By Jamie Goodwin
Why you should stay abreast of changes on popular platforms, according to an expert
Whether we like it or not, there is no escaping the importance of a good social media strategy in business. It’s been a long time since firms could get away with simply having a presence on Facebook and Twitter. Social media is now a broad topic, and your business must ensure it has a robust tactical plan to make the most of it.
We asked Jamie Wilks, managing partner at Dubai regional integrated communications agency House of Comms, for his top five tips on organic social media marketing and content strategy.
1. Embrace change
It’s no longer enough just to tweet your great new content or post your latest offers onto your Facebook page. Social media doesn’t stay the same for too long, and if you don’t change with it, you could be left behind. “Social media changes overnight,” says Wilks.
“In the past few months alone, we’ve seen the introduction of Facebook Live, extended Instagram videos to 60 seconds, Snapchat geo-filters and soon, Twitter will increase the 140 character limit. Each of these changes is significant and the smarter businesses will be keeping an eye on the next developments with a view to building them into their social media strategies.”
2. Align your strategies
As with other core parts of your business, you should not rush into action without a comprehensive plan, says Wilkes. “Too often, businesses run a social media campaign that isn’t integrated into both their overall marketing strategy but more importantly, core business objectives,” he says.
“Keep focused! A social media campaign can be time-consuming and costly – if it is not aligned with core business objectives, don’t do it!”
3. Offline activations for user-generated content
Wait … these are tips for online social media, so why are we telling you what you should be doing offline? Free, user-generated content often starts away from the digital platform – and this is a resource your business should be attempting to tap, according to Wilks. “User generated content is probably the most valuable content you could wish for as a business,” he says. “Joe Average publicly praising your business, service or product, telling all their friends on social media how great you are and backed up with photo or video is primetime peer-to-peer advocacy. Find a way to encourage this.
"This often starts with something offline. A retro neon sign in your coffee shop with inspiring quote, for example, will be snapped and posted thousands of times. A live event needs a hashtag branded everywhere at the event, to educate people to use it. A product launch needs the same. If your CEO is speaking at a conference, make sure they tell their audience about your business’ social media handles or any relevant hashtags. Stick it in the presentation visuals also; you are bound to be snapped and tagged by half the audience.”
4. Content is king
We have all heard this phrase, but do we truly understand its importance? It’s as simple as this: if you are not providing your consumers with something of quality, why would they return to your platform? Wilks says: “A social media asset without content is useless. An asset with poor content is irresponsible. Consumers of content demand quality. They are screaming out to be entertained, educated and inspired. Make sure you have a professional content strategy for your business that is extended and adopted to your social platforms. Whether created or curated.
"Different platforms require different content as they are used by different audiences for different reasons, so research each one. Repetitive content must be avoided. The time of publishing is important – there are ample stats available to tell you what time your audience is online, most active and engaged. Frequency of content needs to be carefully planned.
"And pick your pillars – you will have three to five core communication pillars for your business. Identify them and stick with it. Consistency in messaging will ultimately have the desired impact, but don’t expect results overnight.”
5. Video is greater than photo
Think about the way you yourself engage with social media. What type of content do you remember? What are you more likely to share? If your answer is video, your consumers are no different, says Wilks. “Photo and graphic content is valuable, but it’s expected,” he says. “Our content consumers are spoilt and they want more. The power of video-based content is considerable and it’s getting more powerful.
"Facebook counts eight billion video views per day - up from four billion per day just 12 months ago. Instagram’s shift to 60-second video playback is to keep up with the demand for video content – viewers simply weren’t satisfied with 15-second clips. They want more. Look at ways in which you can build video content into your strategy.
"Top tips, insights, annual reports delivered by the CEO, product demos, 360-degree 3D walkthroughs and more. There are countless opportunities for producing and capturing video content – identify them and work with a professional company to ensure a quality end-result.”