Overcoming barriers to social media

It’s no surprise that we’re big on B2B here at HN. But we’ve always maintained that the one thing that underpins all our communications is that Holy Grail of marketing: H2H, or human-to-human interaction.

It’s also no coincidence that the rise of social media has corresponded with this more personal way of doing business, but it hasn’t escaped our attention that not everyone ‘does’ social. So what are the barriers to social media and how can you go about breaking them down?

1: Time

Quite possibly one of the greatest barriers to social media — and the reason many companies turn to us — is time. Particularly when business is good, social media can seem like an unnecessary distraction. We all know about the dangers of neglecting our human relationships though, and it’s no different in business.

Look at tools like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite to speed up the process of scheduling and posting, and Feedly and Curata to access quality content quickly.

2: Inspiration

Hand in hand with lack of time goes lack of inspiration. It can be hard to be creative, witty and social every day.

The scheduling and curation tools mentioned above will help — you can create a bucket of great content when the ideas are flowing. You can then drip-feed it out over the following days, weeks and months as you see fit.

Websites like Days of the Year offer a more useful, if quirky, source of inspiration — we’re particularly amused by the upcoming ‘No Beard Day’!

3: Culture

Number three on the list — and possibly the hardest to overcome — is culture.

We often hear that “this company will never be social”, but, when you look at the figures, it soon becomes apparent that social media can help you:

  • drive website traffic and sales
  • slash lead-generation costs
  • provide great insights into your audience

This is where you need to educate and motivate your workforce. You could even gamify the process, creating internal leaderboards for those who are most socially active.

Want to read more about the inherent value of social media to your content strategy? Why not check out our article on why social posts are such a vital part of content success. Or, if you want to carry on the conversation feel free to share your thoughts, questions and tips in the comments section below, or tell us about it on Twitter or LinkedIn.




Why you should share your social media strategy internally

Question: Who can help develop your company’s social media profile?

Answer: Almost anyone in your organisation.

Whether a part of your marketing, sales, customer support or even financial teams, your organisation is full of people with ideas – and many of them will already be avid social media users. By sharing your social media strategy you can get ideas out of their heads and supercharge your social media strategy.

You need to create a space where people can share information and ideas in a collaborative fashion. If you’re using a system such as Lync, Yammer, or any tool that can host a chat room or forum, that’s the place to start. Invite the people you want to get ideas from, share your strategy with them, and see how they react. If your organisation doesn’t use these tools, then you could hold a face-to-face meeting to brainstorm ideas and responses to your strategy. You can use email as a last resort, but it’s much harder to be collaborative via email – not to mention heavy on the inbox!

There are more than a few benefits to getting social media enthusiasts within your organisation to comment on your plans, but these are HN’s top three:

1: Spot hidden pitfalls
Other people in your organisation who know how social media works may see hazards that you or your team have missed: openings for people to hijack your campaign (like the ill-fated #waitrosereasons campaign from a few years ago, for example), or important calendar events that aren’t in your schedule, but really should be. Not an opportunity to be missed!

2: New angles = new opportunities
The fresh perspective that people from other parts of your organisation bring to your strategy isn’t just good for spotting problems. Someone in sales might know about some content that would be perfect to build into your campaign; someone who uses Pinterest regularly might show you a feature you hadn’t known about before, but would be perfect for your strategy. A few little tips like these can make a big difference to the success of your strategy.

3: Harness the power of your people
Getting internal teams to support campaigns, or even the day-to-day activity on a feed, is one of the trickiest things we see organisations attempt with their social media. By sharing your strategy with social media enthusiasts within your organisation, you show them exactly what’s coming, when it’s coming, and how they can support it. Make them feel a part of the plan, and they’ll be much more likely to engage with it – and to encourage others to get involved, too.

Do you have any stories about using your in-house talent for social media? Let us know how it went in the comments section, or on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Social media in real time:Oreo leads by example

In my recent post about how to create an effective social media content strategy, I touched on how to determine posting frequency. What I didn’t talk about was what you can do once you’ve hit a good rhythm.

Real-time posting

Don’t miss chances to post in the moment to really grab your readers’ attention.

The social media team at Oreo did this oh so well during the power cut that halted the Super Bowl XLVII. By the time the lights came back on in New Orleans, Oreo had racked up over 10,000 RTs, thousands of Favourites and overwhelmingly positive replies — all with a single tweeted image.

The fact that the cost of an ad during Super Bowl XLVII is around $3.7 million makes this social media win all the sweeter.


The four-step social media content strategy

It’s often said that ‘content is the currency of social’ and I don’t think a truer word has been spoken. Successful social media marketing involves creating content that engages customers, stimulates dialogue and evokes a response.

Here are my four simple steps to create an effective social media content marketing strategy:

1. Determine content themes

Your content needs to have a focus in terms of the topics you plan to cover and the tone it will take. Here are some pointers for determining that focus:

    • Know your audience. Who do you anticipate will be reading your content? What challenges do they face, which you could address?
    • Stimulate engagement. It could be educational, entertaining, inspirational or promotional. Ideally, it should contain elements of all four.
    • Demonstrate knowledge. One way to gain trust is by establishing yourself or your company as an expert. Try imparting advice that’s practical and based on your real-life experiences.
    • Be consistent with your business’s proposition. You don’t want content that is out of step with your company’s messaging or personality — it wouldn’t seem authentic.

2. Determine content type

Depending on the channel, social media content can take many forms: blog posts, tweets, status updates, contests, quizzes, poll questions, infographics, videos and photos. So decide which tools are going to make up your kit bag and test each one to see which works best.

3. Determine posting frequency

How often you can post updates? Here are a couple of tips:

    • Post at the optimal time. By this I mean post on the days and times when you are most likely to receive responses in the form of Likes, comments and shares. Google Analytics can help to determine optimum posting times.
    • Be consistent. Whether you post daily, weekly or monthly, if you’re not consistent, your customers will lose interest. Let’s be realistic, if your favourite TV series was shown randomly each week, would you really keep watching?

4. Create a content calendar

The next step is to develop a calendar to schedule your posts. Calendars can be created on a weekly or monthly basis.

Content calendars can be developed using a spreadsheet; or if you prefer, there are many social media management applications out there like HootSuite, Sprout Social and Buffer to name a few.

To plan even more effectively you might like to try tools like TweetDeck, which allow you to schedule your tweets and keep an eye on your Twitter stream, making it a lot easier to retweet and share.

So let’s get started!