It surely is the right time to pause and forge some ideas or gather your thoughts – it’s he end of the year. Make no mistakes, the new year needs new ideas. So that 2020 will be successful, again. After all, social media is not a business that is standing still – both in terms of content and form. In fact, stagnation is a step backwards. Legal requirements are changing, trends need to be taken into account … plus demands on well-designed social media accounts are constantly rising. So here are a few strong social media ideas that will help you tackle the new year with vigour. And the message clearly is: »It’s not actually that hard, don’t worry«.
Quality Beats Quantity
Every day new content is uploaded in large quantities and users on the various platforms are simply overwhelmed with impressions. What makes things even more difficult is that the attention span of users is extremely short – the headline may be and the first paragraph, that’s often it. All too often that is all you get out of a posting. That’s why content should be interesting, understandable and creative.
It should address users directly and show them what a company stands for, what the message is, the USP or the brand. Posts that do not attract attention are therefore completely overlooked, simply ignored. Basically a wasted effort, and wasted money.
Good content takes time and should be carefully thought through. In order to have an overview of your own content and to avoid repetitions, an editorial plan is essential. This is also how you document what is already online and what is still to come. And the second advantage being that your social media work is not lost in your daily work. All too often, what is not firmly established – such as milestones and schedules with reliable deadlines – is easily pushed out of the way.
And something else on the subject of content quality: Followers and fans love it when you are authentic and show character. In general, it is important to stand out from the crowd, which is why dealing with one’s own content honestly and transparently is always the best way.
How Do I Address My Target Group?
What maybe not a big problem internally becomes a real issue when you and your company are communicating with the outside world. How do I address my target group, what role does the social platform play? Each of the networks actually has its own rules of interaction, its own communication culture of its members. These rules have often simply emerged over time, but also have a lot to do with how the platform itself addresses its users.
In addition to these rules of the game, it is also important to meet the expectations of the readership and your target group in a very precise manner. Oh, and another significant point: Please do write in an active way, not passively. Passive expressions are something for your general terms and conditions… and lawyers, not for social media channels.
Pictures And Headlines – Guaranteed Winners
The attention span of readers in the huge jumble of content flooding in on them every day is diminishing all the time. What can you do about it? The simple answer is: good pictures and crisp, concise – dare I say interesting? – headlines. But what are good pictures, how do you know what fits and what doesn’t?
The simplest hint in this context is to really use your own photos. Stock photos from commercial platforms are recognizable, consciously or unconsciously. Hiring a photographer once and having a large series of pictures taken (according to a concept, of course) is an absolutely worthwhile expense. You will be able to use these photos for a long while, promise. On the other hand, do avoid your own mobile phone photos, unless you are a real photographic talent, or you are posting some actual news, something very topical. Then, mobile pics feel authentic.
In addition, add a top heading, preferably provided with a keyword and attention is quickly reached, exactly what wanted to get with your post. But, please, also no »clickbait heads«, the readers recognize them very well. And the social media operators, too. They have even developed clever algorithms that filter out articles and posts that are obvious clickbait – and will consequently send them to the digital orcus with their thumbs down.
Keeping Competitors In Mind
Most companies analyse their published content after publishing, for example by looking at user feedback, at engagement etc. The famous Neil Schaffer of »Maximize Your Social«, on the other hand, recommends going one step further and actively keeping an eye on the competition. With a tool like »BuzzSumo«, for example, you can analyse what was already successful in the past, what others have done right or wrong. To do this, you enter your own keywords as search terms and the tool will show you which contributions on this topic have received what feedback from others on selected social media platforms. The results can even be further filtered – for example by content type (video, text, image, etc.) and also by the time span in which a contribution was published. These findings can be used to optimise your own current content, and, in any case, your next article or the next posting that is still in the planning stage.
Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or just LinkedIn?
The number of successful social media channels is large (and still growing all the time). Only one of the big ones has vanished in recent years. Google has given up on Google+, much to the regret of many fans, since it was very well done, but unfortunately treated with extreme neglect by the ubiquitous internet giant. So, how can you decide what the right channel is for your company, one that really represents your target group well and ultimately helps you to succeed? In fact, it’s not that easy, it needs a lot of experience and even more knowledge. To talk to experts in advance, to read a lot is highly recommended.
Social media is a long-term investment, so it must be crystal clear where the journey is going to and what budget will be available. By the way, the answer is not always as obvious as you may think: Facebook can be just as good for B2B companies as business platforms like LinkedIn and XING (dominant in Germany). Once that decision has been made, it’s time to plan and implement a tailor-made strategy for exactly this channel.
Attract Employees, Build Trust
It is becoming increasingly important for all companies to recruit the right employees. Classical ways fail and even the big job web platforms are hardly able to satisfy the demand. Social media can close this gap, in many ways. Because well-maintained profiles, interesting and versatile appearances create trust – trust in the fact that future employees feel that they are in good hands. That your company is »the one«.
The job market has become a reversed market in recent years, the applicants have to be somewhat courted – the associated keyword »employer branding« has been around for quite some time. And that is how to get your perfect new employee: with an informative and exciting appearance, not only in business networks but also in your own business blog or your Facebook fan page. With this kind of branding, particularly small and medium-size companies are very successful in attracting new employees.
Blog First – Social Media Next
The headline may sound like a commonplace, but behind this lies a crucial strategy for your own social media work. It’s all about letting your own work spread out from where it originated – from your own company. It may sound somewhat strange, but nobody can guarantee whether there will be a Twitter or Facebook tomorrow. The laboriously created and costly content could be lost forever. Google+ is certainly a good example for this, and surely only a small number of users will have taken the trouble to get their own content back.
Your own blog, however, always remains your own blog. Nobody takes it away ever again. And the content remains preserved exactly where you want, as long as you want it. Blog content is the perfect source to link to social media channels. And vice versa to refer to it elsewhere, to lure readers as well as potential customers to your website. In addition, links may be created in this way which will help you even more, strengthening your position in search engines.
»Evergreen Content« For Additional Success
Another new buzzword? No, a true success factor when working with blogs and social media. So what is this »evergreen content«? More and more content is being produced for social networks, but only a small part of it generates long-term added value. But that’s exactly what is desirable to achieve: a long-lasting success for the budget spent.
Such timeless content can be rolled out over and over again on your own social channels – without additional work being required. These blog posts can be tweeted, posted and placed dozens of times – over many months, sometimes even years. Producing evergreen content generally works everywhere, it’s often explicatory or descriptive content or simply basic articles that will still be correct even in years to come.
Conquering New Channels – Expanding Knowledge
If so far, many things are already going well with your social media appearance, it, of course, doesn’t mean it will stay that way all time. A thorough examination of current developments simply is adamant after some time has passed. Internet generations are extremely short, and losing touch with developments happens a lot quicker than you might think. Often your own level of knowledge is not unusually one or two years old – but that is just not good enough to be successful in the years to come.
A strategy discussion with your social media agency might open your eyes. Plus a thorough reading of relevant platforms can help you to make valid entrepreneurial decisions. Are there any important developments / sources / trends in current social media that you have not yet used or even heard of? Are there even new channels that would be worth integrating into your own marketing strategy? Yes, the extensive social media universe ranging from YouTube video clips to Twitter short text is ever so complex – no doubt about it. Thus expanding your knowledge is an absolute must.
Thoroughly Examine The Legal Situation
Keeping track of what is current after many court rulings, what is utterly necessary according to (European as much as national) GDPR is really not easy. But a blog, a website or a social profile must and should be legally secure. Without any question a must. So where, for example, are legal notices mandatory and how do they have to be put together? Is the data protection declaration sufficient for all details? Social buttons are such a delicate example where developments can quickly be overlooked since they seem so unimportant.
It may be worthwhile to invest in a (self-employed) data protection officer and closely listen to his or her advice – even for freelancers and the smallest SMBs. Especially for the European Union member states. Examples of problematic points are almost legion and some small thing can no doubt be found almost anywhere. The end of the year is a good time to come clean. To create (legal) certainty.