Getting started on social media: platforms, strategy, and how to bring it all together | Hitmarker | Skillshare

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Getting started on social media: platforms, strategy, and how to bring it all together

teacher avatar Hitmarker, Multi-award-winning job platform

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Defining a social media strategy


    • 3.

      Which social media platforms should you focus on?


    • 4.



    • 5.



    • 6.



    • 7.



    • 8.



    • 9.



    • 10.



    • 11.

      Setting goals that make sense


    • 12.

      Helpful social media management tools


    • 13.

      Identifying key metrics


    • 14.

      Planning your content


    • 15.

      Reuse, recycle (your social content)


    • 16.

      Creating and maintaining your brand voice


    • 17.

      How to achieve higher engagement


    • 18.

      How to boost your following


    • 19.

      Be authentic


    • 20.

      What's next?


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About This Class

A good social media strategy is essential for any brand that wants to make an impact online. Done well, you’ll develop a strong bond with your community, create brand advocates, and educate people about your product in an authentic way. But, done poorly, your time and energy will be wasted as you fail to leave an impression or—worse—leave a negative one.

To guide you through the world of social media and make your integration a seamless one, Hitmarker’s Cam Brierley will introduce you to the key platforms in 2022, what their audience demographic is, and what type of brands fare best on each one.

After you’ve decided which platforms are right for your business, this course will walk you through brand strategy and voice, putting you in a position to make social media an invaluable part of your marketing strategy.

Once you’re ready to get started, jump into the course introduction to begin building your social media strategy.

Meet Your Teacher

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Multi-award-winning job platform


Hitmarker is the leading video game job platform and has helped countless people find careers they love. Over the past four years the Hitmarker staff team has conducted hundreds of application reviews for its users, and is now bringing that knowledge to Skillshare. Expect courses on job applications, hiring practises, and plenty of other insights around modern ways of work from this multi-award-winning company.

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Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Thank you for checking out this course in how to create a social media strategy that will work for your brand and get you noticed. I'm Cam and the marketing lead here at Hitmarker. We're a multi award-winning job platform with high engagement followings across multiple social platforms. We bought these all from scratch in our four years of operation. In this course we've distilled the key learnings that we've picked up along the way. We've also included the lessons that our team has learned from working outside of our company, meaning you'll get a full scope of how you can approach social media as a brand. We've written this course, assuming that you already have a basic understanding of how to use social media, even if it's just on a personal level and a focus instead on showing you how you can create an effective social media strategy to help you achieve your business goals. Throughout the course, you'll be coached on how to create a social media strategy document from scratch. You can do this for your own personal brand, the company you work for, or even for a made up company just for the purposes of this course. We provided a template document for you to use if you wish, which can be found in the projects and resources tab below the course. But if you prefer, you can absolutely create your own. We've structured the course into easy-to-digest individual lessons to help you stay focused. We encourage you to complete the course in the intended order. Throughout the lessons, we will help you identify the platforms you should be prioritizing, how to set realistic goals that align with your business needs, discuss the tools that can help you achieve these goals, and finally, how to create and use compelling content to drive growth. These lessons will not only help you define an initial social media strategy, but also help you to adapt and adjust in the future as trends or indeed your business needs change. Let's jump into the first lesson and discuss one effective social media strategy involves. 2. Defining a social media strategy: Now more than ever, the social media marketing landscape is extremely varied and extremely competitive. More and more companies are recognizing the value of a strong social media presence for their brand, so your why's are thinking the same. If you want to build a social media presence that amplifiers your brand's goals, you need to find a strategy that first aligns with those goals. To achieve this, there are a few key steps you need to go through to ensure that your strategy is right and that social media presence is engaging and impactful. Don't panic though. We're going to take you through each one of these step-by-step. First, you need to research. Specifically, you need to research your target audience, find out what your key demographic is, where they're hanging out online, and use this information to decide which social networks you'll focus on. You also going to need to set some goals, realistic targets that make sense, and add real value to your business. With some realistic goals in mind, you'll need to identify the key metrics and KPIs, you will need to track in order to measure your progress and keep you focused on your mission. One of the most important things that you'll need to work on is a content plan. Without exciting, engaging content, your social media presence would lack impact. Your content plan needs to be creative and robust. The good news is, we're going to explain each of these steps in more detail in subsequent lessons in this course. Keep watching if you want to create the strongest social media strategy possible. 3. Which social media platforms should you focus on?: At the time of recording this course, there are no fewer than six major social media networks that are used by thousands of brands around the world. As well as a bunch of other platforms that brands and certain industries lean on, such as Pinterest, Snapchat, and Reddit. One of the early decisions you'll need to make is which of these platforms you're going to focus on. As unless you have a large team or a huge budget, it's tough to be effective across all of them. Whether one or two-person social media team would suggest that you focus on two or three primary platforms and build up your brand awareness on this. The main six platforms that we'll cover in this course, are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and TikTok. Over the next six lessons, we'll discuss a little bit about the strengths and weaknesses of each platform, as well as each of their primary demographics. In order for you to decide which platforms are right for you, now is the time to identify the users you want to target through your course is silence. We're talking about the social media strategy document is linked below this video as the course project. Using either the template document we provided or your own, write down some notes identifying your key user or customer demographics, especially age group, and gender. Then watch the next six lessons. Use your audience research to identify which of the major six platforms will work best for your business. When you finish watching those six lessons, add your priority platforms to your strategy document. 4. Twitter: In 2022 and beyond, using Twitter for your business is almost a no-brainer. With over 200 million daily users consuming the short-form content this platform specializes in, that's a pie you almost certainly want a slice of. Twitter posts are relatively easy to compose too, and with its status as one of the most popular places to discuss global news and events, it's a very popular business choice. The largest age group for Twitter users is 25-34 years old with a gender split of 62% males and 38% females. Twitter as a platform heavily favors visual content, especially short-form videos, which makes a strong visual content plan, key to finding success on the social network. It's important to keep in mind, the content has a very short lifespan on Twitter, with most posts only lasting for around 18 minutes. This makes it extremely important that your Twitter posts be short, snappy, and compelling. If you think Twitter is the right platform for you, add it to your social media strategy document along with why you think this is. Move on to our next lesson. We'll be discussing Facebook. 5. Facebook: If you're looking for maximum potential exposure for your business on social media, Facebook could be an excellent platform choice. Roughly 2.7 billion people use Facebook every single month and according to reports, 2/3 of these users say they visit a business Facebook page at least once a week. Facebook is a very versatile platform that makes it easy to engage and communicate with your audience. With the Facebook groups feature, which is used by over a billion people each month, building a community hub for your users is easy and convenient. Although the largest age group on Facebook is between 25 and 34-years-old, it's worth noting that in the US, 60% of the population aged between 57 and 75 had a Facebook account in 2019. This makes Facebook a prime place to advertise due to the higher average disposable income of this demographic. One thing to bear in mind is that the Facebook algorithm loves video content. If you can create exciting and informative and engaging videos to share with your audience, you're onto a winner. Great content is extremely shareable on Facebook, and consistently uploading and posting high-quality videos will give you a good chance of seeing considerable growth on your Facebook page. If it sounds like your business would thrive on Facebook, get it added to your strategy document. Come along as we take a look at Instagram. 6. Instagram: With over a billion active monthly users who has great value to be found and having a brand Instagram present. Platform's largest age group is 25-34 year-olds. It's one of the few major social networks with a high proportion of female users with a 57% share. Instagram or Facebook can work well together with a well-thought-out content strategy as they both run on the same ad platform, which enables great cross-promotion for both brands. Some of Instagram's useful features include stories which are great for sharing behind the scenes posts and I think character and personality to your brand. There's reels, which have the platform compete what TikTok and YouTube shorts for short form of video content consumption and of course, there's brand attach tag, which can help your brand marketability on Instagram without feeling too promotional. Instagram users respond less to the hard sell method and it's keeping your presence authentic and personable is absolutely key. Keep your image posts and video posts to a one-to-one aspect ratio and your reels to 1920 by 1080 dimension but in portrait mode. This will optimize your posts to look the best they possibly can in people's home page feed. It's important to use hashtags on Instagram too, as this can get your profile highlighted in certain feeds. As long as your posts stand out amongst the others, then you'll be hitting new users and hopefully converting them to followers. Take some time to think about whether Instagram is a platform, you want to focus your social media efforts on. If it is add it down to your social media strategy document. Is your brand are highly visual one? Do you have a variety of products to share? It can help you create a colorful and varied feed? Or your brand sells physical product? If you answered yes to any of these questions, Instagram is definitely a platform for you to consider. Remember, once we've reviewed all the major platforms, we'll revisit this section of your strategy document so you can add some notes on how you plan to approach each of the chosen platforms. In our next lesson, we're going to take a look at YouTube. 7. YouTube: You may be surprised to see YouTube in this section of our social media strategy course. But hear hear out. Not only does YouTube definitely qualify as a social network, but the video showing behemoth is also considered to be the second largest search engine on the planet with two billion monthly users, 62% of whom login to the platform every single day for an average of 41 minutes. There was a massive audience we leveraged here. With the introduction of YouTube shorts, there's also another competitor to TikTok in the short form video content arena. With 15-25 rods being the largest age group on YouTube, there's plenty of potential for brands to be discovered on this platform. Currently, however, only 18% of YouTube users claim to use website to discover brands. There's a lot of work to be done as companies try to strike the balance between entertaining and advertising to people on this platform. If you have plans for consistent, high-quality video content, YouTube could be a great platform to focus on. Make a note on your strategy document and come with me as we talk about LinkedIn in the next lesson. 8. LinkedIn: If you're interested in reaching a more professional audience, possibly with business-to-business marketing in mind, LinkedIn could be a great platform for you, with over 700 million users, and 46-55-year-olds to being the largest user age group. LinkedIn is one of the top-rated social networks for lead generation and finding motivated audience. I don't think LinkedIn only cater to an older audience though, millennials actually make up about 25% of the user-based. LinkedIn can be a great social platform for sharing business updates, industry insights, and even sharing glimpses into your company culture. Keep in mind though, that LinkedIn isn't a platform for hard selling your products and services, and the algorithm is not going to be kind if you post a lot of outbound links going out towards your own website, LinkedIn's value instead comes from the meaningful connections you can forge there. Is LinkedIn the right social network for you and your brand? Add it to your strategy document, and let's move on to the next lesson where we will discuss TikTok. 9. TikTok: TikTok may well be the cocky young upstart on the social media circuit, but in its short life span, it's already had a massive impact. Since its launch in September 2016, this video sharing focused social media network has grown to over 1.4 billion monthly users and consistently sets trends that go viral across all other social platforms. TikTok has users across the entire age spectrum, from 13 to over 50, but its largest demographic is 16-24 year old age group. It's really important to stay well informed of the latest trends across TikTok and to create content that follows these trends. This gives you the best chance of having your content appear in more feeds, reaching a larger audience. The good news about TikTok is that the algorithm completely ignores follower accounts or views on previous videos of yours when it comes to whether or not your content will be recommended to somebody else. Instead, TikTok tries to match the content to its user, and will happily present content from smaller accounts if they think it's going to be a good fit to the person they're presenting it to. This makes it a great platform for new companies and creates a devoted following. If you can regularly upload videos that not only inform, entertain your audience, you're likely to do well on TikTok. TikTok as a platform requires effort and consistency to grow. But if you're up for the challenge, then add this social media network to your strategy documents and make some notes on the type of videos that you can see yourself posting on the platform. If you do dive into TikTok, you should spend some time familiarizing yourself with the types of popular content on the platform. Posts that go viral tend to be a very specific style, so immersing yourself in the platform, is very important to make sure that you can do the same. Next, we're going to be discussing how your company can use Discord as a social media tool. Come with me, and let's take a look. 10. Discord: Discord has skyrocketed in popularity among companies over the last few years with many established brands creating their own servers and using them to grow and nurture their communities. Discord enables brands to bring their core community together in a close, intimate setting. This allows staff to be able to directly build relationships with individuals using your product, which is key when creating a community of low users and brand applicants. It's a place where the people who interact with your company can do so in a much more personal way than most other social media platforms allow. It makes it an especially powerful tool to use when you already have an established community. Additionally, it offers a platform on which you can host engaging virtual events for your users, such as networking events, game nights, and more. This gives you the chance to engage with the community members who might not be located in the same country or even continent as you. But the focus of these events can be entirely up to you. Maybe you want to use them to share expert insights or show early access products to the most investment members of your community or even just to kick back and have some fun and strengthen your connection to people supporting your company. Whatever it is, there's a lot of value to be had in a Discord server when you have the following to make it inactive and engaging place started. Nobody wants a join an inactive server, so I would recommend that you establish yourself on more mainstream social platforms first, before introducing Discord into the range of channels that you use. This will help ensure a strong launch and lessens the risk of committing time to a server only a few people end up using. If you think a Discord server could be of benefit to your brand in the future or perhaps even now, add it to your social media strategy document and include what the main purpose of the server would be. Now that we've discussed all the major players as far as social media platforms go, and hopefully, you've got a decent idea of what to focus your efforts, we're going to ask you to join us as we move on to talk about setting goals for your social media strategy. 11. Setting goals that make sense: Now that you have an idea of where you want to be active on social media? It's time to turn our attention to why you want to be there in the first place. We won't be going into too much depth on each metric that can be used as an objective, either as a mountain or a growth target. As the most important ones, we will have their time to shine later on in this course. We will assume that things like engagement or following will be the first things in your mind when it comes to goals in social media, but there is a lot that can be gained outside of the real stats that can help your brand. Your social media accounts, in most cases, aren't the end point of your brand. You likely have a website you want customers to visit, a product you want people to buy, or a service you want to be used. In these cases, converting impressions and engagement into clicks, and page views, and ultimately sales should be a goal you set. Having a lot of followers who love your memes and videos is great. But if none of them use your product or service and it's not achieving what you need from a business standpoint, this doesn't mean that your entire social media strategy should be appraised solely on click-through though, nor should it just be about making people retweet or share your posts? Social media is complicated and multifaceted, so your aims for it should be too. You want to have a few different targets in mind at any given time. Just aiming to work on one area, maybe okay initially, between two single-minded on one area can also hurt your brand overall. It feel that other facets won't. Therefore, you need to decide what matters to you and trying to have aims in two or three areas that support that overall objective. The last thing to think about when deciding where to set goals is, how to balance, how ambitious, and realistic your targets are? Setting goals too low could have motivational strive for improvement and easy targets won't really help your brand. On the other hand, being too ambitious can lead more mist goals, which doesn't look or feel great and can make you feel like you want to achieve in a great deal. The safest rule of thumb then, it's a set targets that you'd be proud of achieving or also being able to do so in a realistic time-frame. You should maybe give or take about 20 percent of when you think about achieve something to give it some leeway of when it could actually happen. This means that we're pushing yourself to make everything happen in time for your goals, but you won't be fighting a very steep hill that actually feels unrealistic or impossible. Having multiple goals really helps in this area as even if you fall short in one of them, there's still other positives that can come from other areas of your strategy. Once a goal is achieved, its high fives all around before you set a new one to take its place. You very rarely want to stand still on social media, especially when it comes to growth improvement, so don't be idle for too long. We want you to have a think and set yourself three clear goals for your brand in social media as your lesson assignment. Make some notes on what you want to get out of your accounts, and turn these into things that can be quantified, and achieved. You should also have to think about how you will likely be gone about achieving your goals, but don't go too far down that path before moving on to our next few lessons, we'll be covering those in there. A few ideas of what you could aim to achieve from social media to get started, products sales, leads generated, phone calls made, brand recognition, website traffic, or messages from people interested in using your service. Once you've outlined a few goals that work for your business, we will be introducing you to some useful tools you should be looking at to make your life on social media that little bit easier. 12. Helpful social media management tools: Now that you've set some realistic goals for your brand social media, it can still be daunting to make the first moves towards achieving them. The good news here is that you're not alone in this endeavor. There are a number of tools that you and your team can use that will set you up for success. These will make your job so much easier in multiple different ways, as well as making your social media feed more effective and more present. Having a scheduling tool for your social media is almost essential. Your social media presence will need to be consistent. We're talking around the clock coverage, post multiple time zones and even some over the weekends, there were also online tools that can help you analyze your social media performance, providing in-depth reporting and analysis on your metrics. The first tool that you should take a look at is Tweetdeck. This is a free dashboard application designed to make managing Twitter accounts easier,. Owned by Twitter themselves, this application integrates seamlessly with the social networks interface and can help with monitoring engagement, scheduling, as well as tracking hashtags and search terms that are of interest to your brand. If your company's active on Twitter, then you should absolutely be using Tweetdeck. For a more comprehensive tool, you should look into Buffer, Hootsuite, or Sprout Social. All three of these offer publishing calendar/scheduling functionality, as well as analytics and reporting features. Finding a tool that works for you is a decision that should be made after some research, you shouldn't just dive into it, and that is the class assignment for this lesson. Take some time to research these tools as well as any others that you are aware of and evaluate which might be best for your brand. Take into consideration each platform's feature set, cost, and user interface. Most offer a free trial so you can get some hands-on experience before you choose which one to commit to. Once you've completed your research, add your choice of social media management tool to your work in progress, social media strategy document. Next, we're going to take a look at what data will help you to stay on track and inform your content strategy to drive growth in your social media plans. 13. Identifying key metrics: How do you know if you've been growing and achieving your goals? With data, of course! That's why this lesson is all about, how to identify key metrics and what they actually mean. Let's jump in with the big one, reach. Reach, called impressions on some sites, it's simply the number of users that see your posts. They don't have to interact with them, or acknowledge the post, but they all count towards your overall reach. After all, people can't interact in your content, much less by or be converted, if you don't even see them in the beginning, so you can view reach, as basically, the beginning of your social media funnel. Reach can turn into engagement and sales, and then you and your team into a happy social media squad. We mentioned engagement just there so let's backtrack a little bit and explore what that actually means. Engagement refers to how many people interact with your content. Either by liking it, sharing it, or commenting on it. Your engagement rate should absolutely be a goal that you set yourself as a social media manager, as it shows that people who see your posts are interested enough to interact with them. High engagement is the dream of every social media manager, as it shows you're providing posts of value to the people that you want to be in your community. For many businesses, click-through is perhaps the most important metric to be watching, unless social media is 100 percent of your brand. We spoke earlier in this course about setting goals to convert users on social into customers or leads, and measuring how many people clicked through to your website or your products is a great way of seeing how well you're doing in this regard. Generally speaking then, in terms of social media, impressions are good, engagement is better, and click-through is best. To bring people from social's on to your website, you should give them as many opportunities to do so as you can. We're talking website links in your bio, website links in your social posts, and other directions to check out your products or services. Remember, they currently seeing you on social media, and if you want to convert them to a website user, customer, or client, you need to make it easy for them to do so. Therefore, the more opportunities you give them to click through to your website the better. Remember to actually provide your users with frequent opportunities to click through to your site or services, and make your other channels of social media - like website - prominent on your account page. Now that we know these three main metrics and how they link together with your business goals, we can start thinking about the data of how you measure these targets. Most social platforms will have their own analytics platforms for this exact purpose. Make it a weekly task of yours to go over data, in broad strokes, and a monthly task to fully evaluate your performance over the past 30-days. This will help you replicate what is done well in the future, as well as stay away from anything that's done poorly from the last month. For your assignment, let's link up the goals you've already listed on your strategy document and the data we've discussed here. How are they related? How can you best monitor and quantify your targets? We want you to link a data point to each target you've listed down and decide what's best to show your progress. Is it reach? Is it impressions? Is it click-through? Or is it something else? Then we can move onto your next lesson, which is all about planning your content. 14. Planning your content: We've spoken a lot about the macro concept of social media. The platforms and goal setting, as well as the tools and data behind it. It's about time then that we looked at the more micro concepts, that is the stuff that we're actually posting and providing to your audience. Your social media is nothing without your content, So let's talk about how you can make this the absolute best it can be. Before we kick off, make sure that you always keep your brand message in mind. The type of content that you produce will largely be dictated by the people that you're trying to reach, and therefore they're crucial to keep in mind whenever you're planning any social posts. First, let's talk about stories or the limited-time content. This is interactive content that only remains on your account for a short period of time., and it appears high up on the page or app for your users. Stories are great for driving impressions as they keep a brand front and center for people and they can tap into FOMO, which is fear of missing out. Stories are great for content that doesn't serve too much purpose outside of creating a personality for your brand, like fun little videos or posts that won't have much relevance in the future. This can be event use, for example. Keeping with the visual theme, short-form video content is arguably the most valuable content you can put out for your brand. It's been picked up on by social media platforms with the likes of TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter profiles, all benefiting from videos that are short and snappy. It's fairly obvious that the higher the production value of this content, the more professional your brand will look, but at its basic level, all you need to make short-form video content is a smartphone and an idea. Graphical content outside of videos should also be a staple of your social media feed. Well-made graphics and gifs can be one of the main assets that set your brand apart from the competition. Adding an image to a post almost always increases how well it does because it becomes much more eye-catching. Well, text-only post can do well, graphics are what you want the lion's share of your content to be if you have the ability to produce top-quality assets. Something that is always worth considering when deciding how to use different media is what your competitors are doing. You shouldn't be derivative with the content at all, but seeing what people are doing in the same space as you helps spark ideas for future ideas that are going to be unique to yourself. Remember to always consider quality versus quantity when deciding what kind of content you want to be posting. If you don't have the means to create high-quality videos then don't shoehorn them into your plan. It's just going to look poor. Instead, you want to try and create a good number of posts that can be valuable for your target audience without harming the timeline. Too many posts and you risk your followers becoming bored or annoyed at you. Too little, then they forget about you entirely. Your assignment for this lesson is to have another look back at your social media goals and decide what kind of content will best help you achieve them best between limited-time stories, videos, graphics, and text posts. Add these ideas to your planning documents and then head over to the next lesson. We'll focus on the balance between different types of content you'll post on your feed. 15. Reuse, recycle (your social content): Now, let's talk about how we should be balancing content between reactive and evergreen posts and how you can make your content work for you even after it's been posted. Some of your content is bound to be reactive, that is to say, content that's only going to be valuable in the here and now. Stories and other time-sensitive posts, as well as most interactions with other brands and trends should be a minor way in which you use time. You can't really make these posts relevant in the long term, so don't worry about spending hours and hours in this area. Instead, you want most of your content to be evergreen. Posts and content that can create value and be relevant to people long after it's been made. The way that you can do this depends on your brand. As some will have an easier time of creating content, that will be worth revisiting at six months than others. Article and video content can often remain relevant after they've been posted since the message of longform content is often designed to survive for years to come. This is obviously not true in every case with event and sale announcement videos being a clear example of when this doesn't hold true, but generally, you can generally consider longer-form content to have a longer lifespan. You shouldn't just throw your content out to the public and leave it at that, especially if you want to maximize the reaction to and value of the post. Try resharing the post at a different time of day to catch a different demographic of user. For example, if you posted something at mid-day for Europe, consider re-sharing it in the evening to the US demographic. Doing this means you can reach people who may not have seen the original post if it was shared at 2:00 AM for them. You can also try this a couple of days after your content was posted, as it can grab people who are either busy or just not online the day that you first made your tweet. Scheduling tools like Buffer can help you reshare existing content at different post time or date. Content can also be reframed, assuming that's a very narrow piece and used to create several different posts. For example, if you make a video that explains five things within your area of expertise, you can also break this down into five different social posts for a different platform. This way, you've done the research once but gained twice the value from it. Avoid posting the same video or content multiple times in quick succession as this will bore your followers. But spreading it out among a few days or weeks can help you catch new eyes with a fresh angle. If you're a talented editor, you can also edit old content to make new posts with the same raw footage or research. This takes a little longer than a simple repost or retweet but is a high-value option if you have the time to do so. The final option is tracking your content and using it in a reactive fashion. Have you seen somebody who's tweeting about wanting to know how to invest in stocks and have you got an on-brand article that explains how to do just that? Link it to them. You might build a new follower or user. Knowing what you have to offer, and offering it to the community, and those who aren't even part of the community just yet is a good way of finding new eyes for your work. Don't spam it all over the place as this will only bother people, but be tactical, and it'll likely build you a new fan. If you follow these tips, you should have a varied and efficient social media presence that doesn't need a new post every single second to gain traction. Next up, we'll be looking at your brand's voice. 16. Creating and maintaining your brand voice: We've spoken a lot already about what kind of content you should be creating, but it's just as important to know how to present that content. This lesson is all about creating a brand voice and maintaining it throughout your social media strategy. Your brand should be something that people want to interact with, but you also want to avoid slipping into too much of a casual tone. You want to remain professional, but show some personality and prove that there is a human behind the words and graphics. This can be a fine line to walk, and if in doubt you should verge on the side of professionalism, but doing this correctly will give you a really powerful social media presence. The general social media audience responds best to brands that are engaging, transparent, and offer strong customer service. We'll quickly break down each of these and suggest how your brand voice can make your brand successful in these three areas. When it comes to being engaging, content is king. If your content is bland, it won't reach very many people. Even if your product isn't the most exciting thing ever, that's no excuse for bland content. Job postings at their core are just job postings, but we've managed to create our social media presence that people want to follow. Avoid being too corporate, interact with your audience and couple your posts with graphic and video support to create an engaging brand voice. Transparency and honesty go hand in hand, and in most cases this will be automatic to adopt into your brand voice. You earn your stripes as a social media manager by how you respond to things when they go wrong. When serious issues arise, you need to be honest and treat them with respect and sincerity. You want your brand to be one that people can trust, and building that up takes effort and consistency. You might have to deviate from your natural brand voice in times of trouble, for example, if your normal tone is quite loose and informal, you wouldn't use this one announcing a delay in shipping people's orders, it just wouldn't be correct, but you should revert back to your brand voice once the storm has passed to maintain consistency in your feed. Equally, when small issues arise, such as small typos in social media posts, feel free to own the mistake and let it humanize your brand a little. You should absolutely treat a customer service query with care, but if you've used the wrong form of your in a post, then feel free to make a joke out of it if the community does highlight it. On the customer service point, remember that you're one member of a larger team in this department. A social media manager may well be the first point of contact for a user, but you don't need to be an encyclopedia on every single issue. Respond to queries in a timely fashion, but remember that this can just be a case of knowledge in the query and saying you'll check things out and get back to the person. You're unlikely to be the head of social media, sales, operations, HR and shipping, and if you are, we think you need a little pay rise, so instead, consider customer service on social media, almost like a directory. If you can solve a problem for somebody yourself, then do so. If not, find the person in your team who's best suited to deal with that problem and pass the information onto them. You should always do your research as well before responding to customer service queries and know when to tag in your team for assistance. Keep in mind your tone as well. Something that may be minor to you or seem like a small issue, may be a massive one to somebody who uses your platform or product, so be respectful in your messaging. Remember that if you've switched to a more formal tone and answer a DM to switch back into your regular brand voice for the next public message that you post. The last thing to note is that while your approach on different platforms may be different, your brand voice should largely remain consistent. Yes, your LinkedIn copy is going to be more formal than your TikTok content based on the nature of the platforms, but that doesn't mean you want to be writing long paragraphs on one and swearing on the other, it doesn't match up. Somebody seeing both posts should be able to recognize that it's your brand behind it just from how it's presented. To recap then, you want to be approachable as a brand but still professional. You want to be honest and engaging and know how to adapt your tone from situation to situation. Finally, you want to be consistent in what your brand voice is, even if the content or general audiences shifts a little from platform to platform. Next up, we'll be looking at how you can raise engagement with your social media content. Join us in that next class. 17. How to achieve higher engagement: We've already mentioned why engagement is so important on social media, so we thought it would be valuable to set aside a whole lesson to bring these ideas together so you have everything that you need to create an engaging feed. Staying up to date with your community will help you when it comes to engagement. People on social media love following the latest trends, that's what makes some trends after all. Keeping your eyes and how your brand can make up-to-date content around the latest trend or meme will make it more appealing to interact with. On the other hand, creating late or out of touch content can make your brand seem dull. You don't want always be trend chasing, but you should be evaluating what's in conversation at any given time and if you can utilize it. This leads us to the question of how can I stay up-to-date with what's happening in my industry and on social media in general? Well, we do have a few handy resources to recommend here, but the easiest way is to make sure that you spend some time every single day scrolling down your feed. If you're following relevant industry accounts, your homepage feed can give you valuable insight into what's trending in your space. You should also be checking relevant industry journals and websites on a regular basis. To keep informed of trends within the social media space, specifically, resources like HubSpot and the Content Marketing Institute are well-worth utilizing. Don't underestimate the power of a meme. Social media loves a good meme, and although you don't want to flood your feed with them, they can be a valuable tool to increase engagement, add some character to your posts, and communicate your brand message in a creative way. The r/memeeconomy subreddit can be an excellent place to find new trending meme templates that you can modify to work for your brand. Something that is going to incentivize your community to interact with your brand is to truly value them. Keep your ear to the ground and see what your followers are interested in, and if you're struggling, you can always just ask. Ask what your community is interested in and then provide that if you can. It gives them no excuse not to interact after doing that. After you've drafted a great post, that your community will want to see, how do we get eyes on it? We spoke about this already in this course, but utilizing graphics and videos is an excellent way of making your content pop. It's also a great way of boosting engagement metrics as watching a video or interacting with the picture, counts as a form of engagement. You can't make every post an amazing video or graphic, of course, but utilizing them for the ones you really want to do well, will give them that extra boost. Engagement shouldn't be your only goal though and remembering that social media success isn't only defined by numbers is important, but we hope these tips can turbocharge your content engagement in the future. Now, let's move on to our next lesson where we'll talk about how to grow your following. 18. How to boost your following: In this lesson, we're going to focus on how you successfully grow your following across your social media accounts. Firstly, when it comes to follower growth, it's about quality, not quantity. This means you should never be using services like bought followers to artificially engineer growth. Buying followers may look impressive at first glance and feel like an easy route to your end goal, but they don't engage with your content or buy into your brand, and are therefore a waste of time and money. Instead, focus on creating and sharing eye-catching and engaging content on your social media, which will give people incentive to follow you, as well as to engage with your posts. No matter what goals you have or which social media channels you use, it's important to have original content to share with your audience, otherwise what makes your channels unique and attractive? Another strategy that can instantly create buzz around your brand are giveaways. Giveaways or contests are a great way to start an online conversation about your brand. A good social media giveaway should accomplish both of the methods mentioned in this lesson. It should feature a highly shareable post, which will drive social shares by itself, or the giveaway entry criteria should accomplish a secondary goal of growing your social media audience by requiring entrants to follow you on the various platforms that you're active on. Lastly, never be afraid to use paid advertising across your social media platforms. It's not cheating and can create some really amazing results, especially for newly created social media accounts. It gets you those first few followers. Not only does paid advertising fast track you to your goals, but it also boosts the reach of your posts, increasing your visibility to potential new followers. Just make sure you're committing to spend to a platform you know you're going to be on for the long-term. This comes back to why choosing the correct social platform for your business is so important. If you're not confident on how long you're going to be on a certain platform, then it's best to test the waters with organic content to begin with. The key points to creating a successful social media presence for your brand consists of eye-catching/engaging content, on trend discussions, engaging with your audience, and the perfect balance between organic and paid promotion. It's time now to move on and discuss one of the most important aspects of a social media presence, being authentic. 19. Be authentic: Welcome to our penultimate lesson in this social media strategy course. In this one, we're going to be focusing on the importance of maintaining an authentic personality and tone of voice across your social media channels, and ultimately the benefits this can bring your brand. Followers aren't interested in brands, the post dry, corporate style social media posts. Instead, it's important to allow your brand's personality, quirks, and values to shine through the content you produce. Don't be afraid to be playful. It's crucial to remain human throughout your content also, and focus on responding to your community, the replies to your content and user concerns. Not only does this help drive off your engagement, but also assists in building a closer bond with members of your community. Remember where possible to acknowledge and respond to suggestions from your followers and community. As users respect to brand that accepts and acts on feedback. Followers want to see the real people behind your social profiles and get to know them, rather than a stuffy persona with no personality. Define your brand voice into something people will enjoy engaging with and stay authentic to that. Now, join me in our final lesson as we talk about what comes next and how to put your social media strategy into action. 20. What's next?: Congratulations on making it to the final lesson in our social media strategy course. By now, you should have a completed social media strategy document outlining which platforms you plan to be active on, what type of content you'll post there, and what you want your brand voice to feel like. Now, it's time to put all that preparation into action. Set yourself up a content calendar and start creating the content you know your audience will love. It's important to remember that social media is extremely fast moving, and you need to be adaptable. Setting a strong strategy is the first step, but trends will change and your strategy will need to be able to evolve over time to make sure that your social media presence remains relevant. Don't fall into the trap of thinking the strategy you've built up up to this point at this course will work forever. Unfortunately, it won't, so make sure you regularly review your social media processes, and value what is and isn't working, and adjust your strategy based on that. Remember too, that social media is a collaborative sector. Reach out to other organizations, brands, individuals, or influencers to partner with, and you'll see you'll reach growth from doing so. Finally, make sure to have fun with it. If you have fun creating and sharing your content, this will be apparent to your audience, and they'll appreciate that and have fun with you along the way. Thanks very much for taking our social media course. We hope you found it valuable, and if you did, please leave us a review down below. With all that said, from all of us here at Hitmarker, take care, and the best of luck with all your future social media endeavors.