PART 1 – Overview
Integrating social media into your website is an important way to widen your reach, deepen engagement with your audience, and build brand recognition. It’s a form of digital marketing that can be fun and fulfilling. When used with intelligent strategies, social media contributes to increased support, sales and donations.
Tell Me a Story
The essence of social media for me is telling stories and building community. My dad was a great storyteller. He loved to talk about his experiences, with vivid details that swept you right into his remembrance. He would often change the story a little bit, which taught me that you can vary the details to keep people engaged.
This approach can also work in social media. Be consistent, but keep things interesting. You may want to share an interesting piece of information, an important announcement, or an experience, and all of these things are different stories or a part of an ongoing story you are telling.
The Value and Promise of Story
Stories are creative ways of expressing who you are. Their purpose is to engage your audience, illustrate your uniqueness, and communicate your mission. They answer the question “Why should I support you?” They help build your community.
Promises are commitments you make to provide something of value.
Promises, promises….— music is by Burt Bacharach, lyrics by Hal David
Can lead to joy and hope and love… Yes, love!!!!”
Wow, there’s a whole lot of promise in Dionne Warwick’s song, isn’t there?!
You can make promises with stories, but you better follow-through on them! If you promise the world and only provide a snippet, your integrity will be questioned. Be clear, specific, and concise:
- Provide services: “Assist with your tax returns.”
- Offer classes: “Check out our course offerings on our website.”
- Give discounts: “20% off ticket prices through August 31!”
- Perform: “Our next concert is a Broadway tribute!”
The Importance of Authenticity
Finding our “voice” can be a challenge, but once we do, everything falls into place. Our voice becomes our compass, determining how we express our story. Staying true to who we are involves presenting our uniqueness with integrity.
We can sometimes get caught up in the numbers:
- How many people “liked” my Facebook post?
- How many followers do I have on Twitter?
- How many views did that Instagram story get?
I’m all for analytics and encourage you to use whatever tools are available on each platform. Statistics reveal how your social media is working. But, you should not be using social media merely for the sake of accumulating numbers, and especially not at the expense of your authenticity.
I found these demographics particularly illuminating:
- About 42% of the world population uses social media!
- 54% of online buyers use social media to research products; reviews and recommendations play a key role.
- 91% of users access social media via mobile devices.
- 71% of online buyers who’ve had positive experiences with a brand will recommend it online.
Social media usage has been broken down by Emarketer and the results by generation are interesting, to say the least. 90.4% of Millennials, 77.5% of Generation X, and 48.2% of Baby Boomers are active social media users.”– Emarketer, 2019
Goals and Strategy
Before doing anything on social media, it’s important to establish a few goals. Once you’ve got the goals figured out, it’s time to formulate a strategy that will achieve those goals. Be sure to measure the results using analytics tools and make appropriate tweaks to your strategy.
Why Are You Posting on Social Media?
- Widen your reach
- Deepen engagement with your audience
- Build brand recognition
- Promote an event
- Showcase your work
- Increase website traffic
Formulate a strategy to achieve those goals
- Who do you want to reach?
- Be as specific as possible in defining your audience (age, gender, location, job title, salary, etc.)
- Where does your target audience hang out?
- When do they hang out?
- How do they interact?
- What will you share?
- What are the message(s)?
- The messages should support the goal(s).
- Common threads and themes to the messages and the way they’re presented.
- Call to Action: should lead directly to associated event on website
- How you phrase the content will vary depending on the platform.
Example: Facebook is more casual than LinkedIn
- Use your strengths
- When will you share?
(depends on when your target audience hangs out on that platform)
- Measure the results and make appropriate adjustments
- Use the platform’s analytics tools
- Install Google Analytics on the website
(WordPress has plug-ins to do this.)
Understanding Key Terms
Meta tags that help users find your content. Serve as filters.
Most popular hashtags on Instagram include:
#love, #fashion, #beautiful, #happy, #cute, #art, #nature, #food, #family
Number of impressions, clicks, and reach are good statistics. But SHARES reveal what people value enough to pass along to others. People who share your content are your ambassadors helping you spread your message.
Interaction with your content: follows, likes, comments, and shares. If you have a lot of followers, like Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter, the engagement increases significantly. As “ESPN’s Senior NBA Insider” Adrian is widely known, so he has a built-in following (3.7 million).
Don’t compare yourself with celebrities, journalists, and other well-known figures! Set goals that are realistic and appropriate for yourself or your company. Our local WPSWFL and Tech4Good MeetUp organizer, Birgit Pauli-Haack, has 15.3k followers on Twitter. A typical tweet from her garners plenty of engagement:
Stay Tuned for the Next Segment
This series will continue next month, when we review the “usual suspects” of social media platforms and recommended tools for creating content.