Social media has become an important part of marketing and a helpful hand to public relations. For tips on how to use social media most effectively, we turned to our friend Stephanie Abrams, the cofounder and CEO of social media marketing agency Socialfly:
If you’re in the wedding industry, standing out on social media is a little like catching the bouquet. You need strategy, flexibility, and a little bit of luck.
The strategy part is easy – until you realize just how saturated the market it is and just how unoriginal #WeddingWednesday has become. This is where flexibility comes in – you’ll have to adapt your strategy based on the competition and more importantly, on your own results. Finally, there is a certain degree of luck when it comes to virility on the Internet and which campaigns will take off, but evaluating and adapting your strategy on a regular basis is a great way to tip the scales in your favor. Here are our:
Top 10 I Do’s for Evaluating and Adapting Your Social Strategy:
- Manage expectations. Think about the size of your business as well as your target market. Success won’t look like 100,000 followers on Instagram for everyone. You also won’t become The Knot over night. Look to big brands doing great things on social media for inspiration and guidance, but not for comparison. Who are your realistic competitors? These companies should provide a better gauge for what you can hope to achieve on social media.
- Determine metrics to objectively evaluate success. Are you looking for traffic to your store? Traffic to your website? Online sales? A higher ranking in Google search? Once you know your goals there are ways to measure success. Track your website traffic each month through Google analytics. Run Facebook website ads and use a conversion pixel on your website to track direct sales from Facebook . For brand awareness, start recording following numbers and engagement rates on posts. Do you have more reviews on your Facebook page? That’s a success!
- Plan ahead. If you have a plan for promotions, sales, and the types of content you’ll be sharing in each quarter, it will keep you more organized, but it will also prevent you from making knee jerk reactions. Just because one type of ad isn’t working doesn’t mean all Facebook ads won’t. Just because one post saw little engagement, it doesn’t mean that your strategy is failing. Keep to your overall schedule and make small changes based on results you are seeing on a month-to-month basis.
- Adapt your targeting. Audience is very important. If you are running Facebook ads and they are very expensive, maybe you are targeting the wrong people. While you probably have a good idea of your customer, do you know who your Facebook customer is as opposed to your Twitter or Pinterest customer? Make sure you are speaking to a platform-specific customer. For example, you may discover that funny memes and GIFs work really well on Instagram, but not on Facebook. This could be because your audience on Instagram is a younger crowd – and that’s okay!
- Identify key influencers. One way to get a lot of attention on social media is to have an influencer post about your brand. Often, Instagram influencers charge a lot of money, but there are also people with large followings who might already be your customer or would be willing to do some type of barter. If a brand or person with a large following happens to post about your product or service you will want to capitalize on that by re-posting, sharing, etc. Consider collaborating with an influencer for an Instagram takeover or Guest Pinner series. Brainstorm how collaboration could be mutually beneficial and then start networking and reaching out to your contacts to see how you can get in touch.
- Share the love. Good social media etiquette involves engaging with others. Liking, commenting, retweeting, and sharing other’s content (this includes customers, retailers, influencers, and fans) is one way to attract attention. If a particular brand is sharing gorgeous photos, tell them! Maybe there’s a way you can work together down the line and they will be more inclined to give you a shout out in the future!
- Do more. If you aren’t seeing the results you want whether that be in terms of sales, website traffic, or follower numbers, maybe you aren’t doing enough. This could be the time to up your advertising budget on Facebook. Maybe you need to share more original content. How often are you actually posting? Are you staying top of mind? Have you run a promotion recently? In some cases doing more simply means planning more. It’s not just about posting all of the time, but taking the time to decide what is relevant and worthwhile. Maybe it’s time to participate in a Twitter chat. When’s the last time you added a board to Pinterest?
- Say something different. There’s no substitution for originality in the world of social media and especially in the wedding industry. If all you are doing is sharing content, advice, and the same type of photos as your competitors, what will make someone want to follow you? In short: think outside the box.
- If you pay attention, people will tell you what they want. Don’t be afraid to talk to your friends, family, and most importantly, your customers and clients. Ask them what they want to see more of. Ask them what brands they adore on social media. Then, look to social media to silently listen. What are your fans and customers commenting on? What are your competitors’ fans and customers commenting about. If you test out six photos in a Facebook ad, you’ll quickly find out which one is the cheapest to get clicks. You essentially just ran a focus group. That type of image spoke to your target audience. Let that influence content, campaigns, and photo shoots down the line.
- Ask for help. Social media is time consuming, constant, and ever-changing. Your social media channels enable customer service inquiries 24/7. If you don’t have time to adequately monitor all channels, then you should outsource. If you are looking at your social media and are disappointed, it might be time to call in experts to revamp your channels and come up with an entirely different strategy. Maybe you are too close to the business and new eyes can help breathe life into your online presence. In addition, platforms are always updating and new platforms are emerging just as quickly. For example, are you on Snapchat? Your competitors might be! Knowing the next big thing in social, and making sure you don’t get left behind, can be difficult without a team.
Say “I DO” to social media with these ten guidelines and your business will be well on its way! But, remember, like any good wedding it takes an army to pull off the perfect celebration. When you get overwhelmed, agencies like ours are here to help!
Stephanie Abrams is the Co-Founder and CEO of Socialfly, a social media marketing and public relations agency located in New York City. Socialfly focuses on developing social media marketing strategies designed to improve brand awareness, lead generation, and reputation management. Specializing in bridal, beauty, fashion, and hospitality, Socialfly has worked with several national brands including: John Varvatos, Michael C Fina, Nest Fragrances, Cinda B and Caviar Russe.