Social media is huge, and arguably one of the biggest changes in the last decade to how we communicate. Utilised correctly, social media can translate into effective and free PR for your brand.
Whatever service you provide, you should be engaging with your target audience via social media. It allows your audience to learn more about your brand, and to engage in a dialogue with potential consumers, which is especially helpful if you are a small brand.
Measuring social media performance and the use of analytics can be quantifiable feedback from your target audience, and an opportunity that should be seized for your brand. Being able to translate data into a social media schedule is invaluable.
Measure your performance
As a brand, you need to know how well you’re doing what you’re doing. By measuring how well a post performed, in terms of reach – which is the estimated audience for your post – and interaction with your profile, you can plan to replicate or eradicate the style or content.
If a post has attracted new followers, retweets or likes, you can deduce that you have successfully engaged with your audience and possibly attracted a wider one.
Measure your social media interaction by recording and then analyzing the following for Facebook:
- the total reach
- the number of page likes received
- the number of likes, comments and shares for posts – engagement with your content is vital on Facebook as it will in turn increase post reach.
and for Twitter:
- new followers
- the number of tweets posted
- the number of retweets/mentions (by others of your content)
- the total reach.
There are paid-for tools available online that can analyse your social media data for you, if you prefer, and have the budget. There are also free versions of these tools available, for example Hootsuite and TweetDeck.
A social media schedule is vital and will offer consistency, which allows people to trust in your brand: keep your communication and content consistent.
Having a regular presence online helps the audience to know that you are current, active and in business.
Social media can give consumers a snapshot of your company’s ethos and brand direction, so ensure that you’re aware of the image that you want to portray and plan to weave it into all of your social media content.
Related reading: How to Write a Fashion Press Release
Your social media schedule should be directly related to:
- what your analytics tell you
- industry knowledge and your influences
- creativity and enthusiasm for your brand.
Think about relevant surrounding topics and how you can interact with them through social media: engage with others via a true dialogue to build upon your number of followers/page likes.
Have a balanced approach with your social media content, in terms of including cleverly disguised promotional, inspirational and industry-focussed content. You can include a mixture of all three in a time-frame to suit you, so if you’re a small business with limited manpower, use a scheduling service such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck.
If you aren’t familiar with hashtags, find out what the relevant – and popular – ones are and use them. Twitter has some information on using hashtags, and search for the meanings of key ones before using them if you’re unsure.
Proofread your social media content as you would an article or product description, always ensure no spelling or grammatical errors are present.
This can be particularly ubiquitous with long hashtags, as the lack of spacing makes it more difficult to spot errors. Keep hashtags short and be sure to proofread them for alternative meanings that can attract negative publicity, for example the misread hashtag for Susan Boyle’s album party.
Spelling mistakes discourage people, it makes content seem spam-like and untrustworthy, so avoid them: the secret to success is having someone else with spelling/grammar skills that you can trust to check your work; this is why newspapers employ sub-editors.
However, this is not feasible for every business, so to do it on your own:
- print a hard copy and proofread that – it is easier to spot mistakes this way
- take a break from what you’re reading and revisit the content – continually reading the same text makes it harder to recognise mistakes
- use available dictionaries and your computer’s spell-check function.
Posting regularly can help to build a community as your audience engages with your content and shares it with theirs. However, don’t flood your audience’s timelines on Facebook and news feeds on Twitter with constant updates if the content has not been differentiated.
Maintain your presence on the platforms that have proven to be the most successful for you and establish your brand, you can then branch out to other platforms.
Don’t be rude and choose content wisely
Normal rules of etiquette still apply when communicating via social media, just because you have to shorten content, it does not mean that you should be blunt, as it appears discourteous.
Tweets in particular, are bite-sized chunks of information about your brand so you should abbreviate and edit appropriately – even if it fits into 140 characters, it doesn’t make it right.
Also, regard your audience when voicing opinions and retweeting or affiliating yourself with other accounts. Your target audience will have differing beliefs and moralistic outlooks; so think before you comment on current affairs – especially politics – and follow controversial profiles.
Remember who you may excite with your social media content, the fashion industry is visual and likes strong and pleasing aesthetics; so source great images and build up a bank of your own and share them – if your brand has a particular visual flair you may wish to branch out to Instagram. Being able to show people what service or product you can provide is a great tactic, because you can prove how good you are.
Uploading videos and/or gifs is also a great idea and something that people can enjoy quickly without scrolling through text – just ensure you’ve practiced your video skills and you’re confident of all content within the video, background noises included.
Don’t be hard on yourself
Building up an online following takes time, and if you do so properly, your followers will be ‘lifers’, and hopefully good customers.
It can take a while to see a change, but if you continually adhere to what your analytics and experiences are telling you, you will see one.
Do what feels right for your brand and be ready to adapt with the changes of social media. Facebook is helpful if you want to include more content as Twitter restricts you to 140 characters per tweet and direct message; Twitter however, seems to have a faster pace – experiment to find out what works best for your brand.
Look at brands that you aspire to – and retweet accordingly – but measure yourself against a brand similar to your own. Looking at brands that you aspire to is good when you do so objectively. So have plans, dreams and aspirations but also be content with the reality of gradual gains.