Around the world, 15.5 new users join a social media platform every second, and the average user spends about 2 hours and 25 minutes a day on various platforms. With that kind of usage, it’s no wonder brands see social as an imperative part of their marketing strategy. But with new trends, platform features, and even new social channels coming online all the time, it’s harder than ever to stay on top of it all. Luckily, there are a few mainstays that help us navigate the complex world of social. Focusing on these basics will make the rest of the journey much more manageable, or—dare we say it—fun.
First things first
The objective: When running a social campaign—or any campaign for that matter—it’s critical to first determine the goal. What do you want to achieve and why do you want to achieve it? From building awareness to nurturing consideration or even action, be very clear about your intentions. They’ll directly impact ideation, channel selection, your copy, and just about everything else, including how people will react to it.
The Audience: Similarly, the audience is central to everything you do. There’s no way you can be part of your audience’s journey if you don’t know who they are, and there’s even less of a chance you can be helpful if you don’t know how you can help. Show your audience that you understand and appreciate who they are, from basic demographics to their views, values and interests.
Tone of voice: It’s critical to strike the right tone of voice so your content is relatable. Failing to do so risks disconnect with your audience and might even aggravate people. Your content should be authentic and conversational, so your audience feels that they are speaking to a real person and be more willing to interact with you. After all, would you engage with robotic, corporate-toned content?
Measure: Setting up the right measurement metrics is essential to your campaigns. Not only is it important to track your success, but it’ll also help you uncover any areas of improvement and opportunities. To set yourself up for success, ensure your metrics ladder up to your goals and remember to monitor from the start so you can take learnings and optimize.
Targeting: Nowadays, reaching audiences organically can be challenging so paid media is generally the most effective way to do so. Whether your goal is to reach existing followers or engage with new ones, be sure to choose the channel, format and targeting strategy that speaks to your objectives. When it comes to ad formats and targeting options on any channel, be sure to keep your audience in mind from the get-go, not as an after-thought.
Not all channels are the same
Social media offers remarkable benefits, but it can be challenging to stay on top of the latest features and trends. Here are some best practices to help you make the most of each channel:
Top tips for LinkedIn
Empower your staff: Enable your LinkedIn page admin to notify employees when an update has been posted, facilitating them to comment on or share the post.
Borrow and repurpose: Constantly creating new content can get draining. One way to get around it is to ‘borrow’ materials from the global team or other markets, then localise it. (Pro tip: Copyright laws can get messy across borders so always check in with the asset owners.) Alternatively, consider sharing the other team’s post and add your own caption to it.
The 4x1x1 rule: This is more a general rule of thumb. For every post that directly promotes your company, product or service, you should repost four pieces of relevant content about others or written by others. This rule helps you avoid coming across as too salesy and putting off audiences.
Top tips for YouTube
Captions: Up to 85% of viewers on social-media platforms watch videos with the sound off, so captions are crucial. They also help search engines pinpoint your video content, making it more searchable. (Pro tip: Caption files also help search engines pinpoint your video content, making it more searchable.)
Thumbnails and headlines: Thumbnails are the first thing people see, and top-performing videos always have thumbnails that stand out. Build anticipation throughout by being creative with your use of headlines and images, such as by showing the ‘start’ and ‘end’ results in a before-and-after video thumbnail.
Timestamps: Viewers will bounce, skip or navigate away from your video to get to the content that they are looking for, so provide timestamps to guide them. The bonus is timestamps also help improve video SEO on YouTube and Google.
Top tips for WeChat
Use of visuals: Like users on any other social platform, WeChat users like to share posts that are useful, interesting and emotionally touching, so keep visual assets rich and appealing.
Account verification: Be sure to get your account verified so followers can trust that they are receiving communication from a genuine source. Lots of brands skip this step, then wonder why engagement never grows.
Copy: With attention spans shorter than ever, paragraphs should be short and direct—ideally between 600-1200 Chinese characters with one to two graphics per post. Highlighted text and emojis can also help direct attention and make key information stand out.
There are a multitude of best practices for social, but these are the ones our clients have found most helpful.
Victoria Perera is senior digital consultant at Archetype. She recently taught a Campaign Crash Course on how to develop a content strategy.