Get your voice heard on social media

I recently attended a conference in London on the future of social media, which featured a stellar line-up of guest speakers from some of the UK’s biggest brands.

AndyNeildBy Andy Neild, PR director, Media Village.

Social media gurus from ASDA, Virgin, Sky TV, Harper Collins, Comic Relief, Argos and Dell, to name just a few, spoke candidly about their efforts to engage with customers through channels such as Facebook and twitter.

Some of the big hitters are investing eye-watering sums on social media campaigns in a bid to build brand awareness and customer loyalty.

But worry not - you don’t have to spend vast sums of money to get your voice heard. With a bit of careful planning and some killer content, you can achieve some pretty spectacular results. Here are seven key points from the conference which may help you formulate a social media strategy.

  1. Time is everything in the world of social media. Take the time to work out who your target audience is, and what kind of things they are interested in. A successful social media strategy delivers the right content, to the right people, at the right time.
  2. Remember that content is king. Develop engaging content that is unique and cuts through. If you simply regurgitate what others are saying and doing, you won’t stand out.
  3. If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Social media is about experimentation and analysis. Some things will work better than others so always measure and analyse what you do, identify what works best, and then do more of it.
  4. Think video. Generally speaking, video rich content achieves much better engagement levels than words and pictures but keep your films short and snappy. The intro is crucial too. If your video hasn’t grabbed the audience’s attention within the first three seconds then you’ve already lost them.
  5. Don’t bury your head in the sand. If someone is being negative about your brand then don’t ignore them – embrace them. Invite them in for a chat so you can address any issues they might have directly.
  6. Remember that social media is a two-way conversation. Don’t see it as a tool to sell to people. It’s all about engaging with people, listening to what they want, and adding value where you can. It’s called ‘social’ media for a reason!
  7. Be open to new possibilities. Most businesses now use Facebook and twitter but the bigger brands are already looking for the next big thing. Keep an eye on emerging channels such as Periscope and Whatsapp over the next few months and start to think how you might be able to incorporate them into your social media strategy. That way, you’ll stay ahead of the game.