Where can customers find you online?
In the age of “screening-ful” connections, most companies have made the deliberate (if sometimes reluctant) shift from traditional to digital marketing. Platforms that were once used to reconnect with distant family members or elementary school friends are now aggressively utilized for sales and marketing.
As we’d expect, social media usage has skyrocketed in the last several months. A whopping 59% of Americans report spending more time on their computers and mobile devices since the pandemic began!
Social media is the thread that holds us together these days, and now that foot traffic has decreased, it’s vital for companies to build or sustain a presence—and make a good impression—online. A strong social media presence lets you promote your company and show that your business is still thriving. And nothing piques the interest of a potential client more than a thriving firm.
Full disclaimer—as a mid-career PR practitioner, I’m not the world’s leading expert in social media. But I’ve got the publicity chops to know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to brand visibility and communication. Those principles hold true across any social media platform.
Here are best practices for establishing a flourishing online presence through social media:
Create a strategic plan. Creating snappy, bite-size content for social platforms is harder than it seems, and it’s especially difficult to do in the moment! Plan your content in advance so you don’t get slowed down by same-day writer’s block. You can always adjust your plan to respond to current events or breaking news. In fact, it’s easier to be agile if you’ve already got a well-structured plan in place. When executing a social media strategy, consistency is key.
Two of my favorite big brands who execute planned content well are Chewy and Lego. Even though I don’t have a pet right now and my sons have-outgrown Lego sets, their posts are visually interesting and engaging and make me smile.
Choose your platform(s) wisely. Having the right strategy goes hand-in-hand with being on the right platform. Service professionals often get better traction on LinkedIn, while products and more visual brands prefer to build a following on Instagram. You don’t need to be on every platform; to start, choose just one platform and stick to it. Once you’re successful there, you can expand your reach elsewhere.
I met John Barrows several years ago and knew he had the talent and passion to teach others how to sell. He started on LinkedIn, nurtured his community and has become one of the country’s top sales trainers – check out his Podcast “Make it Happen Mondays.”
Engage with your audience. Social media platforms are fundamentally built on conversations. In a good conversation, you should listen at least as much as you speak and avoid being overly promotional. The same goes for your social accounts. Participate actively in the conversation: comment on other people’s posts and always respond to comments and engagement on your own accounts.
Gary Vaynerchuk is the king of online engagement and embraced the digital world faster and better than most. Read his backstory for even more inspiration!
Be authentic. Instead of obsessing over a perfectly curated feed, be authentic about what goes on behind the scenes. You could do that by sharing some snaps of your team members at work or even owning a struggle you’re going through as a company. Authenticity helps your audience connect with you as a human being and builds trust and loyalty for your brand.
Local Abington eatery Sorelle Abington, shares a combination of memes, team photos and gorgeous food pics in a fun and interactive facebook page. Like all restaurants this year, they’ve taken a big hit but invite their customers to be part of their journey.
Incorporate visual elements. Whenever possible, use real photos from your organization instead of stock images. Every team member has an excellent camera built into their phone, and with just a little effort, anybody can become a decent photographer. Look around your work environment with fresh eyes: what seems commonplace to you may be fascinating to your customers!
Shout out to my former intern Julia who took her father’s construction company’s Instagram D’Allessandro Corp from single digits to more than 1,600 followers!
Audit. Look back at your work on a regular basis (I like once per quarter) and ask yourself what worked and what didn’t. What posts garnered the most engagement? Where does your strategy need tweaking? Make adjustments to give your audience more of the content they liked best.
For holiday retail inspiration, check out April Soderstrom—beautiful beads, bracelets and her adorable son are the stars of this entrepreneur’s Instagram account.
If you need more guidance on how to build a stronger presence online, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’m always online! 🙂