Off the back of our Digital Skills Course: Digital Marketing, we were asking you to send in your Digital Marketing questions for our expert at Accenture.
We had some great questions sent in, so many in fact, that we’ve separated the responses into two halves! First up, our expert Katie will be answering questions about 3 of the main digital marketing channels - social media marketing, content marketing and SEO.
Katie is a digital marketing consultant within Accenture Digital, based in Ireland. Her interests include customer experience, branding, social media, innovation and design, so she is well placed to answer your questions! With previous experience in industries that range from retail to greeting cards, she’s seen how important digital marketing is to businesses of all shapes and sizes.
How to keep content consistent when you run out of ideas? (candlecafelondon) / How to keep content consistent, fresh, interesting - without becoming annoying! (brotherandgent)
Keeping your content consistent on social media is important when you’re building a brand identity online, but it can be challenging to constantly be coming up with fresh and interesting ideas. The best place to start is with your customers. Find out what they are looking at and engaging with on social media, what they are sharing and re-sharing, who they are following. This will give you the best idea of what content is of interest to them, and then you need to be creating content of a similar vein, but in keeping with your style.
You can also re-share or link out to valuable content that is third-party and that you think would be interesting, entertaining or helpful to your customers. Always ensure that the source is credible, accurate and appealing though, and be wary of sending your audience towards your competitors!
There are also lots of tricks out there to help you with original content, but use only what will work for your audience. This blog has some ideas for curating fresh posts and includes tips on creating emotional content – posting questions, teasers, list etc. and this blog has ideas on where to draw inspiration from. Experiment with finding what works for your business and is relevant and interesting to your audience; don’t post just for the sake of it.
What works well to get people more involved and interacting on your posts on social media? (cgiezenberg)
To get people more involved and interacting on your social media posts, the best place to start is with your audience. Understand what interactions your followers are already having with other brands and their social media content, what makes them like, comment and share. If you are sharing content that delights your audience, then this is a very organic way of increasing involvement.
You also need to look at the messaging attached to your posts – what it is you are wanting to convey to your audience and what action do you want them to take next? Is your purpose to inform, entertain, start a conversation, or are you looking for a click-through to your website or a re-share? You need to clearly convey what it is you want your audience to do.
Participating in the conversation adds a human element to your brand, and helps you to build relationships with your customers. Social media is less of a megaphone for your business, and more a way to connect your brand to your audience. Give your brand a personality. Social media is also used as a customer service tool, so be sure to respond quickly and encourage your customers to reach out.
And lastly, you can always share content that is asking for engagement. Post questions to your audience, or alternatively, have them post questions to you in a Q&A session, host competitions with clear rules and prizes, ask for shares in exchange for rewards. There are lots of ‘tricks’ to increase engagement, but be sure to choose what works best for your audience and monitor the results closely.
Asked a million times but always different answers... best times to post please? Same time every day or vary it? (2moreheadsstore)
The best time to post content on social media will depend entirely on when your target audience is on social media. Your customer lies at the heart of every social media or digital marketing campaign so I can’t stress enough how important it is to know your audience. Find out what channels they’re using, how they’re using them, what times of day they’re online and interacting, what content they’re responding to. If you’re targeting a stay at home parent with young children, then posting between the hours of 3pm and 6pm might be fruitless, but if your audience is teens, these after school hours might be prime time.
There are, of course, general trends for when more of the population is switched on and using the various channels. Read this blog article by HootSuite which gives a run down on the peak engagement times. A summary of the 3 major channels:
- Twitter: 3pm Monday to Friday
- Facebook: 12pm – 3pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; 12pm – 1pm Saturday and Sunday
- Instagram: 12pm – 1pm Monday to Friday
As for posting every day at the same time or varying it – stick with the times that are maximising your reach, don’t just vary it for the sake of it! Keep testing, experimenting and improving, but when you find what works, there’s nothing wrong with being consistent.
If you were to give your attention to one platform which one would it be and why? (Nadra Shah)
I hate to start an answer with depends… but it really does! Each platform speaks to a different audience in a different way with a different product.
However, since you asked me to pick just the one, my personal preference would have to be Instagram. It allows for the most creativity. You can communicate your message or product artistically in a way that delights your audience (and you!). A visually attractive picture or video is easy to absorb, connect with and digest at a glance. The platform also allows you to build a strong sense of your branding through images, but also gives you an outlet for your personality. Posting a behind-the-scenes shot or an amusing image can add a human element to your brand and help you to connect to your audience.
How do you know where to start when it comes to creating a social media marketing plan? (Chris Savvy)
When it comes to your social media marketing plan, you need to think of your five steps – Objectives, Target Audience, Channels, Messaging and Managing. First, decide what your objectives are for your business. Next, determine who your target audience is, who do you want to buy or interact with your product or service. Based off your target audience, you can decide on your channels. If you’re looking to reach mostly 18-25-year-old females, then Instagram is best. This article is great for learning where your audience is
Next you want to decide on your messaging – what your tone of voice will be, the language you use, how you will respond to your audience. Finally, you want to manage your social media. Using a tool like Hootsuite will allow you to have a dashboard where you can see all your interactions across various platforms. Creating a social media calendar, where you plan your social media for the month ahead, will stop you from last minute posting and mean your content is more thought out.
How to get my audience’s attention without paying for ads? (Shana Wiltshire)
The best way to get your audience’s attention is to create quality content. Content is always king! Think about the imagery you’re using, is it sharp, clear, enticing, exciting? Now look at your caption. Does it teach your audience something, evoke laughter, emotion, intrigue? People are bombarded with thousands of images each and every day. In order for your content to stand out and to get your audience’s attention, you need to provide them with something. Either information, a funny story, an interesting fact, a beautiful or interesting image.
Also, are you engaging with your audience? Are you asking them questions, responding to their comments, liking their images with your brand or service? One of the best ways to get your audience’s attention is to show genuine interest in them. Engage with your existing audience and that engagement will help to grow your audience further.
What's the best way to direct traffic to my website and how do I work out which words to use for SEO? (Louise Parkinson)
There are lots of ways to direct traffic to your website. One of the best ways to do this is always providing links to your site in every post on Facebook, Twitter, and having your website linked in your bio on Instagram. Another great platform for referral traffic is Pinterest. Add imagery from your site onto Pinterest and link back to your site. The lifetime of an image on Pinterest is 151,200 minutes, compared to 20 minutes on Twitter and 90 minutes on Facebook. This means you are provided with a lot more opportunities for people to see your content.
In terms of working out the best words for SEO, this is a matter of experimentation.
Think of categories that are relevant to your business.
Within these categories, think about the keywords that you would use if you were looking to search for information on that category. This can be a phrase or a word, and you should be thinking of as many as possible in each category in this stage.
If you are already using Google Analytics, look at what keywords people are already using to find your site. If you’re having trouble thinking of related terms, go into Google and see what comes up when you type in a term. This will give you a steer on related terms.
Use a mixture of specific and generic words and phrases. For example, ‘yoga’, is a generic word, but ‘best yoga poses to wake up in the morning’, is a specific phrase. Use both to maximize reach
Finally, use Google Keyword Planner to decide on your mix of words and phrases. Remove words or phrases that have too many, or too few searches in Google.
Monitor your keywords to see which perform well and which don’t. Remove terms that don’t perform well and try other terms that you brainstormed previously
And that concludes our answers from Katie! Be sure to look out for part two, where our next expert will be answering digital marketing questions on mobile apps, display advertising and allocating budget.
Missed the Social Media Ask the Expert session? Want to learn another digital skill? Check out our free digital skills courses.