How to supercharge your social media content (even during a pandemic)
Updated: Apr 2
Felicity Sandford is the Founder of Amazing Futures Ltd, a social media agency which specialises in marketing for the family, leisure and lifestyle sectors. She also co-founded Ealing Business Buddies with Jo Brianti and loves to help businesses be more strategic and get better results with their organic and paid social media.
What is Social Media?
It is the umbrella name for websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. Remember the offline definitions and associations of the words SOCIAL and NETWORKING at all times and that will help.
Do you ever go to networking events or parties where you don’t know everyone? Ever been stuck talking to someone at one of these who has banged on about themselves endlessly? Did you make a polite escape as fast as you could? Well that’s what people will do to you on social media if you self-promote all the time!
Remember, social media is supposed to be just that… SOCIAL! Optimize your profile to serve as your business card, so you can focus on the fun, helpful and social part instead in your communications. Use your cover picture to promote new courses and events or pin a post.
Who are your customer (or buyer) personas?
Customer personas are detailed representations of segments within your target audience. You can think of them as your businesses ‘imaginary friends.’ Make sure you have worked out at least two or three of your personas based on target clients and keep them in mind ALWAYS when talking to your audience in any marketing communications.
When you are planning and writing your social media content, always ask yourself if your personas would find this post interesting/ informative / funny/ something they can relate to.
Planning your social media content
In normal times I would say, plan out your content a month in advance ideally – or a week ahead minimum. Unplanned, ad-hoc content usually doesn’t end in great results. Ideally have a plan for the year/ quarter and then refine it before the start of each month so you keep on track and don’t miss out on great content opportunities. I recommend scheduling some of your content. There are lots of tools for this such as Buffer and Content Cal if you want to plan across different platforms. If you are just focusing on Facebook content though, I would recommend using Facebook’s native scheduling tool which can be found under Publishing Tools.
Social Media during Coronavirus Lockdown
I normally recommend scheduling at least some of your social media content to keep it consistent and help your work/ life balance. However, during these unpredictable Covid 19 times, content might need to reflect fast-changing situations so be mindful of that and check your scheduled content so that it reflects the mood of the moment. Uplifting content is doing very well at the moment too so you might want to think of how you can use humour appropriately and inspirational/ empathetic posts which hit the right mark.
Facebook Lives and Instagram Stories are a brilliant way of informally keeping your audience in touch with you and also increasing your visibility. Even if you aren’t able to run your business at normal capacity (or at all) currently; you don’t want people to forget you exist, do you? No – you want to stay ‘front of mind’ so you are ready to press the ‘GO’ button when normality resumes and you don’t find yourself in a situation of having to start all over again in building up an audience and reminding the Algorithm that you exist!
Whether or not you are able to make sales currently you can be building your audience and increasing loyalty to your brand via your content. This can be done by helping, education, inspiring, soothing people or cheering them up. If you develop a talent for invoking emotions like these in your audience, then you will be well on your way.
Types of social media posts to keep your followers engaged (relevant at any time!)
What you really want to avoid is having one promotion and “selling” type post after another. This will result in low engagement and even a high unfollow rate. Nobody likes to be sold to constantly face-to-face and this is no different online! What you want your social media posts to do is to increase your brand awareness and take your customers on a journey from getting to know you, to liking you and then finally trusting you/ your business. It is only when this final stage has been reached that they are likely to consider a purchase.
You can always repurpose and reshare content so see what you can adapt from Facebook posts to Instagram to Facebook for example and look at what you posted a year ago or more and repost. People will have forgotten about it by now and you will have new follower who will be seeing it for the first time anyway.
Examples include articles with tips or a blog on activities to do with children in hot/ rainy weather. Type of articles and posts that get people to Know, Like and Trust you. This makes them want to follow you and to recommend your posts to their friends by tagging them into something they think would be useful or even sharing the post onto their feed. ‘How to guides’ and ‘quick win’ demonstration videos often go down well too and encourage tags and shares. You could also share useful resources and tools.
Inspirational/ valuable posts This could be something like an interview with a successful local sports star if you run a sports club, a success story, someone who has faced a challenge relevant to your audience. A local person who has won an award or a ‘one day in the life of … series’
Ask a question
For example: Ask for recommendation/ testimonials. Get opinions on current events (be careful not to get into a political debate), ask your fan’s what their ‘favourite’ is out of a range of choices. Ask lifestyle questions/ ‘if you could’ ‘what was your first …’ and other similar open ended questions that encourage people to engage on your post. You can also pot polls and surveys.
Company News/ Stories
If you are reading this during the Coronavirus outbreak, this might be a bit different from usual BUT there are still ways you can talk about your company so people can get to know you better. You can share recent service/ product offerings (even if not usable for a while), you could share photos from past events and of staff, tell people about your accomplishments as a business/ business owner and tell stories about your company and its business. Why/ how did you start it, who were your first customers, favourite moments, best testimonials, video etc.
Show your expertise, gain trust
Share a time and/ or money saving tips – create and share infographics (use a tool like Canva). Or you could review a relevant product or service. Talk about common mistakes people make. For more details information and guidance write blog articles and share those across your social media. Live and videos are a very powerful way of sharing your expertise so try to get over being camera shy. Practise doing lives whilst restricting your audience (in privacy settings) on your personal page to ‘only me’ or just record on your phone. Lives are meant to be fairly relaxed and people often respond more warmly to ‘raw’ and ‘real’ video footage than something overly formal and polished. That said to be aware of your surroundings and make sure you look presentable obviously and try to do it somewhere without too much background noise or chance of interruption (think of THAT BBC reporter guy with his kids bursting into the room!) and with decent light.
If you can make people laugh, the chances are you can make them like you. I’m writing this during the Coronavirus pandemic, and I think this is particularly important at the moment although you do of course have to be careful. I would personally avoid black humour – better reserved for your personal page when you know your audience better.
Things you can do include: posting a funny photo or video, share a “fill the blank” post, post a meme or funny GIF (again you know if this would be appropriate for your audience), post fun facts or share funny/ embarrassing stories.
The Real People behind your brand
Few things build up the know/ like/ trust factor than being authentic and transparent in your social media posts. This is why it is never a good idea to try to pretend to be someone you are not on social media. People will see through it and not find it engaging. So don’t be afraid to reveal who YOU really are AND let your audience get to know the team behind the business. The more they know you, the more loyal they will feel toward you if they are existing customers and the more likely they are to reach that point of trust to purchase if they are prospects.
YOU: Tell people about your goals as a business and as an individual. Let people know how you got started, what you did before, what you wanted to be as a child. Talk about your hobbies and passions. Share stories about how you learnt the hard way BUT can help them avoid making the same mistakes you did.
People are nosy by nature and so tell them about your daily routine, your good and bad habits. Talk about your failures – or failings – and what you’ve learnt from them. Let people know what you do to relax after a busy period at work. Talk about your favourite business event/ where you like to go on holiday to unwind. Discuss your values as a person and how these are reflected in your business.
Promote your team - Introduce a new/ most recent employee to your audience. Feature one of your team members … Spotlight on Karen Briggs, our Team PA/ Class Leader for example. Let your fans know if you are likely to be looking for new team members/ franchisees in the near future. Post a photo that reveals your company’s culture and/ or values. Share team-building photos, or images of setting up for an event/ class/ product launch.
I could go on about this for much longer but it’d probably only overwhelm you. I offer social media strategy and content planning power hours though and we can do these by Zoom. If you'd like some social media support (either managing it for you or teaching you how to get results from your platforms) drop me an email – email@example.com I can help you to get the most out of your organic social media content planning, to gain visibility and credibility with your target audience. My website is:: www.amazingfutures.co.uk
Also feel free to ask questions on the Ealing Business Buddies Facebook group of course.