Social media marketing is an absolute must for almost all businesses today. Even multinational B2B firms like UPS and Intel run TikTok and Instagram accounts that boast millions of followers and promote their brand image.
But not all social media accounts are up to scratch. As a PR professional, you’ve probably witnessed or even made your own fair share of cringe-worthy graphics and ill-thought-out campaigns. Unfortunately, it’s an all-too-common occurrence in this digital-savvy age.
To get the most out of social media, you have to intentionally elevate your social media game every few weeks (if not days) to account for changing trends and cultural events that can increase brand awareness.
Setting a social strategy
Social media is usually seen as a fun, creative space where content creators, individuals, and businesses can express themselves. However, even if your brand image is “fun” and “whimsical,” you still need to have an intentional approach to your socials.
Creating a social strategy is a tough process that requires you to make well-informed decisions. At a minimum, you’ll need to account for things like:
- Current branded materials;
- Target audience and their demographics;
- Competitors’ social presence;
- Current events and trends;
- Goals for social media marketing.
Taking stock of these factors can be a challenge. It may help to visualize the process using the Vroom-Yetton decision-making model. The Vroom-Yetton (VY) model is particularly useful for social-media-oriented decisions, as social trends change quickly. The VY model requires you to answer a series of “yes/no” questions that help you account for time constraints and ensures that your branded materials remain relevant.
Creating content that aligns with your brand is only part of the social media puzzle. To create a social campaign that drives brand awareness, you need to increase engagement. Social engagement is important as the algorithm will see that your posts are interesting and valuable to audiences. This will promote the reach of your content and improve brand awareness among existing followers.
Social listening is a great way to increase engagement. Social listening allows you to focus your attention on key audience demographics, and tailor your content to their preferences as a result. Over time, listening to your audience and responding to them will promote better engagement for each post and improve your brand image. You can also use social listening to learn from competitors and their missteps, as an enraged or engaged comment section provides plenty of learning opportunities.
It’s also worth noting that visual content is particularly good for engagement. Video content is more likely to grab the attention of users who may be scrolling to pass the time, as GIFs, images, and short videos stand out on folk’s timelines. The reason video content resonates so well with people is because video content is storytelling. Everyone loves a good story, so viewers will be more likely to engage with your video content as opposed to a simple picture.
You’ve established your brand image and have been working hard to drive engagement. But, for some reason, something still isn’t quite clicking. This feeling is probably familiar if you gained your PR/marketing wings during the pre-digital age. Instagram reels, YouTube shorts, and TikToks are complex content that requires a combination of skills.
To produce high-quality content, you may need to engage in some training and upskill yourself. There are plenty of places that offer digital training, but you’ll likely want to start with photoshop classes. Photoshop is the holy grail of digital marketing software and is extremely versatile. Getting comfortable with photoshop does take time, but it ensures that all of your content is exactly what you want it to be.
Alternatively, you can create high-quality content by using the software built into apps like Instagram and Tik Tok. Try to mimic high-performing brands and take note of how they use stickers, sounds, polls, and filters. This will give you a good indication of what your audience wants and can help you produce quality content while you learn more complex programs.
Social media campaigns are a central part of your overall brand. Socials allow you to connect with your audience and increase your exposure. However, before you start posting, it’s worth investing in some research and training to ensure that your social media game is just as sharp as the rest of your PR skillset.