Updated: Sep 21, 2020
While one of the best ways to reach people with information about your company, products and services is through social media, it’s still a bit tricky in these pre-regulation times. Until the FDA and other agencies release clear rules on messaging, the main social media platforms are hesitant to grant full access to their promotional tools. This doesn’t mean you can’t have a presence and still start building up awareness and a community, it just means you will have to choose your words carefully, and be ready to adapt once rules are announced that may affect the platform’s policies.
DEFINE YOUR AUDIENCE
Just as you want to highlight what differentiates your brand from the competition, you also want to be sure you are clear on the audience you are targeting.
Who are your ideal customers?
Geographic boundaries - Where do your customers live?
Demographics - What is the age range?
Are they mostly male, female or both?
What is their typical education level?
What is their income range?
Are they single or married?
Do they have children?
Interests - What interests do your ideal customers have?
Are they health-driven?
Do they prefer products with natural and organic ingredients?
Are they early adopters of new technologies?
Are they environmentally-conscious?
Do they follow professional sports, if so which ones?
Are there certain influencers who appeal to them?
CHOOSE YOUR SOCIAL PLATFORMS
Once you are clear on who your audience is, decide which social media platforms are best suited to reaching them. Be sure to link the accounts you create to your website to make it easy for visitors to find the information they are looking for.
CUSTOMIZE YOUR CONTENT
Based on what you know about your audience, create content that will be most interesting to them.
Remember, this is SOCIAL media, so find ways to engage your audience using humor, polls, questions and posts that will encourage them to respond. Their comments and actions will help you better understand what interests them most, so you can hone future content to avoid topics that get no response and do more of the kind of thing that elicits a reaction.
As much as possible, share original content you create, versus stock photos. The audience wants to know who is behind your company and how the product is made. The more welcoming and transparent you can be with content about your company, products, and services, the more authentic you will come across.
Creating an editorial calendar can help you plan ahead and develop some consistency in style. For example, you might decide to post an insider look at your operation every Tuesday, and something fun and lighthearted every Friday. The frequency of your posting is something you can work out with trial-and-error over time as you notice which days and times tend to reach the most people. There are some apps, like Sprout Social (a subscription-based service) and Hootsuite (which has a free option) that can help with social media planning and analytics you may want to consider using.
Social media is inherently meant to be eye-catching, as it is viewed on screens. Always be thinking about the visuals that can grab attention and support the copy. Video has movement, which is naturally going to attract the eye and prompt a visitor to stop scrolling and watch. Be sure any audio is good quality, and consider adding subtitles. Make it interesting, quick and easy for the viewer to watch and get the message. Smartphone video and simple editing apps can create good quality content.
Images should be colorful, interesting and whenever possible original. Infographics are a great way to present information visually if you have some statistics to share.
ADVERTISING ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Platforms like Facebook and Instagram make promotion as easy as a few clicks of the mouse. You will also find that sometimes an ad you submit will be rejected for “violating standards.” These standards change frequently and can be confusing, so be prepared to spend some time testing through trial-and-error with small amounts of money before increasing your budget. Also, you may find that if you appeal an ad denial it will be approved after review. Each platform has tutorials to help explain what works best with their system.
SHARE RELEVANT INDUSTRY NEWS
The 80/20 rule of thumb is good to follow when creating your monthly content calendar. Only 20% of your content should be promotional in nature. The majority of what you post should be relevant but not built around a call-to-action or brand awareness goal. One way to become a trusted subject matter expert is to curate news content related to the industry. It is helpful to set up a way to easily monitor and gather topical news with an app like feedly or flipboard. You can also set Google Notifications for keywords to make sure you don’t miss any important developments for your own knowledge, or that you may wish to share in a timely manner.
Using social media to engage your desired audience without welcoming the wrath of the federal government should absolutely be part of your promotional mix, and is the kind of thing a good PR company can manage for you, if your human resources do not allow enough time to do a thorough job.