Previously seen as an optional gimmick, social media cannot afford to be put to the back of the queue anymore. Putting an effective strategy in place can help add value to your brand. Gone are the days of posting a few times a week and waiting for self esteem boosting likes. Not content at consuming our social lives, it wants our professional life too! So, without further ado, lets delve into the wonderfully bonkers world of social media!

To create something of value, get to know your brand and followers. I personally liken the philosophy of social media to managing a football club. Hear me out - You create a strategy in your pre-season preparation (content and marketing calendars). Delve into the transfer markets for potential signings (research), nurture up and coming talent (influencers), and ensure your style (brand philosophy) is never compromised. Social media should be FUN and if it’s not fun to you, it won’t be fun to anyone else. It’s about being on the ball, brave in possession (controlling judgment) and knowing when to be creative with flair. Let’s look at how you can maximise your potential and lift your brand.

1. Strategies

Before establishing asset requirements at a football club, you have to ascertain your biggest victories, horror-show defeats and season objectives. Once cleared with the board (your CEO) tapping into the transfer market (Google Analytics) allows you to check out demographics/age/gender and areas of interest. Confidence is pivotal. If you don’t know what you want to say then no-one else will. Researching opponents is crucial, target audience most visits/likes/shares/ interaction is key to getting an early goal and if you know your ‘voice’ well enough you could be three-nil up at half time.

2. Preparation

In preparation for key dates throughout the calendar year, marketing campaigns and content should already be man-marked before kick-off. What’s your angle? Does it have seasonal relevance? Are you going to cross-sell? When annual occasions occur, we are essentially through on goal without an excuse to miss. When a ‘reactive marketing ball’ is whipped in at pace, we have to be clinical in-front of goal. To keep ahead, we have to stay alert and mustn’t allow topical ‘talked about’ developments to slip through our gloves. Holidays are a competitive time for brands, so rather than warming the bench, this is a fantastic time to polish your dirty Leeds (I mean, Leads*)

3. Voicing Authority

Questions must be answered before game day. What are you trying to portray? Aspirational images? What perspective are you writing from? When targeting consumers, it’s best to play out from the back (soft sell the brand). For wholesale, revert to a direct sales approach. We recognise human behaviour and empathise with emotions. Don’t be a static old robot. Be original, find your niche and run with it. With fresh impetus, you’ll soon understand your ‘team talk’ and blueprint. When you look back at your era, you’ll see a positive legacy.

4. Content Creation

Along with your trusted assistant coach (your designer) create content that evokes a response from loyal fans. Entertain, Inspire and ultimately leave them wanting to return to your page for another ‘session’! People respond to people. Just like the transition from the training ground to the stadium, SEO key words/links, create a marketing funnel, filtering from website through to blogs and social media. To avoid conceding a last minute goal, attention to detail is imperative before posting!

5. Platforms

Social media platforms offer unique ways to sell brands. Whether a footballer plays home/away or abroad, the same rules apply. Social media (going between platforms) is the same. If you’re focusing on visual content that sells experiences, Pinterest and Instagram are obvious windows to your trophy cabinet, glistening with images and inspiring mood boards. Equally, for exposing your brand via advertising or informative blog shares, Facebook is ideal. For ‘what people are talking about’, articulate content, head-turning polls and fun-topics, Twitter is your super-sub. Use hashtags sparingly. Tweets with more than 2 receive 17% less engagement. The tool ‘hashtagify’ allows us search popular and relevant hashtags. Pretty cool ha ? Going box to box, ‘Buffer’ produces content, parks (the bus) and schedules posts over the weekend simultaneously to each platform. This creates a formidable strike force.

6. Competitions

Just like the World Cup, successful competitions need a great theme, perfect timing, promotions and momentum. The ideal canvas to build your personal profile, don’t be afraid to be cheeky. We’ve all seen posts like: ‘Who springs to mind when’ (insert funny video here) and ‘follow our page for your chance of win x” Videos are up to four times more powerful than images and we all love a sense of humour. Play the two together to reap fantastic results. The best part? You gain traction with a few days of planning. Promote your Instagram competition across other social media pages/websites/newsletters. Keep a record of metrics engagement/follower count/website-hits and reaction. That way, if you don’t win the World Cup (gain revenue) this time, your squad will be better prepared for the European Championships.

7. Engage

Imagine you’re a talented footballer who’s just joined a club and all you talk about is your step-overs. It won’t take long for your team mates to find you’re not a team-player. Social media is the same. Yes, sometimes people want to know what you’re up to, but sometimes people like to leave the conversation feeling like they’ve interacted with the brand or read something genuinely informative. The rule of thumb is to be different and engaging. You can’t win anything with individuals, every part of the cog is important to your overall success.

8. Influencers

Admittedly contradictory to my last point, your ‘influencer’ is your 80 million pound star man (calm down, not literally) So what constitutes an ‘influencer’? Is my fame hungry- Towie inspired hairdressing diva of a sister actually an influencer ? Is my 75 year old lawn mowing neighbour Dorothy an influencer? Theoretically it could be anyone. Allow me to explain. Look through your current followers to find micro-influencers. These are the ones with 2,000– 100,000 (real) followers. Opt to spend time/money or, sometimes just building rapport and offering a collaboration proves a free and effective way in. Don’t be afraid to direct message. Seize the moment. Especially if they’re following you already or they’ve liked/commented on one of your posts. The carrot is dangled to be bitten, so contact them!

9. Experiment

Diamond/midfield? Four-Four-Two? Don’t be afraid to test what you have at your disposal.  Knowing WHEN to experiment is crucial. You wouldn’t start a 16 year old academy player with no experience in the Champions League Final would you? No. You’d gradually ease him in with friendly games. The same development principle applies here. Testing new ideas is a useful exercise in an ever changing, highly reactive and flexible area of expertise. Assess your response from live videos/emoji’s/GIF’s/stories/memes and buzz words on various channels. Early customer intervention naturally dictates your narrative conveyor belt of innovation. By now you should have enough information to storm your mind for constant ways to build your brand.

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