Convince the outside world—that’s the art of public relations. You don’t need an advertising agency or PR strategist to get started on an effective publicity strategy for your brand. So welcome to our new mini-series on the Jimdo blog: “Everyone can do PR!”
In the first blog post, we focus on social media. Twitter, Facebook etc. offer enormous potential. Instagram has around 600 million daily users whilst Facebook boasts 1.23 billion daily active users. But how do you reach the right target group via social media channels? We describe how to design and implement your own social media strategy in five steps.
Step 1: Know the possibilities
Social media can be used for more than just posting entertaining cat memes and keeping in touch with friends and acquaintances. Social networks offer you a “shop window” with which you can present your project in an authentic way and thus win users for your brand. How you design this “shop window” depends on what you want to achieve with social media. Therefore, defining your goals is therefore very important.
So what is your goal? Here are three possible target goals to start off with:
1. Attract customers:
- Attract more visitors to my website
- Introduce my product to users
- Promote my offers
2. Build a community:
- Create a lively conversation with friends and followers
- Strengthen relationships with the brand and contacts
- Share a common passion
3. Be informative:
- Provide a service for questions
- Give current information (e.g. new opening hours)
- Help people get started.
Important: These three options can’t be strictly defined. Everyone can find their own style. The examples should just help to define your objectives clearly.
Step 2: Select a strategy
You could say, of course, “I want to reach all those goals at the same time!” Theoretically possible but with great effort. If you’re designing a social media strategy as an individual or small team, we recommend focusing instead on specific goals. In this way, a successful strategy can be achieved without trying too much at once.
Strategy A: “Personal & customer-friendly”
You are an:
- Online shop that sells products
- A small company
- Have a website for your store or restaurant
- Or offer certain services or courses?
Then this strategy is perfect for your social media channels: To build up a customer base. With Facebook, Instagram etc. you can present your products in a beautiful and entertaining way. Even if you offer a certain service or courses for customers and clients, you can still win more potential customers through social media.
Strategy B: Build a community
Do you have a:
- Website for your side project/hobby
- Themed website
- A blog in which you write about your travels, cooking, or the like?
In this case, strategy number 2 might be something for you: The community focus. Your visitors like you because of your theme. They probably love your passion, style of writing and are inspired by your recipes or travel stories. Therefore, your visitors will love to get in touch with you directly on social media, exchange ideas and create a lively community. This strengthens your bond to each other and encourages users to regularly visit your website.
Strategy C: Be informative
Is your website for your:
- Studio or your salon
- Profession (architect, for example).
In this case, strategy number 3 would suit you best: To inform, present yourself and your company, show your achievements and provide up-to-date information. For Facebook users, your page is the first place to start and for more detailed information, visitors can click on your website.
Step 3: Identify the right channel
Facebook is the most popular social medium and is suitable for everyone—as an informative starting point or a lively exchange platform. There is minimal effort involved in creating a page with the most important information. It’s definitely worthwhile posting several times a week. You can schedule some posts ahead of time, which is completely possible with some time management. Many businesses simply post their current offers or restaurants may post a photo of the menu of the day.
Instagram is THE photo platform and is very interactive. For this reason, it’s the social network for food or travel bloggers. But Instagram also offers a great opportunity for other projects. Anyone who can show off his or her product/work out there with amazing photos is best suited to Instagram. You can build up a real community here through regular posts and share your latest updates with followers.
On Twitter, you have a maximum of 280 characters per message ( a “tweet”) and can also post photos. Twitter is useful for sharing news, interacting with other users, or for fun, entertaining posts. Again, this is especially useful for regular users who want to post more frequent, short, spontaneous and up-to-date messages. As with Instagram, the community feel is very lively. Contributions from others are happily “re-tweeted” (shared) or “liked” so that their own friends are made aware of any relevant content.
Pinterest is another network where images are clearly the focus. On Pinterest, you share your photos and/or photo collections on pin boards with other users, who can comment and spread your content. Meanwhile, Pinterest is a very busy network and one of the largest image search machines in the world. For creators and artists, Pinterest is thus extremely interesting and ideal for building a network.
Step 4: Find content to post
Of course, the content you post on the social media depends primarily on your project and on the goal you want to achieve. For your users, content is relevant when they feel it is appealing, interesting or entertaining. For you, content is effective when it strengthens your attachment to your brand or directly creates interest in your products or offers.
So what can you post? Here are some ideas:
Ideas for Strategy A (customer contact)
- Regularly introduce products or services
- Make them “hungry” for more, literally!
- Promotions and offers on social media
- Post positive feedback from customers, if it wasn’t shared publicly. But be sure to check with them first!
- Present your own company in an entertaining way with “behind the scenes” photos or pictures from events and trade fairs
- Regularly post on certain days (“MatchMonday”, “FunFriday” etc.)
- Show photos from your daily work
Ideas for Strategy B (Community Focus):
- This includes showing food or travel pictures and asking your fans about their experiences (“What is your recipe for lasagne?”, “Who’s been to Sri Lanka?”). This creates your interaction
- Write short blog articles describing your experiences and make sure to add links
- Reply to comments and questions
- “Follow” similar pages and profiles to build relationships with other bloggers or influencers
- Create small competitions on your page e.g. “Guess what location I’m going to next? (Hint: It’s in Asia) and win a souvenir from my trip!”
- Photos of new ideas, products or “How to’s”
- Post short videos
Ideas for Strategy C (Informative):
- Make the information on your page simple and easy to find
- Specify opening times and contact information
- Use high-quality photos that look beautiful and give a professional appearance. Remember you can also get free professional stock photos available online.
- Post regular updates and respond to questions
- Share interesting and relevant articles
- Create your own blog posts and link them
Tip: Try out different content and check how the well the different posts perform. The best source of inspiration for your posts are often competitors or similar pages. Just click through the profiles of others and see what you like.
Step 5: Get started!
If you’re not on any social media channels, try them out with a private account. So you get a feel for the different platforms and what you like.
If you decide to create an account for your project, it is important to build a circle of friends and followers. You can do this by:
- Telling your friends about your new page and asking them to “follow” you
- “Like” Facebook pages of friends and invite them to “like” your page
- “Follow” people and pages that explore similar topics to yours, or are considered “influencers” in your area.
- Adds social media buttons to your website
- Add your social media handles to any promotional brochures, flyers or in your newsletter and invite people to “follow” you
And last but not least: Until your social media fans assume a certain size, it can take some time. This is quite normal, because “organic growth” takes its time. So don’t feel under pressure to get as many fans as possible. The key is to build a solid fanbase and the rest will come. Just try to post regularly and remember to have fun with it!
How do you use social media? Have you ever considered a strategy for your project? I think, for many projects, a “strategic approach” is really worthwhile.
In the next blog post of our series “Everyone can do PR”, we look into sending a “Newsletter” and how you can make emails more exciting for your audience.
I look forward to your comments!