Social media isn’t all bad.
It enables us to stay informed about the news; find connections during crises; build thought leadership platforms; establish and grow businesses; connect with customers, employees and press; and even take a stand against racial injustice.
But it’s not just what you say on social media. It’s how you say it that matters, too. Why? Because you’re speaking directly to your audience.
Whether you’re a series B startup creating a new category or an established public company looking to reinvent itself, social media needs to play a strategic, integrated role in your marketing communications plan. Here’s what you should consider:
Set up search feeds to monitor how people are talking about your industry. Audit your competitors and use the findings to set benchmarks that you can work toward. And get to know your audience. Who do they follow? Which initiatives do they support? Now, how do these connect with what you’re offering? Begin there.
B2B audiences are bored by jargon. Drop the professional voice. People want authenticity and entertainment, even at work. Podcasts, videos and social media need to sound human.
Keep your business goals and strategy top-of-mind -— that’s your bottom line and should always inform your copywriting. We recommend placing percentages next to each business goal to inform how much time the communications program should spend on each. Then match those up to your social posts as well. Is recruiting number one right now? Or are you more focused on building awareness among the VC community? Intentions drive outcomes.
Don’t use the same posts on every platform. The nuances matter, particularly when it comes to hashtag usage and sizing graphics or videos.
Act on timely topics and trending hashtags to expand the reach of posts. You want to be relevant enough to be part of the news cycle, but differentiated enough to stand out. Just make sure to lead with how you think, not what you do.
We’ve all been isolated enough. Take the time to listen, offer advice and be helpful. Keep spirits high by providing interactive and lighthearted content in between thought leadership posts.
Straightforward is better than funny, snarky or clever. If you’re not sure how a post will land, don’t do it. Context matters and social media’s brevity makes it hard to convey. If it feels like a stretch, it probably is.
People click because they connect with their fear or their pride. You might have facts you need to convey, but begin with why your audience might care.
Frequency matters. Create a content pace people can rely on (and once a month is not nearly enough). Social media happens in real-time, and so should the engagement with your community.
Want your visuals to leave an impression? Diversify your multimedia to amplify the same content across channels. Remember, it’s not a message unless it’s repeatable.
Don’t forget to invite them in. Ask a question, click for more information, sign up for a class, go to a website, donate to a cause. What do you want your audience to do with your content?
Throw some non-link posts in, too, so you’re not always asking your audience to do something for you. This is an effective way to amplify thought leadership on social channels.
Practice what you preach. Speaking out and following through are key for follower retention. Actions really do speak louder than words — your audience is watching (and judging) your every move. They care about your products or services, but they care more about the people running the show. Are they socially conscious and supportive of social justice movements? Before taking a stance, make sure you have the initiatives in place that back up what you’re saying your company supports.
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Laura is the vice president of marketing at Inkhouse.