By 2018, over 2.5 billion people, more than a quarter of the population, will inhabit social media. No medium will serve as a greater organizer and platform for ideas than this wildly influential community of networks logged into and out of multiple times per day, every day, by the average user.
Because of its rise in popularity, added layers of complexity have shown. Despite this, brands approaching social media for the first time continue to treat it as a cheap and easy way to advertise. Over time, they learn that increased competition from bigger brands have left the playing field uneven.
Investments are a necessity. But what good is an investment without a strategy? Building on that, what good is a strategy without an audience you know will be receptive and inclined to buy? Going even further, what exactly do I want my audience to do? Where should I appeal to them? How should I appeal to them?
Let’s take it step by step.
I have to sell a product or service. What do I do first?
Start off by identifying your audience, so that you know whom you’re writing for and whom you should target. For example, if you were offering a pool cleaning service in South Florida, you’d want to appeal to adults over the age of 30 with a reasonably high income. These are the demographics that are most likely to have a pool.
Consider who has walked into your store or whom you’ve worked for. How old are they? Are most of them men? What do they come for most? When are you busiest?
This is significant because these customers are going to form the foundation of your social media audience. Now that you’re on social media, you can organize them and appeal to them through your page.
That’s good news. But I want more fans. What do I do?
Now you can start crafting a strategy to reach out to your fans and, most importantly, those who have yet to discover your business. Appealing to this group is where your investment is going to pay off most. You may already have a devoted, loyal fan base, but you should always be on the lookout to add more customers.
There’s no better way to reach out to these potential customers than through social media.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, and a number of other social media platforms all offer a multitude of advertising platforms.
Let’s use Facebook as an example. Here are just a few of the targeting criteria I can use to narrow my audience:
- Location (People who live in this location, People recently in this location, People traveling in this location)
- Target by specific location, including country, city and region. You can also exclude certain locations you don’t want your ad to reach.
- Detailed targeting (Demographics, Interests, Behaviors)
- Household composition
- Net worth
On the right hand side, you’ll find an ‘Audience Definition’ column that indicates just how many people you’ll reach with the criteria you’ve selected. You want to be broad enough that you appeal to enough people, but specific enough that you’re not diluting your reach with people who have no interest in what you’re offering.
Great! I have my audience, but I need content to show them. Now what?
This is where a lot of amateurs are going to slip up. But you know what? That’s perfectly fine. Just like with any endeavor, your first efforts may not live up to your lofty expectations. Even with specific targeting and all of the research in the world at your disposal, your advertisements or posts still might not deliver the results you anticipated.
Here’s some unconventional advice: Take pictures of your product or you performing the service you offer. A lot of pictures. Pull back the curtain and let people know what life is like walking in your shoes.
If you’re going to be unique, you have to post content no one else can make.
The importance of imagery cannot be overstated enough. But high-quality images aren’t enough since you can get those from Shutterstock. Those pictures are generic to the point that it’s TOO high quality and unrealistic. Instead, give your audience something no one else can: Transparency and a dose of your own reality.
Write like you’re having a conversation with your audience. They already know what you sell, so they don’t need to be explicitly told about your services.
Instead, offer them unique features and the ensuing benefits without being too pushy. Remember: You want to have a conversation with the reader, not shove your product’s info down their throats.
Speaking of being inundated with info, don’t turn your posts into paragraphs. The most effective copywriting practices all indicate that less is more. You have to be clear and concise with the action you want your audience to take, without being too generic.
Most social media users aren’t prepared to read essays on social media, and they’ll usually keep scrolling when they see a wall of text. But a short sentence with an interesting image or video? That could be convincing enough for a user to stop scrolling momentarily and check out what you’re saying.
I got my copy to write for today! Let’s go!
Hold on there, Eager McBeaver!
Writing every post on the day of or the night before is problematic because you have to think on the spot, thus compromising the quality of your post. You’re going to run into situations where an event occurs that’s worthy of posting immediately, but an overlying content strategy needs to be created.
Now’s the time you think up themes, as well as research best times and days to post. Through your research, you’ll learn engagement on almost every channel increases near the end of the week and posting on weekends on certain channels is a waste.
Create a calendar, give each weekday a theme, and compose posts accordingly. Your stress will be minimized when you don’t have to think up a new post everyday that’s going to ‘wow’ your audience.
Also remember that different audiences are going to be on different social media platforms, and your copy will need to adjust. Your posts on Twitter will not be the same as your posts on Facebook or LinkedIn. This is not only because of the varying audiences between the two channels, but also the character count.
Your Twitter posts can consist of only 140 characters, while your Facebook and LinkedIn posts far exceed that. However, if you’re creating ads for Facebook then you can only write as many as 150 characters for the main copy, 25 for the headline, and 150 for the description. Your Twitter posts’ character limit can also vary depending on what type of tweet you’re using, as seen in this guide.
LinkedIn, meanwhile, allows for 150 characters in the main copy and description, but up to 70 on headlines.
The character count can be confusing due to all of the types of posts available, but reference material does exist for each material.
The ages and demographics will also differ.
My posts are uploaded and people are responding! What do I do now?
Answer them! This is your opportunity to establish the same degree of loyalty to your customers as they’ve provided for you. Social media is the most effective way of bridging the gap between customer and brand,
so use this to your advantage.
Be transparent and honest in your answers. Your customers don’t want the same canned response that you’re sending everyone else. They want to feel unique and valued. You certainly don’t want to be treated as another customer when you deal with brands, right?
Even the negative, critical comments need addressing. Leaving a disgruntled customer’s comment hang in the air without addressing is not only going to cause resentment from that customer, but from other customers that can see the complaint go unaddressed as well.
It’s always best to show you care. You could end up changing that customer’s mind by offering them a discount the next time they use your service or buy your product. Even if it doesn’t work out, putting forth the effort to ameliorate the issue pays off.
Thanks for all of your help! This is hard work, though. A lot harder than I thought. Is there someone out there that can help?
There is! For your consultation, call One Twelfth, Inc. at 786-616-3051