Each month, I'm inviting guest contributors to speak about additional timely, relevant and sought-after topics that are important for cause-focused organizations to be aware of as they grow. For April, I've invited my friend and former co-worker, Jen Wilder, to share about social media since that is always a hot topic.
Q. What are the latest trends in your industry?
A. In social media, we continue to communicate more and more in videos, live streams, and images. With the addition of Instagram Stories last year, we see people letting us into the organic texture of their lives that isn’t readily perceived through their perfectly staged and lit product shots found in the standard Instagram feed.
This year, Instagram added a gallery option where multiple images are shared in one post, accessed by the user swiping to the right. And Facebook continues to dominate with making live streaming available to all users. We get some inside looks we want to see, and others we don’t. Ha!
Lately, I’ve been reading about “Dark Social,” which is the traffic websites receive that isn’t linked to a referral, such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. Dark Social is sharing that’s happening one to one in private emails, or via texting, or even through texting apps. In fact, some estimate that Dark Social is responsible for 80+ percent of traffic to sites. Hootsuite has a great article about what Dark Social is and how to attempt to measure it—though, it won’t ever be completely measurable.
Q. What is the biggest mistake you see people making in terms of their social media?
A. Some of the businesses that I see struggling lack imagery, lack personality in their copy, and lack consistency. It’s mind-boggling how much more we click on links with images than static text links. So, add images! And images with copy overlaid get even more clicks. Sites like Canva and Adobe Spark make it easy to create these shareable images.
With copy, you want to make sure you sound human, that your headlines are intriguing, that you’re asking questions to get those scrolling on Facebook to stop and click. Be authentic and interesting in your approach.
But images and copy don’t matter if you’re not consistent. When you show up sporadically, even if your content is killer, it will be hard for people to stay engaged and interested. To stay in front of your audience on social, you have to show up in their feeds regularly. Set up a schedule and get your great content in front of your customers’ eyes!
Q. What is your best piece of advice for people regarding social media?
A. It’s hard to nail down THE best piece of advice, so I’ll probably give you a couple here.
It’s okay to pick one social channel—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.—that fits your brands communication style and put your efforts into it first. You can develop into other social channels, certainly. But start with one and put out great content—content that your audience wants to see and read more about.
And that leads me to content. If we think back to when I mentioned Dark Social, and the fact that upward of 80% of Web traffic may be shared one to one, then that tells us that content is driving those shares. It also tells us that the Web, sans the myriad of social channels cropping up day in and day out, is already social. We’re going to share good content whether there’s a Facebook or Twitter or Instagram.
Be intentional about thinking through the problems and questions your customers are asking. Then create content around answering your customers questions, solving their problems and showing them that your company is their solution.
Q. What is one thing readers can do this week to improve their social media?
A. Go to one of the image-design sites and create images to go with your blog articles, or to ask questions of your customers. Post that to social media with a link to your site, or one of your blog articles.
Q. Anything else we should keep in mind?
A. One thing I didn’t yet cover is the importance of developing an email list. With an email list, you have very personal access to your customers. So, come up with a resource you can give away—a white paper, worksheets, coupon codes—and ask people to sign up for your email list. Having this email list tells you that these are people who want to hear from you. They like you and they want whatever it is you’re selling. So, be a good steward of this email list and give them a high amount of value and time.
Jennifer Wilder is a social media professional who helps brands reach customers through online conversations. Over the last decade, she has worked with LifeWay Christian Resources, Leading The Way, The reThink Group/Orange, and The John Maxwell Company. With her husband, she is soon to be buying a new house and getting a dog . . . and maybe a kid or two.
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I'm Kristi Porter, and I started Signify to provide writing, consulting and strategy services to nonprofits and for-profit organizations with a social mission, primarily through copywriting, marketing and business communications. I believe that cause-focused organizations like yours are the future of business. You're proof that companies can both make money and do good. And I'm here to help you get noticed and grow. When you succeed, we all win.