Whether you’re a small business owner, politician or government agency, your relevance to your audience depends on how connected you are through social media. Since social media is always evolving, this can pose a challenge. Therefore, we have compiled three steps that can help you remain relevant on social media and keep up with the changing times.
But first, let’s create a checklist of what your social media presence should be.
- Your content is sourced from listening to your audience
- Your content reflects your brand
- Your audience give positive feedback on how applicable, relatable or interesting they find your content
- Your content adds to the general conversation around your industry/niche
- You find new interactive ways to use your old content
- Your numbers, they’re improving on all counts
How to Remain Relevant on Social Media
Here are the steps to help you to remain relevant on social media.
Step 1: Before You Open Your Social Media Account
As with everything else, as James Baker said, proper planning prevents poor performance. Creating a presence that will keep you relevant on social media requires effort and research. To prevent burn-out or ineffectiveness, there are things you should know before you make that first post:
Set your goal – What do you want your social media to achieve? Do you want to build a community or generate leads? Do you want to increase awareness about your brand or run a virtual helpdesk? Your goal(s) will determine every other consideration and decision you make about your account(s).
Decide on platforms – As you are defining your social media goals, you should also be thinking about the platforms you intend to use. In some cases, you may create separate goals for each social media platform since they have different audiences. For instance, when TikTok first became popular, it was a short-video platform for young people. Now, people of all ages and brands are using TikTok to promote businesses, events and e-commerce. Recently, TikTok partnered with Shopify to introduce in-app shopping.
Know your audience – Do not be tempted to speak to everyone on social media. It is an easy way to fade into irrelevance. Design your social media content strategy to prioritise your target audience. When you clearly define your audience, it will guide your decisions on what to post, the style to adopt for your content and when to post. Defining your audience may even influence the information on your social media bio and profiles. So, be intentional in your quest to remain relevant on social media. Show your audience that you know who they are and have what they want.
Be consistent – Social media does not have a special place reserved for has-beens. If you don’t matter to your audience now, you don’t matter to them at all. Create a social media content calendar and follow it. If you have to stay off social media for any reason, don’t stay away for too long, and if possible, let your followers know. When you post relatable content on a regular basis, it will keep you in the spotlight. So, be consistent with your social media schedule.
Set up your team – According to Sprout Social, 78% of consumers are willing to buy from a company after having a positive experience with them on social. If creating a positive social media experience for your audience can have such a huge impact, then having a dedicated team to manage your social media is worth the investment. Besides, social media management is serious work.
You need specific skills to build relevance across any platform. You may need the social media manager (this is the generalist that can work as a team of one), content creator, graphics designer, video editor, paid media specialist, social data analyst and community manager. Now, maintaining your team is as important as creating one. Ensure that they collaborate effectively and have a social media policy in place to guide their operations.
Step 2: When You Open Your Social Media Account
Social media is a two-way communication tool. You cannot build relevance if all you do is talk to your audience without listening to them. How can you engage your audience?
Create interactive content – Your audience want to be understood. Create content that appeals to their emotions, educates them and also entertains them. Discuss some ideas with them and ask for their input. Content types like games, quizzes, polls, contests and assessments help to generate more interaction.
Use visuals – Social media users will judge your content by how it looks. If they are turned off by that, they are not consuming the content – even if it is just what they need. Since you are competing for screen time, make your content stand out in a way that draws them in. If you do this long enough, well enough, they will begin to seek you out from the thousands of other posts that they are exposed to every day.
Step 3: After You Open Your Social Media Account
As you know, the journey has just begun. Social media relevance is a feedback loop. This is why every new account or platform begins with trial and error – regardless of previous experience. If you want to minimise your risks, these ‘ends’ should influence your ‘beginning’:
Study trends – No matter how fast social media changes, one aspect of it remains the same and that is the ‘social’ aspect. Being relevant on social media begins with a thorough search and understanding of what is relevant to your industry/niche and audience. You can get this insight through popular hashtags, mentions, culture articles, and established social media users. Contributing fresh perspectives to current trends is an instant way to announce your existence on social media. Being consistent with it is certain to make you relevant. Remember to check various platforms to know current trends and reach a wider audience.
Measure engagement – We remember saying you are relevant when your numbers are improving on all counts. But there is a caveat to that: not all numbers are equal. Check your analytics to see what makes your followers tick the most. Do more of that. Optimise your posting time to be sure most people are online to actually see your content. The time should vary based on the platform. Your analytics can also help you to figure out when your followers are online.
Promote content – If you do not blow your trumpet, who will? Those people that have enjoyed your products or service are also on social media. Ask them to tell the world about you. Chances are, they will reach some of the prospects that are inaccessible to you and it will widen your reach.
Staying relevant on social media is a challenge that requires a full-time commitment. It is hard to get started and harder to stay relevant. If you pay attention to your audience and prioritise their expectations, the hard work will pay off. Of course, it takes time to develop and to succeed at social media, and sometimes hiring a professional is your best option.