We hear it all the time from clients: “Social media is all the rage,” and “so-and-so brand is on Instagram, so we should be too.”
While it is great to stay in the know on the latest platforms, what’s most important is to maintain a clear vision for your brand and how you want to communicate that to the public. Because just like all other forms of media, social media is exactly that—media.
So, if you’re certain that you want social media as part of your brand’s PR campaign, the first thing you should consider is which outlets make sense for your business?
Since this question almost always inevitably arises when discussing a client’s PR and marketing efforts, let’s delve a little more deeply into three popularly used social media outlets.
Who is it For? Brands that want to gain and maintain followers on a more personal level.
Why? Facebook is the most widely used form of social media, originally created to keep friends connected. For that reason, Facebook allows your business to become a more personal brand, exposing your following to a more intimate experience. Businesses can give followers a feeling of exclusivity because they’re the first to hear about the latest client news, office happenings, events, etc. Your audience learns things about your business the same way they do their own friends—from your news feed.
What works best? Posting 1-2 times daily allows you to share a good amount of content with followers without overloading them with too much information. From Red Fan’s experience, posts that include news articles, videos and photos get more attention. Try incorporating these into your business’s posts and see what kind of reaction you get.
Who is it for? Businesses dependent on delivering frequent, time-sensitive information like news outlets.
Why? Twitter offers something that no other social media outlet does: an extensive, live news feed. Thanks to this feed, it’s more acceptable to post multiple times throughout day.
Also, with Twitter you are expected to deliver your message in 140 characters, so posts needs to be concise and attention grabbing. Remember, you’ve got plenty of news to compete with thanks to the Twitter feed.
What works best? Tweeting no more than 4 to 5 times a day is most effective, and remember to use #hashtags and @mentions–when relevant–as often as possible to maximize your exposure and attract new followers.
Who it’s for? Visually-geared businesses that want to provide “in the moment” or “behind the scenes” experiences to followers.
Why? Instagram is an outlet devoted entirely to images, so if your business doesn’t speak to that, Instagram probably isn’t for you.
What works best? You can cut the frequency down to 2 to 3 times per week since its easy-to-use sharing capabilities make posting to other outlets like Facebook and Twitter incredibly easy, increasing your chances of visibility.
No Matter which ones you decide to use…
Don’t dive in without knowing your audience. What makes them tick? Think about your current customers as well as your potential customers. What are their demographic and psychographic characteristics? Once you have the audience understood–think through your goals, the outlets and the content that will truly engage them.
The most important thing is to be selective. Think quality of message over quantity of messages. You don’t want to bombard your audience with the wrong message on the wrong outlet. They’ll just choose not to follow you, the ultimate kiss of social media death. And of course, it’s also important to stay up to date on what’s going on in the news. If not, you may have just missed the latest social media headline in your Twitter feed.
Finally, when social media is done well, it is strategically planned for with designated messaging that serves as an extension of the brand’s PR campaign. Remember to have a plan in place and stick to it.