We all use social media accounts in different ways. Some people will send out dozens of Tweets on a daily basis, talking about everything from their drive to work that morning through to a picture of what they’re eating for dinner and then a ‘selfie’ or two from their drinks. Others will use Facebook to update their friends on where they are and what they’re doing, but when you’re using an account on behalf of a business you have to be much more strategic about what you post – and when.
On personal accounts we seem to grab our smartphones or tablets, open the relevant app and send out an update or a Tweet about whatever pops into our heads. With a company account, every single word you say is reflective of the views of the company – you’re essentially talking for your brand, and you need to put a strategy in place. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking on behalf of Hidden Hearing on Twitter, trying to raise awareness of hearing problems and encouraging people to get themselves checked, or running an account on behalf of hearing dogs, encouraging people to donate money for a good cause, everything you say is being spoken on behalf of the company. That’s why you tend to see many journalists putting in their social profiles that “views are my own”, to distance anything they might say from the company they work for.
The first thing you need to do is sit down with anyone who has a knowledge of social media and how to run campaigns, in order to discuss the strategy for your account. For the purpose of this piece, we’ll focus on a company Twitter account, which allows users to send out 140-character Tweets along with images and videos, as well as external links.
Having formed your ‘brain trust’, you need to decide on the tone you’re going to use, as this needs to remain constant throughout so that you can build a relationship with your audience, or ‘followers.’ By talking in the same way (i.e. formal or informal), users can feel as though they’re getting to know you – as the company – and they will feel as though they can invest in your products or services or as though they can talk to you and ask questions.
A friendly and approachable stance is often the best policy, because you can build trust, inform, entertain and engage with your audience, which is what they want. They don’t want to be feeling as though they’re talking to a robot who has no interest in them other than selling something.
Having decided upon your tone of voice, you need to establish just what you want to achieve from your social account. To some, it’s all about getting the numbers up in terms of followers and growing your audience. To others, it’s about putting a face to the brand and showing that they’re friendly and approachable. If you, as a brand, can get this part of the strategy right, you’re likely to see either an increase in followers or engagement, or you’ll find that you’ve improved your reputation in the industry because customers feel as though they can come to you over some of the ‘faceless’ competitors.
Finally, you need to be sure that you are ‘following’ the right people. Nobody will be impressed by the sheer numbers involved, it’s about the quality of the people behind the figures. For instance, if you have around 10,000 followers (ambitious admittedly), but 9,500 of them are completely random and with no connection whatsoever to your brand or service, you’re not going to get any value from them. You want to ensure that the people you are following are from the industry, interested in your company and services, and likely to engage with you when you release a Tweet, blog post or link so that you can build a relationship with them.
Ella Mason, an experienced freelance writer, wrote this article. Ella specialises in providing useful and engaging advice to small businesses. Follow her on Twitter @ellatmason