My dad can be best described as ‘old school’. He’s not the most technology-savvy individual. He has been known to once or twice ‘lose the interweb’ – by minimizing a page – and scares himself with an accidental selfie on a regular basis. However, his most memorable digital blunder happened when I had just started as an intern at g2m Solutions. I had just published my first blog post and my dad, being the proud poppa that he is, wanted to help me out.
“Sure dad, it would be great if you could share it!”
“Not a problem chuck, will do it straight away.”
What a sweetheart.
At dinner that night dad was excited to tell me about how successful his ‘sharing’ had been.
“Katie, the lads in the office loved your blog.”
“Oh really, that’s great! Did they see it on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn?”
“Huh? They just looked at the one I printed out and shared with them.”
Clearly my dad has a very different definition of sharing. To me, it means spreading content to the far reaches of the web via social media platforms. To dad it means printing out copies for his mates and perhaps sticking up one on the fridge.
After working on social everyday as an intern, I find navigating the whole realm of social media a piece of cake, but it can take a fair bit of time to get your head around it, particularly when you are constantly playing catch-up with new trends. But as a marketing professional, you need to always keep your fingers on the pulse and tackle social media head on – otherwise the interns will get ahead of you!
To keep you from embarrassing yourself in front of the interns and junior staff, I have collated a little cheat sheet to get you through the next social media conversation like a pro.
- Have a practice run
Social media can seem daunting to an outsider, so have a sneak peek by setting up your own personal social channels. Take this time to explore the platforms’ tools and features and get familiar with posting, following, communicating and sharing (as this will be what you do most frequently as a business on social media). Whilst doing this, take the time to establish what you do and don’t like on the platform – taking note particularly of the things that irritate you and that could potentially irritate your buyer persona.
- Spy on your competitors
Now that you are familiar with the social landscape, it is time to eye up what your fellow industry members are doing. Now would be a great time to make a list of accounts that inspire you – ones that post great content, have the right tone, or are considered ‘influencers’ in the field. While you are at it, make a note of your competitors and their social accounts, mainly to keep an eye on them, but also to make sure that none of your staff quote them in social posts!
- Stay alert and know your tools
You should always be checking your social notifications, but it can be a bit of an admin nightmare to scan across every platform. Fortunately, there are lots of tools to keep you in the know. Two pieces of software you should be aware of and mention in front of your interns are:
- Hubspot: A cracking piece of software that will tend to all of your Inbound Marketing woes, helping you highlight your competitors, communicate with your fans and will even flag up a lead for you so you are ready to charm them into becoming a customer
- Hootsuite: A platform that lets you store, stalk, chat and schedule posts from multiple accounts. It also has a handy column-like design so you can see and do everything from one screen.
With regards to sourcing content for your social media posts, one easy (and free) way to hunt down the latest industry news is to sign up for Google alerts. You can decide when you want to be emailed content that matches your request. For example, if you signed up for an alert for the tag ‘Inbound Marketing’ then Google will cleverly whip up that week’s best collection of Inbound Marketing news – perhaps with this post included!
- Know what to post
By now, you’ve probably noticed the different tones across different platforms. As a general rule, Facebook is extremely relaxed and chatty and a great way to connect with your leads, Twitter is to the point and news-based, and LinkedIn is a corporate playground where content needs to be industry-based and valuable to professionals.
Obviously, you need to stay true to your company’s branding, but adapting your voice slightly for each platform will make you seem socially savvy as well as help you drive up more leads.
- Stay trendy
When it comes to social, don’t be afraid to jump on the bandwagon. You should see social media as a giant global conversation. So, if a lot of people are talking about one issue and it is trending online, get involved! Tweet about the topic and make sure you include the trending hashtag (read more on hashtags and why you need them here) to place your copy amongst the conversation. Your audience will easily see that you are active and involved in current trends and topics and you may even capture a new lead or two.
So there you have it – five simple tricks that will help you master the next social media conversation with your know-it-all interns! If you are still unsure about how the whole social thing works, don’t worry, just have a flick through this free eBook to fully understand exactly what we are on about.
Go forth and trend my friend!Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community