The new social media ‘rules’ – telling a story that cuts through the noise
The social media rulebook has been rewritten over the last four months, as engagement levels rise, scrolling hours increase and the pandemic leaves a lasting legacy on online usage and habits. But with more content being pushed on social channels that ever more, how do you stand out from the crowd and engage your audience in ways that last?
Our own digital guru Dani Wiggins offers five sage social tips.
In the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, media consumption has soared, with social media engagement up 61 per cent over normal usage rates. If digi-proofing your business and ‘getting social’ was previously at the bottom of the list, it is certainly something to put front and centre, now.
With that in mind, here are some quickfire tips to help you drive engagement and get results.
#1 Be real
At Story, it’s a mantra, but authenticity is key. Social media users are savvy and have a knack of spotting and weeding out thinly veiled marketing posing as news and genuine views.
Recent weeks have seen politicians called out for towing party lines in questionable circumstances and influencers criticised for asking small, sometimes struggling pandemic-hit brands for freebies in exchange for a good review.
What do these posts lack that good social media management possesses by the bucket load? Honesty and authority, backed by integrity and information. That doesn’t mean they can’t be fun – and even tongue-in-cheek – but they need to be empathetic.
A strong social media strategy, set of messages and clear purpose will support better social media authenticity, along with having likeable, knowledgeable speakers to front the channels.
#2 Think ‘in pictures’
Social media is crowded with just a split second to grab scrollers’ attention. The simplest way to stand out from the onslaught of text is to add visual accompaniments to your content.
A simple infographic with one line summarising your post can go a long way. And in the current climate, even ‘real’ home-produced video featuring someone relaying your post’s key points. Expert software isn’t necessary. Keep things simple, cropped to fit your desired social media’s metrics and at a high-resolution.
When appropriate, even attaching a relevant GIF can make your content stand out, show personality, and provoke conversation. What is more, by their non-static nature they are more interactive and attention-grabbing than pictures.
#3 Tag tag tag
Social media is controlled by algorithms – a technique platforms use to order an individual’s feed according to the posts most likely to be relevant to them. The end goal for this is driving user engagement.
But there’s a twist. In order to get your content to land where intended and receive engagement, you firstly need to create the opportunity for engagement to happen.
The easiest way to do this is through tagging. In posts, you need to tag anyone – companies, brands, individuals – included in and relevant to your posts. With luck, and sometimes polite requests – they’ll engage with your content and get the algorithm on your side. This increases the likelihood of it reaching receptive eyes and driving engagement further.
#4 Don’t forget your allies
This works similarly to the principle of tagging but is less scientific. Your friends are your biggest advocates, so use the opportunity to bring stakeholders into your posts and build trust between your organisation and social users.
That might mean collaborating over video and content, aligning posts with their campaigns and including their tag and hashtags, or even requesting guest spots on their channels to improve audience reach, which is mutually-beneficial.
Don’t forget that employees and senior leaders are also your stakeholders – their advocacy is also vital to building online presence and improving reach. Customers can become your social advocates too, with positive reviews and comments forming the basis of retweeted and curated social content.
#5 Don’t panic – have a plan
It can sometimes be tempting to think quantity over quality when it comes to social. Out of sight doesn’t necessarily mean out of mind, and prioritising firing a vast quantity of content doesn’t necessarily reap rewards.
Aim and direction is key – as is getting it right. By making sure the content you post is unique, interesting, and ticks all of the right boxes for algorithms and stakeholders, it will be more successful than a scattergun approach which means content doesn’t land where it was supposed to, or with the right impact.
And finally, planning should make time for investing in understanding platforms, their audiences and the data behind them. By tailoring your content to the platform and audience in a bespoke way, this will reap rewards in the long-run.
Need some advice on how to make the most of social? Get in touch email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.