by Jeff Tippett and Kristen Baughman
For most businesses, a presence on social media is a necessity–it’s no longer an option. But as someone responsible for a business, you have to make sure the allocated resources provide a solid return on investment. So what are you going to do about it? Here are five suggestions to start improving your social media today:
Establish your expectations.
What are your expectations from social media? Are you looking for brand awareness? To drive sales? To put people in seats? What are your expectations or goals for social media? Once you know your expectations, you determine if they are realistic. For example, let’s say you need to put 25 people in seats at your restaurant tonight. So you take a picture of your featured menu item and post to Instagram. If you only have 100 Insta followers, the chances are very slim that you will meet your goal. Make sure you have clear, attainable expectations for your social.
Find alignment with your other communications channels.
Although social media operating in a silo can work, it isn’t optimal. So, start by asking how it aligns with your business goals. Next, look for ways to integrate with your other communications platforms like your marketing, public relations, events, etc. You’ll find social explode as you integrate and make it part of your mix.
Are you talking, listening, or engaging?
All three! All social media–regardless of platform–has three components: audience, content, engagement. These three are like a tripod: you need all three and at all times. But let’s focus on engagement. How do you get people into the conversation? Try techniques like tagging key influencers, asking questions in your posts, prompting people to respond, etc. Don’t forget that social media is social; you have to create content that makes them want to engage.
For instance, if you’re a restaurant creating a special dish feature, use an engaging photo and tag the farmer and other producers you’ll be featuring in your social media post. It doesn’t hurt to spread the love! Plus, the farmer may share your food photo resulting in even more social media engagement. Check out this Instagram repost example for Heritage Farms Cheshire Pork. This farmer reposted a chef who is using their pork for an upcoming dish special.
Face it–there’s a lot of content out there. In fact, there are apps to filter the noise. You have to bring value to your audience. Can you make yourself the self-proclaimed authority? Become the go-to person? Constantly ask yourself why should people be listening to you. Is that reflected in your content? If you are bringing value, people will engage.
Here’s an example from Nello’s, a North Carolina company offering a variety of Italian sauces. The owner Neal is photographed with Whole Foods’ CEO, which gives the brand authority. Plus, Nello’s puts a call to action out by asking followers to take and post a #SauceSelfie, and in turn, Nello’s will donate a jar of sauce to their local Food Bank.
Let’s be honest–most posts are boring. And no one cares about boring posts. You need to spice things up a bit–while staying true to your brand. Look for ways to speak in an interesting manner (maybe even shock), post eye awakening stats, staggering graphs, etc. People won’t engage and they definitely won’t share if you don’t stand out.
Check out this example from No Kid Hungry, which promotes a new advocacy program for schools to start providing free breakfast to students who are hungry. The Facebook post starts out with alarming information and shares a video with more eye awakening stats. Over 2.6K views and 46 shares later, No Kid Hungry did an excellent job promoting their new advocacy program.
Just because your social media sucks, doesn’t mean you can’t change it starting today. Start with these five tips. Test to see what works. And don’t give up. You social media can be a powerhouse to help you accomplish your goals!
About Kristen Baughman
Kristen Baughman is the founder of Tabletop Media Group, a boutique media agency based in Raleigh and serving clients in the food, beverage and agriculture industries. Her company offers consulting services in the fields of social media, graphic design, illustration, special events, public relations, website design and videography. In her free time, you can find her relaxing outside with her dog Cheerwine, watching the Wolfpack, or at one of the many Triangle breweries sipping on a North Carolina beer.