Business development · 14 February 2017

Facebook to Snapchat: Grow your online community with the right social tools

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Instagram and Snapchat are among those social platforms increasingly used by business

Here, GoDaddy’s VP for EMEA, Stefano Maruzzi, tells readers how to stay on top of social strategies and grow a business’s online community.

With user engagement increasing on an increasingly wide variety of social platforms, paying attention to social media should be compulsory for any modern business.

It seems like only yesterday when Facebook burst onto the scene as a startup and shook up the world of online communication.

As the social network has grown in prominence over the last decade, many additional social media platforms have sprung into life, bringing us to a world today, with an online community of two billion people use social media.

Personal use cases range from posting status updates on Facebook to sharing photos of meals on Instagram, job hunting on LinkedIn and even calling out customer service experiences on Twitter.

Research from PwC has revealed that 45 per cent of digital buyers worldwide say that reading reviews, comments and feedback on social media influences their digital shopping behaviour.

And with the influence of social media only going to continue increasing, it’s imperative that your business is able to take control and steer the conversation.

Below we outline best practice tips that can help increase your engagement rates:

Focus on the right platforms for your business

There are many platforms on the market today for you to build your website, and to engage your customers on social media, both helping to strengthen your online presence.

For a small business owner, creating and maintaining high-quality accounts and pages for every chosen social network can be a challenge. Therefore, you need to focus your time on the platforms that are going deliver the most return on investment for your business or your idea.

For most businesses, Facebook and Twitter will be a priority, as they are two of the most prominent social media networking sites on the market. It’s definitely worth utilising at least one other platform – but how do you pick from the rest?

A good starting point is to investigate the demographics of different social media networks. This will help you determine which platforms your potential customers are using. It’s also worth looking at how other successful businesses and entrepreneurs are using social media.

Take Joe Wicks (aka ‘The Body Coach’) who is using social media to build a global empire. He started off on Twitter before jumping to Instagram in 2014 and then moving across to Snapchat, which is his most successful platform.

A breakdown of the demographics of each platform used by Wicks show that the audience varies drastically:

Twitter — 37 per cent of users are 18 — 29 years-old

Instagram — 53 per cent of users are 18 — 29 years-old

Snapchat — 71 per cent of users are 25 years-old or under

Keep posts short and sweet

In a world where users are constantly bombarded with information, long-winded social media posts often generate low engagement levels. Rule one is to keep your posts clear and concise. Tweets that are 100 characters or less generate engagement rates that are 17 per cent higher on average.

On Facebook, posts with 40 characters or fewer receive 86 per cent more engagement compared to longer ones. Strong visuals are hugely important when it comes to creating a consistent, high-quality perception of your brand online.

Be personable

Being successful on social media requires hard work, dedication and adaptability. But this doesn’t mean that you have to be boring. Once you’ve established who your target audience is, you can work on sourcing relevant content. Don’t be afraid to adopt a light-hearted approach with customers during interactions, when the moment arises.

You don’t have to have a £1m pound marketing department to make content that is relatable and that could have the potential to go viral. Take the “Chewbacca Mom” Facebook Live video as a refreshing example.

When Candace Spayne purchased Star Wars toy masks for her children, she filmed a quick Facebook video of herself trying on the mask and laughing hysterically. With 165m views, the video is the most viewed piece of Facebook Live content ever, comfortably outperforming some of the biggest brands, such as CNN and Buzzfeed.

Add value to your followers’ daily lives

For every piece of content that you post, you need to ask yourself whether you’re adding value to your audience. Perhaps you can teach them a new skill, provide motivation or review a relevant product or service.

Continuously spamming your followers with promotional offers and nothing else will not work. You need to balance the type of content you’re pushing out and curated content is your friend.

When done properly, curation helps to ease the pressure of creating original content and can even help establish your business as an expert in your field. Below are three approaches you can choose from to help get started.

The 4-1-1 rule – (4 x curated, 1 x original and 1 x promotional)

Rule of thirds – (1 x curated, 1 x original and 1 x promotional)

Golden ratio – (6 x curated, 3 x original and 1 x promotional)

Post, measure and adapt

The main purpose of posting content to social media is to drive people to your website, increase sales and build loyalty amongst your customer base.

It’s important to measure key metrics so that you can see which posts are generating the most referrals. At the highest level you can measure the change in the number of followers before diving deep into core metrics such as engagement, shares, click-throughs and call-to-actions.

Monitoring your analytics can take the guess work out of what is working on social media and helps you to make data-driven decisions.

You may find that instructional videos provide high engagement rates compared to your blog posts or that your promotional material needs to be rejigged because it’s not performing as well.

Review your content performance based on content type, content objective and overall engagement, and don’t forget to make a distinction between organic and paid performance.

Once you understand a little bit about how your content is performing, set yourself some Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to meet your social brand marketing objectives and keep tweaking you content to deliver on these.

All of the biggest social media networks are always rolling out updates, so it’s important to make sure you’re aware of any new features that you can leverage to provide a better experience for your customers.

Social media gives you the opportunity for a deeper engagement with your online community of customers, now is the time to get started.  Following these tips as you get started can help you design a solid social media plan for your business that will support your marketing and growth efforts.

From websites to social media – Tips to help build your online presence

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

At the beginning of his professional career, Stefano Maruzzi made an impact by leveraging his software engineering skills to launch Microsoft University in Italy, while writing fifteen books which have been translated into multiple languages. He then served as MSN Italy country manager at Microsoft, president at Condé Nast Digital International, and Google Italy country director. Maruzzi is currently GoDaddy’s VP EMEA in London, UK, heading the regional team to empower small business owners to build their brand and grow online.

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