If you’re anything like us, you’ve made it through the level 4 restrictions with the help of Zoom greenscreens hiding washing piles and squabbling children in the background of business calls, a redneck tiger zoo operator on Netflix for distraction and the cool, calm collectiveness of Dr. Ashley Bloomfield on our screens at 1pm for a daily dose of reassurance and steadiness.
You’ve probably also seen your time on social media spike. Whether it’s to stay connected, keep up with the news or occupy those extra hours at home, Kiwis have been turning to the internet for comfort, connection, and entertainment more than ever before.
But for that reason, we also know that social media has been a tricky space for some business owners to navigate over the past couple of weeks. We touched on this on last month’s blog, Social in the time of Covid-19: What to consider when it comes to sharing on social media if you’re still trying to figure out the best way forward for your business at the moment.
However, we also put together that piece right before the proverbial really hit the fan. And within a matter of days, things changed, a lot. For some businesses, the level 4 restrictions meant a huge change in operations, whereas for others, it’s signalled a complete shift, or a halt, in normal trading.
That’s left some business owners with unexpected space and opportunity to take a moment to work on their business and has seen many of you wondering how to best make use of this time to up your social game, at a time when you don’t want to be overly pushy with sales or promoting your offerings.
So, we’ve put together this simple social stocktake to help you work through some of those important updates that often get pushed down the priority pile.
If you have time and space on your hands, it’s a great time to actually stay productive and continue to focus on efforts that ultimately strengthen your brand presence and keep you connected to your online audience. Regular auditing of your online presence is always essential (not just at the tail-end of a pandemic), so keep this checklist in mind throughout the year!
OK, let’s go:
Refresh your bios
That little space of social real estate is more important than you may realise. So, are your social bios still relevant? These snippets need to be succinct yet compelling enough to capture attention. Getting in all the most important information isn’t always easy, so sometimes choosing bullet points is the way to go. Always include a call to action that tells your audience exactly what you’d like them to do, or where you’d like them to head for more information. Crafting the perfect bio takes a little more consideration than you may think - so we’ve got a whole blog dedicated to writing the perfect social bio.
Create highlights on Instagram
Instagram has a handy feature called highlights. These sit on your profile and are a space where you can keep saved content ‘highlights’ that you’ve previously shared on your stories. It keeps all your best bits front and centre for any followers who swing by your account. You can group your highlights into relevant topics or themes to make it easier for your audience to choose content that interests them. If you haven’t already, consider creating relevant highlights from your recent content (you’ll find previous stories in your ‘archives’ in the app). If you have previously created highlights, now is a good time to review their relevance, and update where needed. Each highlight can also have it’s own ‘cover image’ - Canva is a great tool to use to do this, while keeping your imagery consistent and on-brand.
Update your imagery
Speaking of imagery, how long has your banner image or profile photo remained the same? Is it time for a refresh? Use this time to create new imagery or artwork for your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter banner images, and update your profile images across all accounts.
Review your hashtags
Hashtags play a big part in helping you get found on social media platforms. Hashtags are used to group related content and to help connect users to content that interests them, so they’re more important than you may give them credit for. We recommend spending a bit of time on hashtag research and strategy so that you’re really able to leverage hashtags to grow your social reach. Once again, here’s something we prepared earlier: Hashtags 101 - understanding the basics covers everything you need to know to nail your hashtag strategy.
Create a tone of voice guide
A tone of voice (TOV) guide is a document that outlines how your brand communicates. In the same way that you have guidelines around how to use your logo, and the colours you use for your brand, a TOV guide puts some direction around the language you use, and the way you speak to customers through written word. It is used by external agencies, customer-facing staff, marketing teams, HR, product teams - basically anyone who may be communicating on behalf of your business. It’s helpful for social media too as it helps ensure that, no matter who is posting on your behalf, all your content has a consistent brand voice that your audience will come to recognise and know. If you need a hand with this, get in touch because we can help.
Engage and connect
The way that brands continue to show up and support their audience when times are tough will have a huge influence on how their audience supports them when things pick up again. Continue to dedicate time to engage with content on social - that doesn’t just mean ‘liking’ posts, but also commenting thoughtfully and sharing content. As you are scrolling, be really mindful of the accounts that you are engaging with. If you find there are accounts with content that no longer aligns with what interests you, use this also as a time to curate your feed by deleting accounts that don’t interest you. We’ve talked more about this on this blog about community management as well as our recent episode on the Social For Good podcast.
One of the best tools you can use to shape your social strategy going forward is to understand the performance of previous posts. The engagement analytics will tell you what kind of content resonated with your audience more than other content. Use this information to help you plan out your upcoming social strategy. The Social Shop MD, Mary Cullingford, walked through what you need to know about Facebook analytics on a recent video tutorial in Social School (our free Facebook group for business owners and social media marketers).
Upskill and experiment
Why not use downtime to get creative with your content? Something to remember is that it’s OK to take imperfect action. Dabble with video creation, download an editing app, give a Live stream a go, or even consider launching your brand on to a new platform - like TikTok. Global restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic saw a huge spike in downloads of TikTok, with 113 million users joining the platform in February alone (there are around 500 million active users total).
Updating and refreshing your online presence, engaging with your community and taking a step back to put some good processes in place are ALL positive ways to proactively focus on the continued growth of your business - even when times are tough. The level 4 restrictions may have given business owners some forced breathing space to focus on their marking administration, but it’s a good reminder that regularly taking stock of both your social assets and strategy is essential - always.
If you’ve realised you could do with a bit of help to smarten up your socials, take a look at what we’ve got on offer when it comes to supporting SME business owners here: https://www.thesocialshop.nz/page/for-smes/