Relax, breathe deep, here are five key elements to help your social media strategy connect with more people.
The seas of Social media strategy can be daunting and even murky to navigate through. Doesn't matter if you're a business, an artist or a one off project, sometimes it can feel like you're throwing darts in the dark and hoping one will stick. We have 5 guiding principles that can help shed some light on how you can tell your story to the world.
1. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity
When in doubt, it's safe to assume that you only have 10 seconds of someone's attention with whatever you post. Make those seconds count. As you post, think about the main point you want to make, distill it into one sentence and just say it. What do you want people to know? Simplicity in a message gives more room for people to rally around what you're doing. Each post you should have clear and simple directions. Remember to take your time. If you have a lot of information to give people, you can give it in smaller pieces and separate posts. This will make sure that your audience will get all the information they need and retain it. Simple messages can leave the most lasting impressions.
Example: Saskatchewan-based production agency, Cinescapes Collective presents clear and simple messages in each of their posts. Here are some key elements in this post that make it effective:
They provide a question and immediately give an answer in the same moment. Social media is all about sharing experiences and information. By providing a reason for people to visit their blog, they showcase an IQ in their field that people can glean from.
The post showcases that it's a "comprehensive" resource, drawing more people to click on the link to find out for themselves.
Keeping things to a minimum, all copy (including the blog title) is clear and to the point. Knowing that people are scrolling through, this copy grabs attention and presents the fact that they can explain a potentially complex concept into simple terms. This showcases confidence.
2. Keep your content consistent
Consistency is the defining line between burnout and breakthrough. This is what can make or break any well intentioned social media strategy. Before you post anything, think about what you can realistically do. Social media presence is all about being present and consistent. This shows that you're current, relevant and competitive. When you see a business hasn't tweet since 2009, it doesn't look good.
Think about 3 things before posting anything
1. Do I need a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.? Choose which channels you know you can post on consistently and focus on those. It's better not to have a Twitter account than to have one that you don't post on very much. You can always add a channel later.
2. How much can I realistically post on each channel? We all like the idea of posting every day, but reality is a different thing. It's better to post once a week than posting a ton for the first week and then realizing it's not sustainable. Start with what you know you can do. Like building a muscle, you'll be able to do more as time goes on once you have practice and a rhythm.
3. What tone of voice do I want to have? Having a consistent "voice" can help make your narrative cohesive. It's not like you can't make a joke if you're being serious most of the time, but often when you have a clear tone in your delivery, it helps your audience anticipate and depend on what's coming next. This creates a sense of brand trust from the people you're talking to.
3. Post with potency
When putting something up on the Internet, make it count. Make sure that every piece of content you present is a puzzle piece in your narrative and mission. When posting, ask yourself a few questions like "how does this apply to my mission statement?" and "How does this create a connection with my audience?" If the cat photo you're about to post doesn't feel like it furthers your story, don't post. If it's the perfect one that captures the essence of your narrative, get it out there. It's better to have less content that feels more potent than content being posted just to be posted — Your audience will know this and thank you. Part of what creates burnout with social media is approaching it with the idea of doing as much as possible. Taking cues from keeping content consistent, there's a lot more power in your words when they come across as intentional as you can. So do yourself a favor and don't worry about posting as much as possible, think about posting with potency.
Example: Portland community builders, Story & Heart provide visually compelling content that let's their story drive itself. Here's how this post works for their brand:
Story & Heart works to build an online community of filmmakers and storytellers. This post highlights and showcases one of the artists they work with engages with it.
This content provides content that is unique and original, not presented anywhere else. A behind the scenes look into making a compelling film.
Story & Heart's mission is to educate through communal artistic expression. You get all of these components in their visuals and language in this post without overstating it.
4. Connect like a human, not a robot
People know when they're being sold something, and chances are they're not going to listen to your sales pitch. When you post, it's not about selling your product, you're selling the story behind the product. There are millions of blogs and sites competing for people's attention, but only your story is unique — as long as you express that. This should be something that's second nature, but in building business it's all about connecting with people on a human level. Oftentimes Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all lumped into one strategy, but they're all different and special conversations. Treat all of your posts like a text to a friend. How would you text a friend about something you're excited about? Would it be in the form of a joke? Something super intense and serious? Set the tone as if already in the middle of a conversation with someone. Rule of the thumb: don't post the same things at the same time on all of your channels — your message won't come across in a genuine way.
Example: Music blog Pigeons and Planes is one of the more premiere and current resources for hip hop. Here's how their posts work in getting the news out:
Their sense of humor speaks volumes and stands out from other posts.
Using strong visuals that correspond with their copy creates a strong narrative.
This post feels like a recommendation from a friend whose opinion you trust.
You might not know anything about Drake, but this post makes you want to find out more.
5. Follow through on your promises
This mantra is something that overlaps with all the other mantras. When you make a statement on your social channels, make sure it happens. There's a lot of fluff that comes with making online statements, so making them happen will make you stand out. Whether it comes to contest prizes, the times you post or your vision and message, it's all about keeping people in the loop and giving them opportunities to engage in your process. Projects that build genuine followings and movements are ones that are transparent in nature, it creates connection. And that's ultimately what you want in your social media strategy, right?
Example: Toronto-based photography and video production agency, Roaming Focus created a 365 day photography project, Shooting Humans. They're currently posting one portrait a day on their social channels and it's having amazing results. Here's how:
By following through on their project, it's created a narrative to follow and check in on.
It's created a cohesive narrative and story on all of their social channels, in particularly, their Instagram account (see to the right).
Visual storytelling on social media gives an opportunity for the audience to participate and share with their friends, naturally building a genuine community of followers and collaborators.
By showcasing and following through with passion projects, this highlights a creative edge to potential clients over other agencies by showcasing their love of their work instead of having everything geared toward selling their work.