Yesterday, I attended two courses at Google Digital Garage in Sunderland about Social Media Strategy and Writing for Social Media.
Social Media Strategy
Did you know there are 44 million active users of social media in the UK? The social media strategy course is one hour, and helps you understand how you can it to help your business or blog grow, including discussing the different platforms available, when to use each, how to create a strategy, and how to measure your success.
I was surprised to learn, the average age for Facebook is 35 – 70. The younger generation avoid it as it’s not cool to be on the same platform as your parents. Facebook is a great all rounder as you can use text, photos and video content, plus it has business features built in. You can also create and grow communities where people add and respond to each others content, a great example being UK Days Out – Reviews and Recommendations.
Twitter is primarily a public relations tool to get short written messages (280 characters max) out quickly, although there is a pin option to place priority posts at the top of your page. Twitter allows you to write and quickly search for content via your twitter handle/name (starting @) and hashtags (#).
For younger users (and an increasing numbers of older users), Instagram is the place to be. Owned by Facebook, it’s a visual tool which focuses on photos and videos. You can edit photos in the app, add filters of all kinds, and create collages with a linked app called Layout.
Vlogging (blogging via video) is becoming ever more popular, and can be a great way to show a new side to you and your business. You can take and edit your own videos within the Photos Assistant app. Google Digital Garage can advise on other equipment and software if you’re interested in taking it to the next level.
LinkedIn is a formal channel, which is well regarded among professionals. It’s a good way to network with others in your industry, and showcase products and events. It’s also used by head hunters so could help you secure a pay rise.
These social media platforms are all free methods to promote and entice a range of different audiences to view content on your blog or business website.
Writing for social media
This 1.5 hour course is about how to create compelling content and develop a tone of voice that’s right for your business/blog. It includes thinking about your values and how you want to come across, getting to know your audience, different writing techniques, and how to respond to comments and complaints.
I enjoyed the practical element – the tutor asked us about our own visions and techniques. It was so interesting to learn from others, and hear real life examples.
Catch people’s attention
We discussed techniques for catching people’s attention, and it doesn’t have to cost…
Think the Ice Bucket Challenge – who doesn’t like to see videos of close friends and family having a bucket of ice tipped over their head all for a good cause. This raised much needed awareness and funds for the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis when it first went viral in Jul/Aug 2014.
Poundland had a successful (despite being banned) naughty elves campaign where elves were filmed doing naughty things like tying up Barbie.
Starbucks are famous for purposely spelling people’s names wrong on their coffee cup, as this can provoke people to post a photo complaining about it. Free publicity. Believe it or not, this prompts others to buy coffee to see if it will happen to them!
Human’s of New York has over 20K followers on social media. It started as a photography project in 2010. The initial goal was to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers on the street. Since then, quotes and short stories from their lives have been included, and it’s expanded to feature stories from over twenty different countries. The work is also featured in two bestselling books.
Know your audience
People have low attention spans, on average 8.25 seconds. That’s why it’s important to get to know your audience/customers, and do more to appeal to them.
Use analytic tools that come with each social media platform to see who your audiences are (you may be surprised) and review which of your posts are most successful. The Answer Questions With Data course can help with this.
Engage and ask questions via surveys to find out what they like most.
Create experiences. The trainer said ever since Hotel Chocolate have invited her husband to sign up to a free VIP newsletter he’s not stopped talking about the offers and how he feels valued. And he’s definitely bought more chocolate 🙂
Think about the benefits for your readers, rather than just the features. How will what you’re writing about make them feel? Why will they want to experience them?
Treat your audience as you’d like to be treated yourself
Be succinct in your writing.
Handle complaints right away, directly, by apologising, and taking it offline (ask them to private message you their details). Sign off with your name.
Or you could attempt to turn a negative into a positive, as Wendy’s in the USA have done – they bravely post Twitter complaints onto their staff T-shirts to show they take customer service seriously.
Hootsuite – manage your social media platforms in one tool, including being able to schedule future posts
Canva/WordSwag – create pictures with captions on to engage your audience
Grammarly – a google chrome extension that will check your spelling before you post.
What I’ve shared is only a fraction of what I learned on the courses. I highly recommend them. The content is colourful, engaging, informative, and a great opportunity to network.
The Digital Garage is in Sunderland for a limited time only, so please make the most of this free service while you can. If undecided, check out the 65 google reviews with an average of 4.9/5 stars.
Google Digital Garage are looking for speakers as part of their community engagement work. If you’re interested in hosting an event e.g. to showcase your business/blog/IT journey please contact them at email@example.com or pop in.
Have you attended a course? Or would you like to? What have you learned?
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