Managing your social media effectively can sometimes feel overwhelming. For many of us, it becomes something that's done just when time allows: in five minutes between meetings, during your lunch break, while you're "relaxing" in the evening. Unfortunately this intermittent approach to social media marketing can cause problems in the long run; affecting your brand consistency and the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. The good news is there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure your social media is in check.
A social media audit is a great way to get a big-picture view of your social media efforts and to identify areas that require attention. Ripple Design & PR offers professional audits that take an in-depth look at your social media channels and provide you with a detailed report including a range of recommendations. This is a great idea if you're not sure how to approach social media, or if you're wanting to really up your game, but if you're feeling in the mood for a bit of DIY, we've created a simple, five-step social media audit that you can do yourself.
1. Locate all of your social media profiles
Start by making a list of the different social media channels that you use. This is likely to include Facebook and Instagram and maybe Twitter, Linked In, Pinterest or Youtube. Don't forget to also include business profiles on other platforms such as Google, Spotify, and any blogging websites that you may use (including your own website's blog, if you have one).
For each social media profile, write down the username and URL (specific web address used to access your profile on that social channel) and check these for consistency. Is it possible to change some of these so that they are all the same?
2. Check all details are complete
A half-completed social profile both looks unprofessional and might mean that customers aren't able to find the information they're looking for. Check that you've completed each your social profiles by providing all the information that you can. Obviously contact details such as your website, phone and physical address are very important, but you should also check that other details like opening hours and establishment dates are correct.
Most social channels will also give you the ability to include information in a "bio", "about" or "story" section. It can feel tricky writing about yourself and your business, but don't shy away from providing this information. You don't have to write a lot here, but it's important to provide some information about who you are and what you offer. A few sentences is great!
3. Check the visual elements
All social media channels are highly visual places where lots of brands are competing for customers' attention. It's important to ensure that your branding is consistent and looking its best.
Check your profile and cover photos. Are they up to date? Ensure that they are not blurry (especially if they include text). Blurry images do a lot to undermine your professional image and can turn customers away. Do the images use the correct colours and are they sized correctly (so that important parts of the image or text are not cropped/missing)?
If there are any problems with images, put a plan in place to get this fixed as soon as possible.
4. Check the regularity of posting
When it comes to how regularly you should post we make different recommendations to our clients depending on which channels they are using and their individual marketing goals. Generally, posting once a day to each social profile is recommended. That said, there are some clients whose social media we manage and post to once a week, and some for whom we publish content three times each day. It's about finding something that is both manageable and returning good results, whilst also being sustainable in the long term.
Take a look at how regularly you're posting to each of your channels. Is this returning the results that you would like? Looking at the statistics or insights that each channel provides you with can help you to understand audience engagement with your page and to make a plan for the best times and days to post.
It is also worth identifying some "influencers" to follow. These should be other people or businesses in your industry who are managing their social media successfully. Taking note of their content and how often they post it can be helpful in making your own plan.
5. Set some next steps
By this point, it's likely that you will have identified some areas for improvement in your social media strategy. Perhaps you need to complete some profile details or maybe creating some sharp, new images will help your brand to shine. Could it be that your posting schedule requires attention?
Identify three specific actions you could undertake to improve your social media. For example, one action could be "replace the cover image on my Facebook page with an image that is sharp and uses my brand colours". Once you've decided on these three actions, prioritise them from most important to least and tackle them in that order.
If one of your actions is focused on increasing your posting regularity, ensure that you set yourself a manageable goal. Consistency is the most important thing here and posting once a week could be more beneficial than posting every day for a month then giving up because it's getting to hard. If daily posting isn't sustainable for you, choose something that is.
If you struggle with knowing what to post, consider setting a schedule that dictates a specific type of post each day of the week. For example, every Monday you could post a behind-the-scenes photo or video, and on Thursdays you could give your followers a tip. There are lots of options for the type of content you choose to publish and what works for you will depend on your business and the resources you have available.
Ripple Design & PR offers professional and customised social media services including audits, content and campaign management and creation. If you'd like to get your social media on track, and keep it there, get in touch.
If you're creating video content for your audiences, a report from Wista suggests that 1-2 minutes is ideal. After that, engagement starts dropping off.
This doesn't mean you can't create longer videos (some content requires longer screen time and 6-12 minutes is also a good length to work to for longer videos), but it does mean that if your video is just over two minutes long you should try to cut it down a bit.
If you're looking for more information about this, check out https://wistia.com/blog/optimal-video-length
This week we've completed an update to the National Media Studies Association website that allows users to complete a form to become members of the Association, and then automatically generates an invoice that is sent to both the Association's Treasurer and the new member and also saved in a Google Drive.
There are no ongoing costs for this service, and it was quick to set up and add to the site.
This is a great example our focus on saving our clients time and money by building smarter websites that work for them.
If you think you could benefit from a smarter website, we'd love to chat with you about how we can help. Contact us to arrange a free consultation.
We know that handling your social media can be difficult and time consuming. Let us take care of it for you with one of our social media management plans. See more here.
Social media is one of the greatest tools you have for building meaningful relationships with your audience.
Giving some thought about what, when and where to post; giving back to your audience; and being genuine in your relationships with followers are all important steps in the process of engaging your audience. But how do you know if you’re getting it right?
To help you out, we’ve put together five social media tips that you can get started with right now.
1. Create your own content
You may have heard of the 5-3-2 rule. Developed by TA McCann, this social media adage suggests that for every 10 social media posts, 50 percent should be curated content from other sources, 30 percent should be your own creative content, and 20 percent should be the sorts of posts that bring your brand to life, and humanise your social media presence.
What’s important to note here is that half of your social media content should be your own, individual material. I would argue that for solo creatives, you would be wise to increase this percentage if possible. At the end of the day, your audience has chosen to follow you for a reason, and I would hazard a guess that it’s less to do with what you share and far more about what you create. On no platform is this more relevant than Instagram; a channel totally geared towards high-quality, individual content.
On other platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, up-to 50 percent shared content is not a bad way to improve the regularity of your posting; but the key here is relevance. Always ask yourself whether or not the content is relevant to both your brand and your audience before hitting “post”.
One channel where you can get away with a higher ratio of shared content is Pinterest. The scrapbook nature of this site means users will follow you because of the way that you curated content from a range of sources alongside your own.
2. Know how often to post
Many people believe that simply posting more frequently will increase audience engagement with their content. If more of your posts appear in front of your audience, they’re more likely to take notice, right?
Knowing how often to post to each social media platform means higher engagement and less time wasted. Producing high-quality content is meaningless if your audience isn’t going to engage with it. Save your posts for the opportune times by following these guidelines:
Post once a day on Facebook. A study by Track Social found that there is no significant change in the total audience response as posting to Facebook increases. In fact, they found that there is a decrease in engagement with each post beyond the first.
Post up to three times-a-day on Twitter. After three posts, engagement starts to drop, a study by Social Backers found.
On Instagram, post at least once a day. The good news for the Insta-obsessed amongst you is that there’s no evidence to suggest that engagement drops off as you post more frequently. Of course, it is worth mentioning that Instagram audiences expect high-quality content, and there are some theories suggesting that audience response drops as posting becomes erratic; so, however often you choose to post to Instagram, keep it consistent.
Pinterest, similarly to Instagram, is a channel where you can post to your heart’s content, and at any time of day. In recent yeas, the brands that have seen the strongest growth on Pinterest tend to post in vast quantities. Keeping your posting organised is the best tip we can offer you here. This is especially important for making sure your own content stands out: arrange this to be the first board visitors to your profile see.
3. Choose your platform carefully
Similarly to the differences in the number of posts you should make on each platform, the type of content that works best varies also.
Facebook audiences love videos; especially live videos. In fitting with the casual nature of the platform, these don’t have to be crafted too carefully. Facebook’s setup means that native videos (videos uploaded directly into Facebook, rather than shared from other platforms such as YouTube) work best.
Twitter is great for quick updates: a link to a blog post, a shout out to another creative, or a update-style plain-text message.
Instagram is a visual feast, but requires a certain polish to its products. The easy default here is product photos: images of the end-point of your creative efforts. But, Instagram is also a great platform to show your audience a bit of behind-the-scenes action, and this works particularly well in your story.
A tip with video content for: choose the orientation of your phone carefully as it changes depending on the platform: stories work in portrait, whereas Facebook videos remain easiest to view in landscape.
Pinterest is a great mode through which to share your inspirations and ideas. Along with that, infographics and how-to posts are at home here: nestling comfortably into the platform’s narrow, vertical columns.
4. Share your ideas
It’s easy to associate a risk with sharing too much on social media. We all take so much inspiration from what we see around us; so might other people steal our ideas? There’s a certain flattery in this, don’t forget.
Now, I’m definitely not suggesting that you jump online and share all of your creative secrets. But, creating a how-to video, a step-by-step guide or posting a few tips is one way to improve the diversity of your posts, and to give something back to your audience.
Sharing your knowledge also establishes you as an expert in your field. That’s not to say that you have to be an expert to create these sorts of posts, but it’s best to play it safe and teach others what you know best.
5. Be social
Finally, it goes without saying that each of the channels mentioned here require not only thoughtfulness in your posting, but a certain sociality as well. It’s in the name, after all.
Replying to messages, commenting on posts, following others and engaging with their content are all parts of the social media game. Engaging with your audience is part-and-parcel when building a relationship, which is where the strength in social media lies. If relationships weren’t important we would have stopped with websites. But, of course, be genuine in your online relationships, and communicate with your audience in the same manner that you would with someone who you were showing around your studio or creative space.
To finish, a final note about following others. Engaging followers on social media is in part about establishing your audience’s trust. There is an enormous value in following people and brands that you love, but also a risk to your credibility if the number of people you follow is far greater than the number following you.
Before choosing products and services to buy, your customers are going to do their research online. This means your website needs to be the very best that it can be.
Give your website a quick health-check, and make sure you’ve got these five basics right.
1. Clearly state who you are and what you do.
This might sound obvious, but it’s often overlooked.
Once a new visitor clicks through to your website from Google, statistics say they’ll spend less than a minute deciding whether to stay or leave. In those precious seconds, you need to make sure that people can immediately identify whether or not they’ve arrived at the right place.
Make sure that your homepage clearly identifies who you are, and what you can offer.
2. Use high quality photographs (preferably individual to you).
We all know a picture says a thousand words. Well, a bad picture also says a thousand words… but probably not the ones you're aiming for.
A website provides you with the opportunity to build credibility, so make sure your photos contribute positively to this.
If you’re going to take your own photographs, try to avoid using a mobile phone unless this is your only option. Always shoot when there is good natural lighting, avoid using a flash, and think carefully about what you’re including in the shot. Photos that are taken with lots of unnecessary clutter in the background; or from awkward, close-up angles should be avoided.
If you’re having trouble taking your own photos, you can have a look for stock images. There are lots of great sites, such as pexels.com, where you can use to find high-quality stock photographs for free.
Stock photographs can be a great alternative if your own photography skills leave a little to be desired, but they do have the pitfall of being rather generic. Ideally, you want your images to show people makes your business, products and services individual. At the very least, if you are using stock photos, check your competitors websites to make sure that you aren’t using the same photos.
If you want the best of both worlds, invest in professional photography that will both capture what makes you business special and result in high-quality images.
3. Get the spelling and grammar right.
I've already mentioned that your website can build your credibility. Well, trust me, potential customers will be put off if you haven’t taken the time to proofread your text. Visitors want to see that you are professional and and you want to show them that you put the effort in to produce work of a high quality. What’s more, search engines will punish you for spelling and grammatical errors by moving your page further down in their rankings.
If you’re not totally confident in your own proofreading skills, asking someone else to check your text is a simple solution. If they’re checking the text that’s already on your site, this also gives you the opportunity to ask them for all sorts of feedback. Could they find their way around easily? Did they encounter any links that aren’t working?
4. Include a way for visitors to sign up to a mailing list.
The average person visits almost 100 different websites every month. Hopefully yours is one of them.
Once they do find your site, creating a way for visitors who are interested in your products and services to sign up to a mailing list provides a way for you to encourage them to come back, and to keep up-to-date with what you have to offer.
Mail Chimp is a great service that will help you to gather and organise email addresses, and distribute professional and eye-catching email newsletters. It also gives you a range of sign-up options for your website.
When asking visitors to sign up to a mailing list, it's a good idea to tell them how often you’re going to email them. Bombarding people with too many emails will simply result in them unsubscribing from your mailing list. Carefully crated, monthly or quarterly email newsletters are a good way to start.
Finally, don’t forget to include the odd special offer for people who’ve signed up. If they’re showing an interest in your products and services, and have volunteered their contact details to you, a bit of VIP treatment is a great way to show your subscribers that you appreciate them.
5. Create a blog, and some individual content.
I recently read that the average person now spends over 60 hours each month online, and much of this time is spent engaging with social media. Unfortunately, the internet is saturated with shared material. Cut through the competition, and grab your audience’s attention by creating some individual content that says something about what you have to offer.
Not only does a blog allow you to talk about your business, products and services, but it can improve your search engine rankings, making your site more likely to be found in searches.
There are two reasons to blog. Firstly, you are creating additional pages and content, which will make your site more appealing to search engines. Secondly, if you are sharing your blog posts on social media, you are creating links back to your website. The more links to your site, the more likely it is to be found by people and search engines alike.
If you’re not sure what to blog about, stick to what you know. You’ve created your business and your website because you are able to offer expertise in a particular area. Giving people a taster of that expertise is another great way to build your credibility, and generate new customers.
Could your website do with an update? Make sure you get these things right. Ripple Design & PR offers two different services: choose either a professionally designed website, or a D.I.Y Package. Contact Ripple Design & PR and quote the code - 10BASICS - when you make your enquiry, to get a 10% discount off the monthly price of a D.I.Y. Website Package.
Ripple Design & PR has launched a side project. Introducing: Creative Ripple.
Creative Ripple is an online magazine that will promote and support emerging and established NZ creatives. The magazine will feature a range of creators working across a variety of fields including art, photography, illustration, design, sculpture, jewellery, ceramics, music, performance and theatre.
Owner of Ripple Design & PR, George Arthur-Amohau, is the founding editor of Creative
ripple. "Online magazines such as this exist overseas, but nobody's following the model in New Zealand."
Any New Zealand creatives, or their agents, are invited to submit work to Creative Ripple, and more information about the process can be found at creativeripple.nz/get-featured.
In addition to featuring work from New Zealanders, Creative Ripple will provide tips for freelance creatives, and will share creative places, studios, inspiration and interviews.
Before the magazine's offical launch in November, Creative Ripple is on the lookout for new, interesting and different creative work; creative places to visit; inspiring stories to share; and successful, creative new New Zealanders to interview. Anyone who is interested can contact the magazine via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Passionate about sharing New Zealand's creative talent, writers have been excited about the number of submissions so far. "We're working through quite a number of submissions, from all over the country, prior to the launch in November," Arthur-Amohau, said.
Submissions so far have come mainly from artists. Creative Ripple is also hoping to hear from New Zealand's designers, writers, musicians and theatrical community.
You can subscribe to Creative Ripple on the website, www.creativeripple.nz, and follow the magazine on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.