6 Tips for Social Media for Professional Service Firms
By Mel Stewart
It’s a challenge that many marketers in professional service firms face. You have been charged with the responsibility of managing the company’s social media channels – because “you know you need to be there” – but then what? It gets hard.
Developing content, staying relevant, building your audience, responding to engagement, keeping abreast of the algorithm changes on each platform… it is difficult. Even with all the hype about how wonderful social media marketing is, it is certainly not easy. It takes time, money and commitment to do it well. Not to mention, it is just one part of an organisation’s digital strategy.
To that aim, we have come up with the six social must-dos that will make managing your social workflow and growing your audience a little easier.
1. YOU NEED A STRATEGY
A strategy doesn’t have to be a twenty page document – in fact far from it. A strategy is about putting aside some planning and thinking time to answer a few critical questions to give you purpose and focus on your social marketing efforts. It will give you guidance when you’re struggling to create content, or find something to converse with your audience about. A strategy can be as simple as answering these core questions;
Who is my audience?
This may be different for each social channel.
What is my message?
What themes or topics will I create content around.
What channels can I commit to?
Don’t try and do them all.
What am I trying to achieve on each of these channels?
What will looks like a win for you.
How will I measure my success?
Evaluation is critical.
Don’t forget your social strategy has to be part of a greater digital marketing strategy. Obvious, right?
2. TARGET, TARGET, TARGET… GOT IT?
One of the greatest differences between traditional and digital marketing is the ability to target. Today, if I took an advert out in a regional newspaper, I am buying in to (and paying for) their 120,000 distribution/reach – but really I know, my message is only relevant to 1% of the audience who are my ideal target market.
Digital (and namely social) is different. It’s about saying, I only want my message to reach that 1% and be relevant to them. I don’t want to waste my time, content or money speaking to anyone else.
Did you know, on Facebook, it is possible to target your audience (organically) by location, gender, relationship status, education, interest and age. By organically, I mean for free. If you’re keen to know how, get in touch, we’ll show you.
Remember, the more narrow and targeted your message is, the more relevant it is to your audience, the better engagement you will get.
3. ADS WORK… BUT KEEP THEM SOCIAL
The “pay to play” ad platforms on social channels offer good value for money for most organisations, mostly because of the ability to target. In fact, Facebook’s ad platform is the most powerful marketing platform we’ve ever seen and it continues to be redeveloped, getting stronger and more accurate day by day. But there is a science to good social advertising and we have to respect our audience’s time and attention – and not waste either.
There is a saying I recently heard, “Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them and sometimes it’s an ad”. Ads on social platforms have to be conversational, interesting and attention grabbing. It’s as simple and as complex as that.
Blanket advertising, broadcast messages, and mass appeal content does not work on social. It just doesn’t. And don’t forget your creative is competing in the audience’s social feeds against really powerful content. Be creative and respect the creative.
Ask yourself, how can your ads grab their attention, be relevant and be interesting enough for your audience to be moved to do something, be it, click, like, follow or other.
In my humble opinion, almost every organisation should be looking at social advertising in 2015. In fact you probably should have been thinking about it in 2014. But as they say, the best time to start was a while ago, the second best time is today.
4. OPTIMIZE YOUR IMAGES
Using imagery with your social posts is a great way to increase performance on social channels – in fact 95% of posts should never be done without an image.
You do need to ensure the images you are producing are the right size for the platform you are publishing them on. There’s nothing worse than seeing half an image in your twitter feed – especially ones with text on it – that would suit Facebook platform but not Twiiter. It’s just poor execution and it doesn’t reflect well on the organisation.
Remember, it’s the creative that grabs your audience’s attention first and that makes your message stand out from the competing content in the audience’s feeds. Optimise your images for the specific platform you are publishing to.
5. CREATE RE-OCURRING CONTENT THAT PEOPLE CAN’T WAIT TO GET
You know those few businesses who publish a weekly video, or podcast, or guide and you just can’t wait to see it pop up into your newsfeed? Yes? You need to do that. Explore what content or series of content you can produce on a weekly or fortnightly basis that will add value to your audience.
Not only does this set a promise or expectation for your audience, it also helps you with your content creation workflow. A great example of this content is Gary Vaynerchuk’s #AskGaryVee Show. Check it out here.
6. SOCIALISE YOUR BRAND
Social media at its very heart is about connection and engagement. First and foremost, people are on social to connect to other people. They will connect with brands, they will engage with brands, they will buy from brands – but they want a real connection with your brand.
You need to figure out how to socialise your brand. For some brands, showcasing their people and the ‘behind the scenes’ stories in the business, works. For others putting their clients/customers at the centre of their content and as heroes of their brand works. People find people interesting and real and authentic.
For any marketer using social, engagement is key. You have to learn how to engage, before you can sell. In fact our social selling process of “attract, engage, convert” would see you spend 70% of your time in engagement (on social channels).
Being social also means you won’t just be focused on continually pushing out content. You will be actively listening, responding and engaging with your audience. Remember, social is a two way channel.
To finish off, i’m sure we’d all agree social media is an integral part of a professional service firm’s digital strategy. It has matured and grown to become a legitimate marketing channel in its own right. The marketer’s role is to work out how to leverage this channel to create new business from a highly targeted audience. It can be done.
Let me know how you are going with your social efforts – or what your biggest challenges are – i’d really like to know.
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