15 creative ways to up your brand’s social media game

L-R: Jen McClure, Natalie Ruiz, Matthew Palis, Jacquay Henderson, Jawad Shaikh, Michael Akin, Eric Moraczewski, Rodger Roeser, Billy Hodges, Vinnie Fisher, David Landis, Jerry Ramos, E. Tanner Milne, Chris Friel, Hinda Mitchell

The Business Journals Leadership Trust

Business Journals Leadership Trust is an invite-only network of influential business leaders, executives and entrepreneurs in your community.

With so many consumers and businesses using social media, it’s a smart strategy for any business to establish a strong presence on the channels its target audience uses. There are several social media platforms to choose from, it’s generally easy to set up accounts and content can be shared 24/7.

However, perfecting a social media strategy — from the direction and creation of content to measuring ROI — isn’t so simple. There’s fierce competition for audience attention, and just throwing up posts for the sake of having a fresh feed is likely to be counterproductive.

But when you approach social media marketing with a smart plan, it can be a formidable tool for building and maintaining a loyal following. To help, 15 members of Business Journals Leadership Trust share creative ways leaders can improve their company’s social media game. Follow their advice to start achieving better results for your business on social media.

1. Understand the potential impact of social media on your business.

Social media has been feared, misunderstood, seen simply as a free marketing tool or treated as an afterthought by many leaders. You must understand the importance of social media to business. Social media is a crucial toolset for many things: branding, communications, customer support, employee engagement, marketing, sales, recruiting, customer insights, warrants investment, expertise and a seat at the table. – Jen McClure, JEM

2. Define success for your business.

Be clear about your company’s goals with social media. B2B and B2C organizations will likely show up differently, but staying on-brand and on-message are important for all of us, and engagement usually means more than likes or follows. However, each organization needs to define success for themselves and keep experimenting. – Natalie Ruiz, AnswerConnect

3. Understand the challenges.

Social media is certainly filled with noise these days, and getting someone’s attention through the noise can be challenging. Understand your expectations when investing in social media. Looking for ROI quickly? If so, social media is probably not an ideal marketing time or money investment — unless it’s paid advertising on social media. Getting an engaged social audience is a marathon, not a sprint. – Matthew Palis, Infront Webworks

4. Document your company’s journey.

With so much curated content out there, I’ve often found myself wanting to make the “perfect” post. Social media should be about showcasing your company’s journey and brand. The real goal should be documenting your journey and tailoring that message toward one or two audiences you would like to reach. – Jacquay Henderson, Square Peg Technologies

5. Promote your company culture.

Highlight your employees coming together — anything from a virtual social hour to a virtual conference. After a year that made working from home the new norm, show your viewers that your teams are still able to come together, and do so regularly. Not only does this give your feed some variety, but it also helps promote your company’s culture! – Jawad Shaikh, Avelead

6. Leverage your personal platforms.

If comfortable, leaders can use their personal social media platforms to humanize their companies. People like following people far more than brands. Be authentic. Be you. Think about how your “personal” and “professional” platforms can work together. – Michael Akin, LINK Strategic Partners

Business Journals Leadership Trust is an invitation-only network of influential business leaders, executives and entrepreneurs in your community. Do I qualify?

7. Create audience personas.

Identify your target audience and aggregate their information into personas, allowing you to understand who they are engaging with, how they engage, which platforms they prefer and so on. Knowing your audience and their interests allows you to better align your messaging, when you’re posting and to which platforms. You don’t need to do it on an individual basis; a few personas will get you there. – Eric Moraczewski, NMBL Strategies

8. Find out what your brand champions care about.

Too many organizations look inward when thinking of social media instead of finding out what their brand champions care about. If you make concrete, your social media posts need not be about making concrete — instead, showcase some amazing things the product can do. Survey and talk with your best clients about what they want to see, and focus on what the customer is interested in. – Rodger Roeser, The Eisen Agency

9. Consider how you’re interacting with your audience.

In general, it’s important to remember one’s audience and how we are interacting. For me, tagging a customer in an article is usually too presumptuous, as it makes a very public connection with them. I have found most of my customers are happier to have an engaging conversation on a topic when I share the content in a private message rather than tagging them and putting them on the spot. – Billy Hodges, Digital Filaments

10. Keep an eye on what the younger generations are doing.

Social media and its tactics are ever-changing, and one of the best ways you can constantly improve is just by watching the young. I have children and they teach me new trends and ways to get the most views and results out of the content I am putting up. – Vinnie Fisher, Fully Accountable

11. Prioritize engagement over broadcasting.

Don’t think of social media as broadcasting. Think of it as engaging. Ask your audience questions. Posit challenges to share information. And make sure you yourself engage and respond — not doing so is the biggest mistake newcomers to social media make. – David Landis, Landis Communications Inc. (LCI)

12. Seek to initiate instant conversation.

Social media should not be bland. Your company’s social media pages shouldn’t be billboards, they should be something that can initiate an instant conversation with competitors, colleagues and clients. It’s important to engage your audience and respond to any comments or questions — otherwise, they can grow bored with and ignore the content you’re posting. – Jerry Ramos, Ramos Consulting, LLC

13. Seek to make your employees ambassadors.

Post content that your employees want to share on their personal social media accounts. If your employees don’t act as your brand ambassadors, your other followers won’t either. You also reach a greater audience when your employees share your updates. – E. Tanner Milne, Menlo Group Commercial Real Estate

14. Connect with other leaders and experts.

By connecting with other leaders and experts in social media groups and communities, leaders can develop a bigger range of knowledge, ensure their reputation and create professional relationships. I recommend making a list to determine which groups or communities it would be beneficial to participate in and sending a request to join them. This allows you to participate, grow and improve with many other like-minded leaders. – Chris Friel, VoDaVi Technologies

15. Hire someone to help.

Social media is just that: social. Once you have platforms, you have to continue “feeding” them by posting relevant content, creating conversations and engaging with followers, industry leaders and influencers of your business. If you don’t have the internal staffing to dedicate to social community management, consider getting outside support from a freelance expert or agency. – Hinda Mitchell, Inspire PR Group

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