How to Build Your Presence on Digital Platforms
At Social Experiment, we believe starting out on social media is a lot like bungee jumping. As you stand on the ledge, looking down, leaving your safe perch can be quite intimidating, but when you make the decision to jump and begin your freefall, your fear gives way to exhilaration. Staring a Facebook page with only 7 likes (all of whom are your friends and family) is nerve racking! But we all have to start somewhere. so in the beginning, use the following tips to help you grow more quickly.
Putting together a plan is essential. Not having a plan is like starting out on a journey with no map and no destination. Without that map, and a sense of where you are going, how would you ever know where you want to end up?
The first decision you should make is what your online brand will be. Building that online persona gives your followers a sense of what you stand for, what your business stands for and elevates your credibility. We all like to do business with brands that we trust, so building your brand allows you to gain that trust and will lead to more prospects, customers and profits.
Second, define your online business goals. These goals are essential to measuring your return on investment, which is both the dollars and time you spend on social media efforts.
When we are setting up one of our clients with a social media profile, we spend a fair amount of time finding out who their target audience is and what type of information that audience would want to receive from the brand. Those answers will come from the company’s consumers, or if it is a new company we can infer the types of information that their audience may respond well to in conjunction with what the brand offers. The plan can then be tweaked as you get real world information from consumer interactions. You can also assess the social activities of your target audience so you know what their interests are and what information would be valuable to them.
This plan should detail your business objectives and spell out how your digital activities fit into those objectives. These objectives will also factor into what you will share with your followers and how you will engage them.
Creating a written schedule that defines which digital platforms you will use, what you will post, and who will be in charge of this effort is a fundamental element in your social media plan. Social updates can be scheduled ahead of time and posted even when you are not there, but scheduled posts such as these should be supplemented with real time posts and your channels should be monitored consistently. Offering excellent customer service to your followers when they are engaging with you is of utmost importance in keeping your audience once you get their attention.
In the beginning, the schedule can be simple and should include dates, themes and channels. We use Excel or Google Sheets to produce our schedules. As you get more comfortable, you can add more subject lines and include other helpful information. Analytic numbers can also be added to the schedule in order to easily see how each post is tracking which aids us in refining our posts to our audience’s preferences.
We suggest you start with one or two platforms and then add more as your following increases. Twitter is by far the easiest platform to begin with for one simple reason; you can engage with your targeted audience simply by getting involved in conversations that are within your industry. Those conversations become followers on Twitter and can turn into an audience on other platforms as well.
Customize your social media pages consistently across your platforms. Make sure they are professional looking, and use high quality photos or graphics. Remember that as your audience is flipping through their platforms, a great visual will catch their attention much more quickly than text. Also be careful to follow etiquette. You may think that Kmart’s ‘Ship My Pants’ viral video is brilliant, but it may not be the type of content that your audience would appreciate. Be careful to keep your followers and their tendencies top of mind when creating content.
Finally, monitoring your activities will show you exactly what is resonating with your current audience and what is bringing you new followers. Your analytics should be monitored on a weekly basis to make sure you are offering your audience the type of posts they find engaging.