On Tuesday I attended the 2016 Business Communicators Summit (BCS), sponsored by the International Association of Business Communicators (Kansas City chapter). More than 100 local business communication professionals attended lectures and breakout sessions led by a group of highly successful business communicators who shared their knowledge and expertise.
The BCS continues to be a great professional development resource for all types of business communicators, including social media marketers. Several speakers at this year’s event discussed social media and digital marketing in their presentations and offered great insights to the audience.
In fact, the keynote speaker was social media speaker, trainer and author, Peg Fitzpatrick. She presented her “power tips” for social media marketing. She covered three main topics: building your foundation, attracting more followers and feeding the content monster.
Build Your Foundation
- Fitzpatrick highlighted the importance of optimizing your social media profile. You should have a quality profile picture and cover photo. It should look professional but relatable. For individuals, she even recommended that selfies are perfectly fine for professional profile pictures. So snap away!
- Another important focus on your profile is your bio or company description. Your social media bio should describe you or your business in a relatable way. Don’t fill it up with buzzwords and avoid sounding too stiff and professional. It is social media, after all.
Attract More Followers
- After building a foundation with a high-quality profile, the next task is to build your followers. Fitzpatrick suggests determining 3 major “seeds” that will guide your social media content. You should go back to those three seeds every time you post or share something. If it doesn’t align with one of the three, don’t post or share it.
- She also highlighted the importance of quality over quantity. On social media, it’s better to have a core group of followers who are interested in what you have to say as opposed to a large number of followers who aren’t interested. She advises that you “show up” everyday. This doesn’t mean you have to be glued to your social media 24/7 but you should be monitoring it regularly and updating content at the optimal time for your followers to see it.
Feed the Content Monster
- While you want to post original content on your social profiles, Fitzpatrick recommends building a small group of sources for sharing others’ content. This will not only help establish you as a good source of information in your particular field, but it can also build a relationship with those other content creators. If you share their content, they’re more likely to share yours. This will give you an even wider reach with your own original content.
Some other great nuggets of advice and insight about social media and digital marketing from Fitzpatrick, and other BCS presenters, Angela Crawford and Alan Grosbach of NAIA, and Alicia Backlund of Level Five Solutions, include:
- Upload videos natively to Facebook. For example, avoid posting a video to YouTube and sharig the YouTube link on your Facebook page. Facebook will prioritize a video uploaded directly to Facebook so that more of your followers are likely to see it.
- Avoid text-only status updates on Facebook. Pictures and videos are going to get higher engagement with the Facebook current algorithm.
- Targeting your audience for a Facebook post might have a lower overall reach compared to your other posts but higher engagement because you targeted it people who are more likely to be interested in it.
- When possible, get you and your staff in the habit of liking your posts immediately after they’re posted to build reach immediately. Facebook will prioritize it to go to more people.
- A tweet has a shelf life of 20-30 minutes. Share and share again on Twitter. Don’t assume that one tweet will get your point across.
- When a person tweets at a brand, they expect a response. If you’re going to be active on social, you need to be interactive.
- When you post a video on Instagram, be sure to pick a thumbnail that will catch your followers’ attention.
- Add new pins on Pinterest. 80% of pins are repinned so put out original content when you can.
- Use Snapchat to show your followers what’s going on behind the scenes. Don’t show them what they already see every day from you or your brand.
General Social Media
- Find sources of content that work for you and your business, such as Alltop, Feedly, Buzzsumo or even a good old-fashioned Google Alert.
- Determine business goals for your social media platforms and choose which platform to use based on those goals and your research of each platform. Once you’ve picked a platform(s), learn the language. Understand how it’s used and the best ways to optimize the platform for your business. Follow your competition to get ideas (but not to copy) how they utilize the platform.
- Jump into others’ conversations on social media when appropriate. Make sure you’re not doing it just to be opportunistic. People will be able to see right through that tactic.
- The content strategist must work to define not only which content will be published, buy why you’re publishing it in the first place. Otherwise, content strategy isn’t strategy at all; it’s just a glorified production line for content nobody really needs or wants.
- Content is only useful when it helps advance your company’s goals AND meets users’ needs.
- You’re in trouble if the team who is creating your content can’t quickly answer: “Who is this content for?”
- Go to your audience to learn what they want. Experience it from their point of view, not yours. Not what you researched, and not what you knew about it 10 years ago when you were in their shoes.
- As a content strategist, you have to ride the wave between knee-jerk tactics and analysis paralysis.
The 2016 BCS speakers reinforced the importance of a well-planned, well-executed social media strategy. At AWG, we can help you create a comprehensive digital marketing strategy that will work best for your business and bring the most value to your customers.