Business owners know Instagram and TikTok are the way to go for today’s marketing, but they don’t understand how to do it. That’s why they turn to you, someone who probably spends too much time on the platforms anyway. They think social media marketing will come as second nature to you. Except, oops: it doesn’t.
The thought of running a company’s social media account can be daunting. Sure, you browse the platforms almost daily, but creating effective content takes a lot of effort. Over 95 million posts are uploaded to Instagram every day, and you have the task of standing out above the noise.
Thankfully, Gabriel Mayberry, who runs the accounts for Utah Valley University, is willing to share his expertise. You may feel overwhelmed, but answering these 3 simple questions will give you the confidence to publish that social media post.
1. Is it relevant to my audience?
The first order of business is to cater to your audience. You are posting this for them, not you. They are excited to hear from you, and you don’t want to disappoint them.
To meet their expectations, you need to get to know your audience. Investigate who is interacting with your company’s page by using social media listening resources and analytics reports. Gabe tracks past posts to understand how the audience feels about certain topics. He says, “we monitor sentiment to figure out what people are reacting negatively to and what we can do to swing that [into a] positive.”
Before posting, ask yourself, do I know my audience? Have I used tools to understand what they want? Does this post align with their desires? If so, you are on your way to success!
2. Does it fit my company’s brand?
It’s your job to represent your company to a T. Know the intricacies: what is their mission, vision, and values? What tone do they use? What are their colors and fonts? Capturing the correct look and feel will give your audience more consistency and predictability.
One of the simplest ways to understand your company’s brand is using a style guide, which is a working document that is used to answer many of the questions above. For example, UVU’s style guide says that the color of this year’s campaign will be light green, so Gabe knows to use that color for his posts. Any time a post is made with that color, the audience knows what it’s about.
Does your post represent your identity well? Are you following a style guide to create consistency? If so, you are building a strong bridge between the company and your audience.
3. What is the call to action?
The last thing you need to ask yourself is, “what action do I want my audience to take after seeing this post?” Is it to comment, like, share, or follow? Is it to attend an event or buy a product? Or is it simply to change their mindset?
Without a goal, there is no way to measure the effectiveness of the post. Gabe refers to messaging pillars to help him develop a call to action, which he then strategically places in the caption. He balances using the language of the audience with being persuasive enough to get them to act, even in small ways. Once he finds that sweet spot, he has the confidence the audience will respond well.
This is the final and most important step in the process. The work you put into building the relationship with your audience will bear fruit when they respond to your call to action.
Even with these tips, don’t expect to become a pro overnight. Gabe has been running the accounts for years, and he admits that new challenges come up every day. Working in the world of social media teaches you how to quickly and effectively adapt to new statistics and situations.
What’s most important is that you are constantly improving. Build that relationship with your audience — learn about them and help them learn about you. Give them a call to action. It’ll take time and effort, but you’ll get a feel for it. Maybe those business owners out there are right, maybe running a successful social media account can be like second nature to you.
Claire is a PR major from Brigham Young University. She has worked with social media and content creation for companies before, including a customized clothing company she ran with her sister in high school. She hopes to help small businesses with their communications campaigns after she graduates.