Time Out Australia's audience development manager, Monica Balaz, offers some sage advice on making sure your social strategy hits the bullseye.
Social media can be daunting, infuriating and overwhelming. As someone who specialises in working in social media, even I feel this way! The flipside is it’s not only a necessary evil for business – it’s a great way to connect, inspire and develop strong relationships with your community. When you truly tap into that, you can have a positive experience no matter which app you open up on your phone.
I like to think of social media as an art gallery: it’s not what your business creates, it’s a showcase for the work. Like art, your work can be incredible – a new recipe, a new venue or a specialty cocktail – but without nice presentation in the gallery, this amazing work can be overlooked. Similar to a gallery’s lighting, framing and attention to detail, presentation matters on social media as it reflects the work you create – you wouldn’t put the ‘Mona Lisa’ in a Kmart frame, so don’t put your best work into the void of social media without a little love for the work you created.
Here’s my guide to putting your work into the best light on social media:
- Focus your efforts
Choose one or a few key platforms that are relevant for your business and manageable for you to post on regularly and focus on making them great. Avoid spreading yourself thin by trying to post across all platforms all the time.
- Think about your ‘why’ in each post
Your social media is a reflection of your brand – it should mirror your brand mission, business values, personality, brand identity, positioning and quality. Each post reflects this – so make it count.
- Engage with your audience
Customers appreciate replies and comments. Engaging with your audience through conversations, questions, polls and thought starters is a great way to connect as well as generating more reach for your social media channels. My only advice here is be careful what you ask for – make it relevant to your brand and avoid losing your supporters with your personal politics. Example: “What should go in our next cocktail: pineapple or guava?” (good engagement!) vs “Do you think there should be mandatory vaccines?” (bad engagement).
- Tone of voice is important
Choose words and images that reflect your brand. If you are a low-key, casual brand use the same language in your posts and don’t be afraid to talk like a person! If you are more professional, lay off the emojis. Making meaningful, relevant and interesting content for your audience online that already supports you in person is about being able to connect on their level.
- Don’t lose your personality
People are human – they can sense when posts are written in a salesy way or when are too rushed or contrived. Even if you are more professional or upscale, you don’t need to talk like a robot.
- Make your imagery beautiful and clear
Make sure your images and videos are clear, bright and have a good resolution. If an image is pixelated or blurry or you can’t see what’s going on, try to find a better quality image or retake it. I’m not saying you should have a professional photographer for your social media content, but take the time to look at the photo and think if you saw this on a competitor’s business profile – would you be interested, impressed or scroll past? It’s worth watching a few YouTube videos on how to take good social media imagery and looking at what other people in your industry are posting – what images do you like, and can you replicate the types of photo or video with your own work featured?
- Images should communicate instantly
A stranger should be able to understand what the post is about from the first second they see it. Whether they have to look at the caption to find out more is up to them, but the picture should reflect what you are going to talk about, introduce or explain. For example, having a picture of someone drinking a cocktail at the bar when you are advertising your new brunch menu is only relevant if the picture is during daylight.
- Avoid repeating content
Try to mix up what’s featured in your posts. Even if all you want to do is show off your next event, don’t post a bunch of pictures of the flyer – show the people featured in the event, photos from past similar events, photos of the venue, photos of what’s on the menu for the event, progress shots of event preparation – think about every single detail as an opportunity for content.
- Post videos
Video content is leading the future; smart phones allow you to capture great video footage. I recommend trying Instagram Reels and Stories to your advantage – they’re a great way to reach more people and show off more than an image can capture.
- Experiment with new types of content and creative
The best things come from learning, and it’s worth trying if they resonate with your audience. Try Instagram Stories, ‘polls’ or ‘quizzes’, Reels, and TikToks. You may have some surprising results! Don’t be afraid to fail. Creativity and experimentation are key to any brand’s social strategy. Without creative ideas, you’re screaming at a wall and without flexibility to experiment, there’s missed opportunities and the risk of falling behind competitors who aren’t afraid to experiment on social.
- Don’t forget insights
Look at what your current audience likes, loves and dislikes. Each social media platform has insights, which show your pages’ audience demographics and post performance. Reflect on what your audience is most engaged with and what type of audience you typically are talking to on social.
To speak to us about how we can help you market your brand, speak to Group Account Manager Hye-Joo Woo today (firstname.lastname@example.org).