Reviewing Your Year On Social Media

The end of 2019 is fast approaching!!

I for one am very excited for 2020.  It’s going to bring a lot of change in my business and a new approach to how I do things.

A big part of that for me is going to be planning my content for the year ahead (look out for the next blog for more on this!).  But the first stage in that process is to review how well this year has gone on social media.

For this, I’ll be looking at the free insights and analytics available on each platform.  I’ll look back through the year’s posts and see which performed best in terms of:

  • Reach
  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Shares
  • Clicks
  • Views

This will help guide my content for next year, as I’ll know what content my audience has been loving in 2019!

I’ll also be looking at which posts performed least well in each of the above metrics.  This will then give me an idea of what I should doing/talking about in 2020.

You see, your audience are telling you what they enjoy and what they’re less keen on.  You just need to pay attention to them!

This is definitely something you should be doing more than once a year.  At the very least, I would suggest looking at your content every month to see what performs best and least well.

So, set yourself an appointment before the end of the year to review your metrics before you start to plan your social media content for 2020!

What Do Your Audience Want On Social Media?

If you want social media success, the most important thing to focus on is your audience.  It is very tempting to focus your content on what you want to tell people.  But if you instead shift that to what they want to hear, you are likely to achieve so much more success.

But how do we know what our audience wants from us on social media?

 

  1. CREATE A PERSONA

Write down every detail you can possibly think of in relation to your target audience (and remember if you’re B2B, your audience is not a business.  It’s people within the business).  Drill down to age, location, gender, job role, family, education, industry, what makes them laugh, what are they worried about, what challenges them, what do they read, what are they interested in, what do they want to learn, and anything else you can possibly think of!!!

Grab yourself a big piece of paper and write down everything.  Then create a persona from this.  In other words, take it from being a huge audience to being one person.  You can even give them a name!  If it’s tricky to make just one persona, you can make a few.  But try to avoid having any more than 5.  Each time you create content, have this ‘person’ in mind.

 

2. SPEAK TO YOUR CUSTOMERS

I’m sure you’re trying to attract people that are similar to your customers to follow you on social media.  So, speak to your customers.  If you have regular conversations with your customers, ask them about their social media use and what they would like to see from you on social media.  Ask them to give you honest feedback on your current activity and whether they can relate to it.

 

3. RUN A SURVEY

You can ask questions on social media directly to get some feedback from your audience.  You can also run a more in-depth survey to gain a better understanding of what might appeal to your audience.  Free tools like Survey Monkey will allow you to email a survey or share the link on social media.  You could incentivise the survey with a prize draw to increase response.  Ask questions like which platforms they use and the type of content they like to see (top tip: don’t leave this open ended.  Instead give multiple choice responses so you don’t end up with lots of different answers!).

 

4. LET THEM TELL YOU

But by the far the easiest and most effective way of understanding what your audience wants on social media is to let them tell you.  And they do this by engaging, or not engaging, with your content.  Each platform gives you insights and analytics behind each of your posts.  At the end of every week, look at how much engagement you have had for each of your posts.  Likes, comments and shares typically suggest that your audience is interested in that content.  If you don’t get as much engagement for a post, it is likely this is due to them not being as interested.  This will give you an idea of what your audience wants to see from you.

Pay attention to overall themes.  For example, if you get more engagement for videos rather than images.  Or if you get more comments on images with people in rather than products.  Do more of what gets you the most engagement, and less of what gets you the least!!

 

So, what does your audience want?  If you don’t know, it’s time to start figuring it out!

 

 

 

What Should We and Shouldn’t We Be Posting on LinkedIn?

It feels like LinkedIn has had a bit of a revival recently.  The new layout seems to be working well.  The app has improved.  And, it seems that people are committing to putting content out via their personal LinkedIn profiles.  I’m really enjoying being part of it!

But, I have seen a lot of posts recently on LinkedIn that have questioned what should go on LinkedIn and what should be saved for Facebook.  I’ve also seen people be lambasted for posting something on LinkedIn, reminding them that it is a professional network and what they have been posted would have been better placed elsewhere.

The fact is, there are no rules when it comes to social media.  I’m often asked to talk about the ‘etiquette’ of social media and the do’s and don’ts.  The reality is, they don’t exist.  Only in the eyes of the beholder!!!  The important thing is to stick with what is right for you.  I don’t swear on social media.  It just doesn’t fit with me and my personality.  But it doesn’t mean that not swearing is a rule.  In fact, on some platforms, businesses are having huge success because they do swear and are using the same language as their target audience.

Yes, LinkedIn is a more business-focused platform.  It’s a place to network with other business people.  But go to a live networking event, and only around 50% of the conversations will centre around business.  You may chat to someone about your dreadful journey getting there due to an RTA.  Or talk about how the weather is unseasonably hot for November.  Or about how your daughter kept you up all night (did you see my post about this on LinkedIn the other day?!).  Networking doesn’t have to mean 100% business conversation.  But if you don’t want to share personal details, that’s fine too.  It comes down to choice after all.

There is a somewhat infamous article on LinkedIn (you can find it here.  Be warned, if you don’t like bad language you may not want to read it!) that divided the opinions of its audience.  The article has, at the time of writing, received nearly 10k likes and 1700 comments.  If the author of the post was to just talk about how having a shed in the garden could be the answer to your home working problems, it definitely would never have received this kind of response.  Does that mean you should follow suit?  No, unless that fits with you and your brand, and your audience too.

We can choose to be bland, and the same as everyone else, to fit in, to make sure we’re not breaking any unwritten rules.  But if we do this, we won’t stand out.  Instead, we should embrace our personalities.   You don’t leave your personality at the door when you enter a networking event, so why leave it on the login page of LinkedIn.  Take it in there with you.  It could well help you stand out.

All that said, what would my advice be for what you ‘could’ rather than ‘should’ post on LinkedIn?

1. SHARE KNOWLEDGE

People like to learn new things.  So, share knowledge.  This could be links to your own blog posts, links to articles or short tips.

2. WHAT ARE YOU UP TO?

It can be hard to understand what businesses do.  Give people an insight in to what goes on in your business by sharing a snippet of your day.

3. OPINION PIECES

I think LinkedIn is a really great place for discussion.  And the more comments your post receives, the more people that will see it.  So, open up discussion around a topic by sharing your opinion.

4. ASK QUESTIONS

Yes, I shared a semi-personal post the other day about my daughter keeping me awake.  But the point of the post is whether we should soldier on when hit with exhaustion as business owners, or should we accept defeat and rest when needed.  It was turned in to a question.  Asking questions raises discussion as well, so think of the questions you could be asking.

5. VIDEO

You can load video directly to LinkedIn rather than having to share a link to a YouTube or Vimeo video.  I’ve been using this a lot lately, sharing around 3 short videos a week, and they’ve had a brilliant impact!  They don’t have to be Steven Spielberg masterpieces.  Just you talking to camera, recorded on your smartphone, is enough.  This allows people to get to know you, plus you can share some of the knowledge you have!

6. LEAD CAPTURES

Direct people to a webpage where they can enter their name and email address to receive a document or video.  These are great for building your email list.

7. OFFERS

None of the above focus on selling.  But now and again, we need to remind people they can buy from us!  Focus 80% of your posts on selling nothing, and then 20% on promoting your products or services.

These are just a few ideas.  Of course, what you post is completely up to you!!  There are no rules after all!!

I’m running a LIVE online LinkedIn course – Win Business With LinkedIn – on Tuesday 12th December.  To find out more, and book your place, just CLICK HERE!

5 Ways To Use Humour In Your Social Media Posts

I often ask people I’m training to think about what they love seeing on social media.  And most of the time it involves humour.  Humorous posts are very popular on social media.  They give us a light relief from our day.  And possibly something we can relate to.  Yet businesses often struggle with humour.  They think it lacks professionalism.  As a result, they stick with the mundane and have little success with social media.

So, how could you inject a bit of laughter in to your updates?

5 Ways To Use Humour In Your Social Media Posts

  1. Use Memes

Memes are a quick and easy way to create funny images.  And they have a great chance of being shared too. Find a funny picture, use your own or one from a stock image website, and had humorous text over it using Canva.  Think about memes you could create about the day of the week (Monday dread, Friday excitement), the weather, seasonal occurrences, and so on.  Or if you struggle, share a meme that someone else has created and give them credit for it.

Put time in to social media?

2. Share Office Funnies

You can walk in to some offices to be met with sounds of laughter and fun.  Yet, look at their social media and you’d never think that was the case.  Take pictures round the workplace of funny goings on (that you and employees are happy to share!).  Go behind the scenes with live streams.  Let people in to the personality of your business.

3. Use Boomerang

Boomerang is an app from Instagram that creates mini vides that repeat back and forth.  They can make the most mundane actions like sipping a cup of tea look more funny!  Plus they give you simple video content to add to your social media.

4. Create A Mascot

Incorporate a mascot in to your posts, such as a soft toy.  My mum does a great job of this on her Facebook page for her plant nurseries business.  Every post includes her dog, and he’s now a bit of a celebrity in the Isle of Man!  Adding a mascot in to a simple image can bring it to life and help your audience to build a relationship with you, while also adding a bit of humour.

Ballanelson Nurseries

5. Brainstorm ‘What’s Funny About This?’

If you want to talk about something work related, grab a piece of paper and take 5 minutes brainstorming what could be funny about it!  You’ll be surprised how a bit of brainstorming can lead to some really funny posts!

So, go and have a bit of fun with your social media.  I’m sure the impact will be huge!

Will you marry me?

Engagement should be one of the most important aspects of your social media strategy.  Just as with a proposal of marriage, engagement signifies a long term relationship.  A bringing together of two people.  And in social media terms, it’s not much different!  Engagement will help your brand build relationships with customers and potential customers, and convert those potential customers in to customers, bringing them together with your brand!

Engagement is also really important for increasing reach.  Many platforms now favour posts with high levels of engagement, giving them higher reach and displaying them higher in feeds.  Engagement also leads to more engagement, as the more people who engage, the more people who see the post, who may then also engage too, and so on!  It’s essential in going viral!

So, how can we encourage more engagement on social media?

Will You Marry Me?

  1. Ask Questions

If you don’t ask them to comment, how likely are they to comment?!  Posting statements will generally lead to far fewer comments than posting questions.  Questions open up conversation.  That question mark leads the reader to want to respond.  Think of how you can turn the majority of your posts in to questions.  Got a blog post to share on social media?  Ask a question about the blog post at the end of your update.  Telling people what’s happening in your business that day?  Ask them what they are up to.  It doesn’t have to be a complicated question.  Just a question that encourages people to respond.

2. Ask For Engagement

If you don’t have a question to ask, instead ask them to engage how you wish them to.  For example, on Facebook you could use the reactions as a polling system – e.g. happy face for agree, angry face for disagree!  Or you could add a photo and ask people to suggest a caption for it.  Or ask them to fill in the blank – “The best thing about today was_____”.  People like to complete sentences!  Ask them to comment below, or to click that like button, or to tag a friend.  Whatever the action is, give them a call to action to take that action and they are far more likely to do it!

3. Give Them The Content They Want

People are more likely to engage with your content if they are interested in it or if it is of value to them.  Make sure you understand your target audience inside out and post content that will be of interest to them.  They are more likely to click, watch, like or respond if it’s the right content for them.

4. Look At Your Stats

How do you know what they want?  They are telling you!  If you get low levels of engagement on a post, chances are you haven’t hit the right note with it.  If you get high levels of engagement, then it’s resonating with your audience.  Make note of what is working and what isn’t and stick with what is!

5. Try Something New

One thing that really helps boosting engagement is doing something different.  If you’ve never gone live, give it a go.  Never posted a video, record one today.  Never shared a selfie, go ahead!  Success happens outside of your comfort zone.  So, head there and see that engagement go up!

Let me know how you get on and what type of content gives you the best engagement!  And, don’t forget, if you struggle with creating content, I’m running a LIVE online course from Tuesday 11th July that will help you create social media content that sells.  CLICK HERE FOR ALL THE DETAILS!

Stop The BORE!

I’ve been noticing a few posts from people on social media recently about how it is boring them.  Of course, they are still there, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to post that they are being bored.  But boredom is certainly becoming a big impact of the volume of social media use.  And businesses are not immune from the bore-factor!

Boring our audience isn’t going to win us any new business.  It’s not going to help grow our following and build engagement.  Instead it’s going to switch people off, our reach will go down and it’s unlikely we’ll meet our aims on social media.

So, how do we avoid boring our audience on social media?

Stop The BORE!

  1. Know your audience

Very simply, if you don’t know who your audience is, how do you know what content to give them?  Knowing your audience through and through is so important.  You need to know as much about them as possible.  Saying ‘our audience is SMEs’ isn’t good enough!  Who within those SMEs are you trying to target?  The MD?  HR?  Marketing?  You need to think about the people you are speaking to.  Then understand them.  What motivates them?  Challenges them?  Worries them?  Makes them happy?  Makes them laugh?

2. Give them what they want

This is something I’ve touched on in many blog posts before, but is such an important point.  All too often as businesses, we focus on what we want to tell people and forget what they might want to see.  Understanding your audience means you will start to understand they type of content they are interested in.  So, give them that content!

3. Let them tell you what they want

One of the easiest ways of understanding what your audience wants is seeing what they engage with.  Most social media platforms give you free analytics about your social media content, showing you the engagement you achieved for each post.  Use this to guide your future content.  Posts with high engagement are likely to be those that work best for your audience, while those with low engagement should be ditched.

4. Pay attention to what works for others

If you are seeing posts from businesses on social media that have received high levels of engagement, think about what has made that post successful.  Is the type of media they’ve used?  Did they use humour?  Did the topic of the post resonate with the audience?  Really pay attention to what works in general on social media and see how you can apply it to your business.

5. Use different forms of media

There are so many media options now when it comes to your social media content – images, GIFs, video, live, links…so many options.  And yet, most businesses still stick to the safe forms of media and some times don’t use any at all.  Increase your media collateral.  Film videos, take images, create GIFs and GO LIVE!

If you are stuck with how to engage your audience and give them the right content for them, you might be interested in my LIVE online course – Creating Social Media Content That Sells.  You can find all the details of the course by CLICKING HERE.

The 7 Questions You Need To Ask About Your Content

Content is so important on social media.  In fact, it has never been more important.  With the volume of use of social media ever increasing, users have more and more content to absorb.  As such, we are become master scrollers.  We can quickly scroll through content, stopping on posts that we think will be most relevant to us.

Plus, if your content isn’t hitting the spot with your audience, you are likely to see a decline in reach, with your content reaching fewer and fewer people.  Making it even more important to get it right.

So, what do you need to be thinking about when it comes to content?

The 7 Questions You Need To Ask About Your Content

  1. What Do Our Audience Want?

All too often as businesses, we focus our content on what we want to tell people.  If we instead focus on what they want from us, we will have far more success with our content.  If you don’t know what your audience wants, ask them!  Run a survey and email it to your current customers.  And use your social media insights to see what gets the highest reach and engagement.

2. How Can We Create Unique Imagery?

Imagery is such an important part of your social media content.  It helps your posts stand out, and draws the eye (stopping the scroll past!).  Your own images will always work better than stock imagery.  It’s worth getting a photography to spend a few hours in your business, getting as many relevant shots as possible for you to use on social media.

3. What Video Content Can We Create?

It takes a lot longer to create video content than simply creating a written post.  But it is very much worth it.  You’ll get higher reach, and a lot of users will prefer to watch video content instead of reading an article.  If you haven’t got any specialist recording equipment, simply invest in a tripod to mount your phone.  If you use your phone landscape, no one will know it is a phone production!

4. What Could We Go Live With?

Live video content will get an even greater reach!  Viewers love live content and, on both Facebook and Twitter, it remains on your feed as a video.  Live can be scary.  Which is why most businesses won’t do it.  Which is why you should!

5. Are We Posting Often Enough?

Ducking in and out of social media won’t get you much success.  Instead, you should post regularly and preferably daily (and multiple times a day when it comes to Twitter.)

6. Are We Encouraging Engagement?

Engagement is so important for building relationships with your audience, and also increasing the reach of your content.  Some forms of content don’t encourage any engagement, such as statements.  Ask more questions, post more videos (a watch counts as engagement), and ask them to comment.  Then respond to those who comment!

7. Are We Selling Too Much?

It’s tempting to focus on selling our products on social media.  But users aren’t there to be sold to.  You are more likely to increase sales via social media if you sell less!  Try to aim for an 80/20 split.  80% of your posts should be relevant, valuable and entertaining content for your audience, while the other 20% can focus on the products and services that you sell.

Content isn’t the easiest to get right.  But when you do, that’s when your social media success really does soar.

I am running a LIVE online course in July, completely focused on your content.  The course will take place over three separate sessions, and give you all the tools and techniques you need to get your content right, and make sure that it converts to sales too!  FOR MORE DETAILS AND TO BOOK YOUR PLACE, CLICK HERE!

 

Seasonal Social Media

Of course, social media is for life, not just for Christmas, or Halloween, or Valentine’s Day, or…well, you get the gist!  But the different ‘seasons’ or ‘holidays’ or whatever you want to call them, do offer a good opportunity for a bit of fun and fresh content on social media.

Seasonal Social Media

Content is one of the biggest issues businesses face when it comes to social media.  How are we going to create engaging content multiple times a day?  Yet often businesses overlook that the world is providing them with content opportunities that they are not grasping.

As I write this, it’s Halloween.  A great opportunity for brands to have a play with their content.  To be ‘scary’!  I liked this post from Innocent on Facebook (you can see their Facebook page here!).

And, I always love Starbucks approach to changing their Facebook header image to reflect the seasons.  This feels very autumnal and definitely makes me fancy a comforting warm drink!

So, how can you make the most of the seasons, even if your business isn’t seasonal?

  1. Change your imagery

Change your imagery in your social media profiles to reflect the season or holiday.  Get shots taken for each main time of the year.  Have designs put together.  Or do it yourself using tools like Canva.

2. Create a content schedule

Plan in advance for the seasons by putting together an annual content schedule.  Highlight the main seasonal times and then think about the content you could put together for that season/holiday.

3. Be creative

It doesn’t matter that your business is unaffected by Christmas, or that you don’t make more sales at Valentines.  Be creative in how you could tie your business offering in.  Share images of your staff dressed up.  Or share a holiday related offer!

4. Have fun

Social media does have a habit of being a dull place to be when it comes to business use.  It can be hard to be ‘fun’ all the time.  So, holidays are your opportunity to have a bit of fun.  To let your corporate hair down.  And to get involved in the same fun that everyone else is having!

So, make a plan for future holidays.  Christmas is rapidly approaching.  How are you going to capitalise on it on social media?  Oh, and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!!

 

 

 

 

It’s All Got A Bit Boring

I don’t know if it’s just me, but do you ever feel like things have got a bit boring on social media?  Everyone’s saying the same kind of things, taking the exact same approach, telling us constantly about their business, and really just lacking any kind of personality.

It's All Got A Bit Boring

The thing is, if you get a bit bored by social media, then it’s likely your audience is too.  That offers a really great opportunity for you to STAND OUT by being different!  Bu breaking the boredom mould.  Oh, but that’s not very professional is it?  I think one of the big issues with social media is how ‘professional’ businesses think they need to be.  Professionalism isn’t really going to attract anyone to want to follow you on social media, let alone buy from you as a result of your social media activity.

What I’m not saying here is to be unprofessional.  Of course, you still have your reputation to uphold.  I get that.  What I cam saying is, think a little differently.  Do things in ways you haven’t before.  Share more images of you and your staff.  Share videos!  Videos stand out an awful lot and they get lots of views too!  Share knowledge.  Share funnies.  And look at what all your competitors are doing on social media and have a really good think about how you could be completely different.

The more we bore people, the more they switch off.  The more we entertain them, the easier it is to build the relationship!  So, let’s challenge ourselves to be less boring on social media, and to have more fun with it too!!

Engaging People With Your Content [VIDEO]

I hosted a webinar this week, and thought I’d share a snippet of the recording. The webinar was about creating engaging content, and this step focuses on the engagement side and how to encourage response from your content, and why that is so important!