I specialize in social media and content marketing for the healthcare industry, but the basic principles of online communications apply to all industries.
When using social media for marketing purposes, you need to understand that social media is more than just creating social accounts and posting updates once in a while. You need a solid strategy guiding your social media tactics.
Whether you are marketing in a regulated industry such as healthcare or a B2B or B2C market, the following tips will help you make more strategic use of your time online.
1. Analyze What’s Working For Your Competitors and Industry Peers
Your competitors and industry peers are valuable sources of insight.
Look at the type of content your competitors are creating. Identify which content is performing well for them in terms of social shares, comments, likes, etc. Brainstorm around how you can take a piece of content they have created and put your own unique twist on it.
Take Action: Facebook provides an excellent feature to help you “spy” on your competitors with its Pages to Watch feature. To access Pages to Watch, go to your Facebook Page Insights and scroll down to the bottom of the Overview tab.
2. Choose The Right Social Network For Your Audience
Not all social media is created equal. Different platforms attract different audiences.
It’s important, especially if your resources are limited, that you’re focusing your social media efforts in places that will generate the most return for your efforts.
There’s no point spending your time on a particular social network if your audience isn’t there. Nor should you spread yourself too thin by trying to be everywhere at once. Every additional platform your business is active on means additional time and effort required to engage on and create tailored content for that platform.
Before becoming active on a social network, try answering the following questions to help you choose the platform that is right for you.
(i) Will this platform help me achieve my marketing goals?
(ii) Is my target audience active on this platform?
(iii) Will this platform match the content I create?
Take Action: Consider broadening your social media horizons. While Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat might be the most popular social networks in the West, there is a world beyond the Big Five waiting for you to explore.
3. Create a Social Media Style Guide
A social media style guide helps build trust with your audience through steady and consistent brand messaging.
A social media style guide will help you present a consistent style of communication across all social media platforms. Whether you are a team of one or have multiple staff posting to your social media accounts, you should create a style guide that outlines exactly how posts look and read.
Take Action: Your style guide should define the following:
- the tone and voice of your brand’s social media presence;
- the writing style of your posts — consistent format, spellings, etc;
- the colors, logos, and fonts you will use;
- how you will use hashtags and emojis.
4. Research Long-Tail Keywords
93% of online experiences begin with a search engine so good keyword research is critical for your content marketing.
Identifying the terms people are searching for will determine the kind of content you create and the way you will optimize it. Long tail keywords are keywords or key phrases that are more specific — and usually longer — than more commonly searched for keywords (50% of search queries are four words or longer). They get less search traffic, but will usually have a higher conversion value, as they are more specific.
Take Action: Use a tool like Keywords Everywhere, a Chrome extension which returns a host of long-tail phrases based on what people are searching for using specific keywords. The Google Keyword Planner within Adwords is another useful tool to find ideas for content based on keyword search.
5. Add Images To All Your Posts
Study after study confirms that how you create and share content matters — with visual content leading the way.
You’ve surely heard this before, but it’s worth reiterating: images matter — a lot. Visual content is 40x more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content according to research by Buffer.
Take action: Add an image to all your online posts — even those that are text-based. To aid brand recognition and create a strong visual identity, maintain consistency across all your images by sticking to the same colours, fonts, and layouts.
6. Set Up A Social Media Monitoring Dashboard
Use listening tools to become not just a master listener but a master responder.
Social media is a two-way conversation that requires you to listen more than you talk. Recommit to listening, genuinely responding, and engaging with those people who take the time to interact with your social profiles and your content.
Take Action: There are many free and paid monitoring tools which can help you monitor social media. These tools vary in scope and range across number of sites, sophistication of analytics, integration with other applications, and of course, price. An easy — and free way — to get started is to set up simple Google Alerts for your own name, your brand name, and industry-specific keywords.
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