On #SocialMediaDay it was easy for us to choose our ‘5 Minutes With’ guest.
Emmaline McAndrew heads up Brain Candy Digital and is our go to for social media advice and know how.
So grab a cup of tea and take 5 minutes to hear some fantastic tips that will make a huge difference to your social media presence.
Hi Emmaline. Thank you for your time today. Just starting off can you tell us about some of the changes … What are the main changes you have seen since you have been involved in this sector?
The biggest changes are probably the growth of user base, frequency of use, and the sheer amount of features social platforms have developed. For example, Facebook has grown from a network for students, to be a single outlet for everything we need in our day, such as news, entertainment, and shopping. Instead of switching on the TV or radio to find out what’s happening in the world, we now turn to social media. Need to buy new shoes? Research them AND buy them on social media. Social media is such an integral part of our lives now that it’s usually the first thing people turn to in the morning, and it’s the last thing they interact with at night.
Why do you think it is so powerful?
Because it’s where everybody’s customers are. For the first time, we’re seeing massive customer bases in the same space with their guard down. The major social media platforms have collected so much data on their users that we can now use it to target exactly who we want to reach – although targeting options are changing as more people opt out of advertising.
And please, if possible, can you explain (in layman terms!!) what on earth an algorithm is?!!
You’re not the first to ask me this! Basically, an algorithm determines what content users will be shown as they use a social network. For example, Facebook and Instagram will show you content from people, pages, and groups that you interact with the most, whereas the Twitter algorithm lets you decide if you want to see content from the people you follow that’s been posted in chronological order (everything, newest first), or content that it deems to be popular (selected content, newest first).
I think a lot of small businesses do understand that a presence on social media is so important but can find it a bit of a drain as it can take up quite a bit of time and often you’re not really sure you are getting a return on this time. What would you say to business owners feeling this way at the moment?
As with any marketing or advertising activity, you really need to measure your results. This can be a simple spreadsheet showing how each piece of content performed in terms of reach (how many people saw it), follower count (how many people could have seen it), and whether it led to a sale. You can use a free service such as bit.ly or Google’s UTM builder to create links that will track a user when clicked – this is obviously a priority if you need to prove ROI on an activity or campaign. If your main objective is to simply build awareness of your business or brand, then you’ll want to monitor your reach and engagement, which is easily done through a social network’s analytics dashboard.
Facebook, is a really good example I think of this. It feels like no one really sees your posts unless you have a huge following. Do you have any tips for Facebook users?
- Decide on your objectives
- Build up your audience using a mix of organic (free) and paid content
- Measure which content works the best and fine-tune it
- Don’t be too ‘salesy’. Social media is an informal space where people hang out to have fun and be entertained; they don’t want to be bombarded with advertising! Find interesting and unique ways to talk about your product or service and engage with your target audience – this is not always on your business page, it could be by helping someone out with a question in a Facebook group.
From your experience, what would you say are the most common mistakes companies make with social media?
The top one has to be only talking about their business. The quickest way to get ignored on social media is by constantly posting sales content. As I said earlier, people will just switch off and even block you. For business who aren’t sure what to post, think about what you would want to engage with. For example, if you sell pet products, what are the benefits of using your dog collars compared to others in the market? What are the problems faced by pet owners that your products can fix? Obviously, these are just basic examples, there so much more scope once you’ve thought about what your goals for social media marketing are.
What would your 3 top tips be for using social media as a business or organization?
- Measure – you really need to check what’s working and what’s not. Otherwise, everything is just a shot in the dark
- Proof your content – the amount of typos and formatting issues I see is almost unbearable! Some people switch off if it looks like you couldn’t be bothered to spell check your post
- Don’t expect great results straight away – it takes time to build up an audience
Thanks so much Emmaline, such useful advice and reminders for us.
If you would like more information or advice about social media marketing drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit braincandydigital.co.uk