Before the invention of the Internet and Social Media, traditional news outlets, such as print, TV and radio were considered our only source of credible information. For a business to reach out to its customers, (outside of advertising and direct mail), news would often come in the form of a press release or interview. An effective communication channel for sure, but those carefully-crafted words were always at the mercy of journalistic interpretation, a certain reading between the lines and reporting of news from each outlet’s own angle. Not a lot of control for the business. With widespread adoption of online and social media, businesses today are armed with the ability to have a direct, unfiltered conversation with their clients and customers. Lots of control for the business.
Since founding Remarkable, we’ve strived to deliver regular, informative, behind-the-scenes updates from our company, via our website, blog, videos, newsletters and social media updates. In today’s information-thirsty society, we know how important it is to deliver accessible, unified, consistent and brand-enhancing content. Believe me when I say, it’s not an easy task. Delivering regular, quality content is a full-time job. Blog posts. Instagram photos. Website updates. Video creation. Case studies. The list goes on, and on, and on! It can all get a bit overwhelming, especially when your main priority is trying to run a business, deliver projects, delight clients and generally keep all of the plates spinning.
It can be an even more overwhelming experience when you’re also on the receiving end of everyone else’s updates. Newsletters, new business mailers, social media updates, it can all get a little much.
To be clear, I am in no way suggesting that I’m writing this blog as a social media expert. Far from it. But with 15 years marketing experience under my belt, I do know a thing or two about cutting through the noise and clutter, to focus on what’s really important. Below, I wanted to provide some words of encouragement, plus some tips and tricks from my experience, to help you avoid the social media pitfalls. I hope it’s useful.
1) As a business owner, social media shouldn’t be your main focus
It’s very easy to get sucked into the social bubble, but remember, the main focus for any company should be on developing your business. Focus on meeting people, filling your sales pipeline, growing your client base. Social media is a great way to showcase your brand, people, products and services, but remember it’s merely a tool, (one of many), and not a business development strategy.
2) Have a clear content plan
It’s really easy to sign up to loads of social media accounts and start posting. But first, really think about what you’re looking to achieve. Who are you trying to attract/communicate with? What are you trying to say? What do you want them to do after seeing your post? If the answer to these questions is “I’m not sure” then it’s likely you need to think about a couple of things first, before diving head first. Consider things like appropriate updates for each channel, tone of voice, brand identity and what you want your social media content to say about you and your brand. For us, we focus on a few main channels, each with its own purpose:
Website – this is Remarkable’s online HQ. Everything about our company, projects, team, approach, case studies and background information lives here. We aim to update it at least twice a month, whether it be new event photos, blog posts, client testimonials, or download links to our company profile. It’s a living, breathing, constantly evolving showcase of our brand and offering.
Instagram – this is our most used social media channel. It’s a great way of showcasing our event images and we find a lot of our suppliers, partners and clients use it too. Instagram is where we also showcase our team. You’ll regularly see behind-the-scenes shots from our events, including the set up process, procurement trips, social occasions, plus a few (ahem, quite a few!) of Victoria and I having fun on the job. For us, as part of our strategy, we wanted to showcase our remarkable people, as well as our remarkable offering.
Facebook – this is an extension of our Instagram. We tweak the content slightly and often include multiple photos (as opposed to 1 or 2 on Instagram). It’s a good place for friends and family to keep updated on what we’re up to too.
LinkedIn – this is used purely for business updates. As the audience is 100% business-focused, we post articles, blogs, event industry news, client case studies, testimonials etc. It’s also a great resource for building our business network. We’ll also use it from time to time for recruitment purposes.
The others – we have a Pinterest account (which is updated occasionally with inspiration images for clients) and a Vimeo account (which we use to house all of our video content).We concentrate solely on these channels at the moment, as anything more would be unmanageable. The likes of Snapchat, Twitter, Google Plus and the others don’t bring us much vs. the effort needed to keep them updated. There will always be new social media channels pop up, and while it may be “cool” to have a presence, remember the audience you’re trying to reach. Is the CEO of your dream client likely to be spending time on Snapchat? Probably not. But they will be checking LinkedIn. It’s all about priorities and understanding your audience.
Newsletters – we aim to email out 1 or 2 a month. The first is a regular monthly update including details of recent projects, testimonials, a blog post and important business updates. The second, if required/relevant, something promoting a specific Remarkable service (National Day, Festive Events, Ramadan Iftars, Summer Parties) and how to find out more. All newsletters point back to Remarkable’s website for more information.
3) Do what you can
Don’t think you have to go all guns blazing. If you can only manage one or two updates a month, that’s fine. As long as it’s something interesting and in-keeping with your brand’s identity and tone of voice, then that’s great. Build a quality, engaged audience slowly over time. Better that than a frantic approach that confuses people and cheapens your brand. If you can’t do anything at all, that’s fine too. Ultimately you have to decide how important social media is to you and your business. If you don’t have the time, or skills, but do want to engage with a social audience, there are plenty of great social media agencies doing excellent work for startups and SMEs. (Happy to connect you to our contacts if you’re interested to find out more).
4) Don’t let other people’s updates distract you from your own goals
It’s really easy to do. You’re scrolling through social media and a post appears from one of your competitors. It looks good. Why didn’t I do that? What if I did do that? What if one of my clients see it and wants to work with them instead? What if, what if, what if. A lot of time and effort can be spent trying to keep up with the Joneses. Try not to let other people’s content distract you. Acknowledge it, learn from it if you can, and carry on with your own strategy. Have confidence in your own abilities and the quality of your offering. Your business and their business are totally different. Identify your own unique selling points and focus your efforts on making sure people know about them!
5) Don’t always believe the hype
How many times have you clicked onto a social media post and seen that it has hundreds of likes? WOW, you think, how did they do that? You click through to their profile page and see they’ve posted only a few updates, but have thousands of followers. Hhhmm, something doesn’t quite add up. I’m not saying it’s the case every single time, (they might have an incredibly engaged audience, or just announced a huge new product), but likely they’ve indulged in a little shopping spree for likes and followers. There are a number of services out there that help boost social numbers for money, but ultimately is it worth it? We’d have to say no. Yes you might boost your numbers, but those bot accounts are never going to truly engage with your brand. For us, quality wins over quantity every time.
6) Avoid the dead zones
Making the most of social media is hard enough! Don’t make it even harder on yourself by posting during quiet times. There are specific times that work for each channel, and specific times that absolutely don’t. Below is a quick rule of thumb:
7) There’s nothing worse than a dead social media account
Tied to point three above. Just because there’s a new kid on the social media block, doesn’t mean you have to jump on the bandwagon. Use the channels that are right for your business and if you don’t have a dedicated social team, focus only on one or two to start with. Adding another channel is just one more thing to think about, so don’t stress. Focus on what you can do and go where your audience is. An empty social media account, or one that hasn’t been updated in months leaves a bad impression.
As I said, I’m certainly not claiming to be a social media expert, but these observations have definitely helped me navigate the maze. If you’re interested to learn more about Remarkable via our social media channels, you can find us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram @remarkableuae or visit www.remarkable.ae.
Until next time!
Rikki Webster is Co-founder and Managing Director of Remarkable, a Dubai-based corporate events and brand experience agency, delivering outstanding projects on time, on brief, on budget.