You might have seen (and if you haven’t, where have you been?) that we recently hosted Social Media: SL/CED, the latest in our SL/CED series of seminars, designed to give marketing advice in small, easy to digest chunks. This time, we teamed up with the founder and editor of the fabulous newsletter I Choose Birmingham, Tom Cullen, to let the people of Birmingham into the secrets of social media success – as well as treating them to a free breakfast! If you couldn’t make it down for the real thing, then fear not – we’ve rounded up our top 5 takeaways so that you too can smash your social media marketing!
Do less, but do it well
One of the first lessons of the day can be summed up in a couple of words that our Managing Director, Javan, said – “do less, and do it well”. Some businesses feel the need to create a presence on every single social media platform possible to achieve social media success, but this isn’t the right approach for the majority of business. One of the most important things to nail when it comes to your social media marketing is getting the platform right – find out where your audience mostly are, figure out how best to leverage your message, and hit that platform with a well-thought out, super focussed strategy.
How you say things is important, but remember what you say
Tom shared an anecdote about his own experiences with I Choose Birmingham which we thought was really powerful. If you’re local to the area, you may know about the recent bin-strikes in Birmingham. Tom talked about how I Choose – in line with their usual sardonic style – became known for providing a bit of light relief for Brummies during the period where their bins weren’t being collected.
Bin strike, day 83,832 pic.twitter.com/qngLOpEvSY
— I Choose Birmingham (@ichoosemag) August 16, 2017
Thought I'd had an incredible business idea: charge people for me to take their rubbish away!
Then I realised I just invented Council tax
— I Choose Birmingham (@ichoosemag) July 28, 2017
Seriously though, who are the big winners of the bin strike?
— I Choose Birmingham (@ichoosemag) September 22, 2017
However, one post shared by I Choose Birmingham missed the mark and received a bit of a backlash:
New idea: We all go on strike until the bin men agree to come off strike. So, whatever it is you do for a living, stop doing it immediately.
— I Choose Birmingham (@ichoosemag) July 18, 2017
Tom talked about how at the time he thought of the tweet as a bit of funny, engaging content, but when the backlash began, he’d realised his mistake: he’d forgotten his audience. Of course, a group of liberal, metropolitan young people might take offence to the suggestion that bin men are slacking off by striking. Moral of the story? Remember not to forget your audience and your shared values while chasing quality content, humour, a tone of voice – or anything, for that matter.
Make, tweak, share, repeat!
We love this mantra – it’s a great little checklist of what to do with your content. Making your own content could include blogs, polls, memes – anything original. Tweaking could include editing popular trends to put a spin on them or sharing your opinion of a blog post. Sharing content is straightforward – find great content that’s useful to your audience and share it. What’s the right split between owned and curated content? It depends on how much content you own, but Tom’s rule of thumb is for every 1 piece of curated, share 2 owned. And remember to repeat content regularly! As Tom said, ‘repeating content is so okay that Twitter has given you a RT your own tweet button’!
Conversation is key
One of the most important things Javan picked up on was the importance of humanising your brand. Part of this comes down to tone of voice. Adding a bit of personality to your social media can make your business more accessible to others – even if you’re a corporate business, adding a bit of personality can help your audience engage with content that traditionally might be a little more ‘dry’. Personality allows you to give opinion and interact with others which drives engagement and gives you more opportunity to interact and develop relationships with your audience.
Be picky with what you like and follow
Most people start growing their twitter accounts, for example, by following lots of people and expecting them to follow back. But how effective is this in helping you establish a social media account with great content and a strong following? Perhaps not as much as you think. Another golden piece of advice from Tom was that your timeline is your newsfeed. As such, you should pick and choose who you follow carefully. That way, you only see the best and most relevant content, meaning that you can share it more easily with your audience and let them come to you.