Earlier in the month, we remained closed to clients but spent the week working on our company goals and the business. When you’re so busy week to week with clients, it’s often your own business that doesn’t get the attention, so we really were keen to spend the time chatting, sharing ideas, brainstorming and making sure everything is in place for a great 2022.
During one of our brainstorming sessions, we were putting down a list of social media top tips. The ideas were mainly for Reels on Instagram, but the discussion soon led into whether we should use TikTok, should we branch into Clubhouse, or use Spaces on Twitter.
It did get me thinking – we are, as a company, quite used to the same platforms we’ve always used: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. We definitely embrace any new updates and changes, and make sure we make full use of the functionality. However, when new platforms come about, how do you decide if you should spread some more energy into them?
For example, we use the four platforms above on a regular basis, and we also blog. That’s a lot of work for a small business, but given our field of expertise we want to lead by example, and be present online.
A few people have said to me over the past 12 months how we should definitely get onto the other platforms. We’re looking at TikTok, Clubhouse, Reddit – and there are surely more. How do you choose which platform to use then? While also recognising the fact that there are only a certain amount of hours in the day, and you do need to actually work to bring money in to pay the bills.
My trail of thought then went onto analytics (naturally). However how much can you trust those? I know that a lot of our enquiries for the business come via Facebook and word of mouth. Yet our analytics would suggest we do very well on Instagram and Twitter. Of course, we know to take analytics with a pinch of salt, they don’t give you the full picture – but that makes it harder for me to decide if we do put more time into a new platform or not, and do we do that in addition to the efforts we already have in place.
The next thought then is the target audience – for us it’s a fairly wide audience. We target small businesses and organisations, and staff of those businesses and organisations who may be interested in websites, WordPress training, social media and digital marketing. It’s quite broad, which is why typically, we’ve felt the 4 platforms we currently use work well. For example on LinkedIn we focus on business to business posting, perhaps on Twitter it’s more focussed towards organisations than small businesses. Each platform has its own merits, and it’s own strategy from us.
Of course, I suspect the answer is: we won’t know until we try, which is very true. Do we put in some extra time for trialling a new platform to see how it works for us, while trying to repurpose content?
What would you do?
Keeping up with posting on your social media platforms is no mean feat. Plus, if you’re on a few platforms it can become a bit of a juggle with everything else you need to do.
Over the years I’ve used a range of different ‘techniques’ to try and find one that works. I’m not entirely sure there is one, but all you can do is just find a way that works for you and your business or day to day activities. I’ve tried allocating an hour a day to doing it on the day, or putting aside a day a week to schedule in advance. Sometimes I’ve managed a month in advance, other times I hit a huge wall.
Here’s what I currently do and I thought it might be useful to share!
- Jot down the different types of content I can share/create for a month. For example, sharing articles, sharing blogs, creating video content, Canva templates, text only.
- Then, I think about the topics I want to share over the next month. For example, if we’re in January then I’d probably want to post more about website design as people may be looking for a new website at the start of the year. From this topic, what kind of posts can I make? Ones showcasing previous work, answering questions, giving advice, showing off our experience, some behind the scences.
- Then I attach those topics/post ideas, with the content types.
- I’m quite a visual person, so I would then jot down these post ideas in a calendar form so I can see when they are going out, and making sure that the content is diverse and not too repetative.
One thing I have learned over the years is that when you do start to think of ideas, more ideas generally come along. Apparently it’s a method called ‘free writing’, where you basically let your brain go off on its own direction but thinking about a particular topic. If you did try this, you might find you have more content than you need for one month. Some people plan their content well in advance – just leave room for things happening organically!
I’ve been reading a lot of the predicted social media trends for next year. Some are the same as ever, some are perhaps not relevant to my clients or target audience so, I’ve listed below some of the ones I feel we should be aware of and bear in mind.
Across all of the sites I’ve read, TikTok becoming a dominant platform is the top listed trend. It is already moving slowly up the tables, but the predictions are that it will soon dominate, especially as we continue to move towards short-form video content. Will you be adding TikTok to your digital marketing strategy?
Social ‘Commerce’ will continue to grow
We’ve already seen a bit of a shift to this with Instagram and Facebook Shops of course, but the prediction is that more and more, customers will expect to be able to purchase direct off social media platforms (and essentially, not have to go to your online shop to purchase). My recommendation is, if you are using Shops online already, continue to put your energy into that, and make sure you measure your success.
I can’t really write a post about next years trends without mentioning video. It comes up every year, but every year it comes up again. Is 2022 the year we really push into video much more? It’s been a growing form of media over the past few years, and with that we’ve learned what customers consume. Short form, personable videos. Videos help us create better connections and relationships with our audience, and once again, is being pushed for 2022.
Social Media Goals
Another predication for 2022 is that many businesses and organisations will list “reaching new audiences” as a primary reason for being on social media. And we quite agree! Social media has so much potential for us to do this, both organically and via paid ads.
Social Media Specific Jobs
With the increase in social media for reaching new customers, for connecting with audiences, for customer service – we will see a huge increase in social media marketing specific jobs. From what I’ve seen over 2021, there are already specific jobs in this field, and it’s basically just proving how important social media is for any business.
Businesses will forget the basics
This was an interesting read actually, because we’ve come across a few businesses over the past year who we’ve recommended need to get the basics right before jumping ahead. Basics including posting organically, making use of the features available and knowing your target audience. Some predictions for next year suggest this is a growing ‘trend’, but that we should always remember the basics.
Audio will grow
Audio social media really took off in 2021 with Clubhouse, and Twitter introduced Spaces too. Predictions are that Twitter Spaces will continue to grow, and a shift to audio social media within certain sectors will happen. Don’t forget podcasting too!
I’ve been working with a range of new clients over the summer, and also preparing my upcoming social media course for Aberystwyth University. When lesson planning, or chatting with clients, I’ve made a note of some thoughts that popped up along the way.
One of them was – why are we using social media? So often I see clients get really hung up on how much energy and effort is needed to put into their marketing, and I think we often forget why we’re here on social media in the first place.
Going back to basics, yes, of course we’re on social media to market our products. However, what I always point out to clients and I’ve mentioned on my course is – social media is all about being social. I think we can get so stuck in our strategy or content plan (or even, lack of) that we forget this.
Social media is a tool that we use to find our audience, connect with them and hope that they then connect and relate to us. It isn’t as complicated as we tend to make out. There aren’t magic formulas that mean our one post will go viral. There aren’t set rules about what we should or shouldn’t post.
At the end of the day, it’s all about making sure our content is relatable. Do our audience click with us because they have the same problems or challenges, or the same successes? Are we able to relate on the same level about our cooking mishaps, or our shopping disasters?
We’re all human of course, so being that human behind your social media – letting that human shine through, will work wonders on your marketing. It also makes it much easier to plan and think about too, when we remember that we have to be social, be human.
So, next time you’re banging your head against a wall or wailing in despair about social media being too hard or not knowing what to do – just go back to basics. Be you!
As someone who works with websites and digital marketing, I’m often asking the question – who is your audience and what are your goals? It’s a question that’s important for both of the aspects of the business.
A few months ago, a new client replied with ‘everyone’, as their target audience. I was half wondering, do they think this is the easy answer or not? To be fair, given the line of work too, everyone pretty much is their target audience – or rather, anyone with access to the internet.
So, what do you do when your target audience REALLY is everyone?
You have to plan per social media platform or per marketing avenue. Sorry! Rather than having one strategy to target your target audience, you need to plan your strategy per platform.
How does it work? Well, we know that we have certain demographics on the different platforms, so if we are targetting everyone then we need to tweak our marketing to that demographic based on the platform. That could be as simple as the graphic used, or slightly different text – or, going further and the types of content we use, for example you might utilise Reels on Instagram for that audience but stick to content and images on Facebook.
The plan of action would be to write down the list of social media platforms you want to use for your marketing, and do some research into the typical demographic for each one. Then, I would pencil a little plan of what you intend to achieve with each platform, based on that demographic.
For example, we know that Instagram is pushing video at the moment – so plan video into your strategy on Instagram (be that Reels, Lives, IGTV…). Twitter on the other hand is more social, short and sweet so the strategy here will be quite different.
I recently did a Facebook Live talk for Latte & Live, a great networking community that I am part of. I’d previously done a talk about Instagram, and was asked by Jennifer who runs the network to come back – much to my delight! There’s nothing better than being asked to come back to talk, it means you did something right the first time…
For this talk, I concentrated on the Power of Blogging – and why we should be doing it. It was a fun hour, and I think everyone went away feeling inspired to either start their blogs, or pick their blogs back up.
Personally, I love a good blog. I also think we’re so used to seeing them online, reading and digesting them that we often forget some key content is a blog. I blog regularly for Gwe Cambrian Web and we get a lot of our traffic to the website, via the blog.
A Case Study
One thing I shared in my talk was a case study of our own, from two blogs I wrote at the tail end of May and start of June 2020. The blogs were discussing the fact that an old site builder called Mr Site was being shut down by its new owners, TSO Hosts. The first blog was more of a speculation post, but within days it was top of Google because… no one else had picked up on this. Cue, a second blog post where instead of merely discussing Mr Site and what its closure meant, I also posted about the different options and services we offered that could help. June was a very busy month when it came to enquiries off the back of these two blogs, and one still remains top of Google today when you search for “Mr Site”. From these blogs, we took on clients in England and France – which was very exciting considering our usual target audience is based in Wales.
My Top Tips
I don’t want to give everything away from the talk as it was for members of Latter & Live, but I will be writing more on this website and over on Gwe Cambrian Web on how to boost you blogging. My take away top tips though:
- Think of a great title – answer your customers questions and problems, this is a great way to help blogs rank in the search engines
- Stick to the original subject (that is, answering the title) – if you start to digress, then it’s another blog post!
- There is no right and wrong when it comes to the length of a blog, you have to go with your gut feeling and make sure you don’t waffle. Stick to the point, be useful and informative for your audience.
- Don’t use big blocks of text – always bear in mind that most of us will skim read a page, so we’re looking for easy to read, bite sized content.
- And with that in mind, use headers and paragraphs to help seperate your text, making it easier to read.
- Include a conclusion at the end if it fits, many will just scroll straight down for that!
Keep an eye on my blog and Gwe Cambrian Web for more top tips and advice, and if you’d like me to do a talk in your group or network, just get in touch!