they’re used right. So if you’re in charge of business accounts, and would like to get even whizzier at it, here are a few social tricks from some of New Zealand’s cleverest digital insiders.
Talk about the weather
– Keren Phillips, CMO, Weirdly
Keren Phillips is in charge of marketing at Weirdly, a hotshot tech startup designed to make recruitment easier, better and more fun. The nature of the startup beast is that she works with squeaky-tight budgets, so digital is a big part of her media mix. With such intensive focus on the platforms— Twitter, most frequently—she’s noticed something odd (read: excellent).
You might think that posting beautiful photos of the weather, the ocean, the sunset or whatever she stumbles across might be just pretty trivia. But she says those photos make good bait.
“They always get great play. People notice, like them and interact with them”
Great, but where’s the business value in connecting with people about the weather?
“That photo will flag in people’s heads that your profile is worth noticing.”
So the next time they’re scrolling past a million messages, they’re more likely to stop and read the next thing you tweet. That means if you post a link to a new blog straight after, it’ll get more clicks.
“Anything I tweet right after a beautiful image gets way, way more attention.”
It’s a way to boost your post without forking out a cent.
Save your followers for a rainy day
– John Lai, digital planner, Ogilvy Malaysia
John Lai was one of New Zealand’s earliest social adopters, which means he’s seen lots of platforms come and go. What happened to brands that invested in Myspace or Bebo? They probably had to start from scratch on Facebook once those platforms bottomed out.
Unless you’ve moved your followers off the platforms, the brand connections you’ve carefully cultivated could be gone with two shakes of the stock exchange. So Lai recommends using social to build a separate database, not a social presence.
“Yes, it is great seeing your followership grow, but at the end of the day if Facebook or Twitter decides to pull the plug, all that hard work goes down the drain. Treat social as the front door of your brand with the goal of converting them into a lifetime customer using things like CRM systems or EDMS.”
– Danika Revell, director, We Are Anthology
You know what gets noticed? Notifications. And you get those by taking the time to interact with people and other brands. This should be a long-term strategy of actually building your online community, but also works in the short term, says Revell.
“One of my team, Nicole, spotted this one. If you go and like or comment on other posts right before and after you put something up, you’ll get a lot more interaction.”
It makes sense, really. If you talk to other people, they’ll talk to you.
“They feel more connected to you, so are more likely to feel a connection to your posts.”
Her warning: “Be genuine. People can tell when you’re trying to scam them.”
And I’ll finish with mine.
Eavesdrop on people’s conversations – Helen Steemson, creative director, Words for Breakfast
Don’t be all hacking into people’s Facebook account, now. Do your eavesdropping on open platforms like Instagram or Twitter. That way you can wheedle your way into conversations that are already happening about your brand or industry.
Use a tool like Hootsuite or Twilert to search for phrases or words relevant to your business, service or product. That way you can jump in on the conversations that are already happening.
This approach got me hand-on-heart sales. When I’m running an account I set up searches to deliver me any tweets or posts that include my client’s brand name, or relevant phrases.
So often people are talking about us—good or bad—or asking for recommendations for products just like my clients’. I jump into those conversations as the brand to maximise positive feedback, respond to complaints and connect with new fans. People love it. You win kudos for the brand and make actual sales off it.
Every one of these social managers reminded us of something we should already know: genius as they are, these hacks won’t save a flawed strategy or patchy community management. Get those basics right first, then hack to your heart’s content.