This is a guest post from Vicky Stoakes, communications director at Red Setter.
‘Can you double our followers in a year?’
As a PR company, we’re used to focusing all our efforts on building our clients’ reputations and profiles. Putting time aside to build your own company profile feels akin to a builder deciding to build their own house first – it’s simply not a priority – but it should be because we know it works. A focus on social media – especially LinkedIn – can support new business, recruitment and most importantly, boost company morale.
So, last year we took our own advice and put a proactive social media plan in place. And yes, we did double our followers in a year. This is how we did it.
Strategise to win
It’s so obvious it almost goes without saying, but you need a plan. You wouldn’t skip the strategy stage for your clients, so why would you skip it for your company page?
We mapped out three clear goals – to attract new business; engage talent; and to grow followers from our target audiences (design and PR).
The right kind of posts
With clear goals and a target audience in mind, next steps are deciding what to post. As a PR agency, it’s easy to fall back on sharing client news and coverage, but it’s a limiting – and dull – approach to social media.
Instead, ask yourself, what do your audiences want to see? Often, you’ll find there are two answers. They want to see more of your team and company culture, and evidence of your company’s expertise. Feed these insights into your content plan.
Share the love
CEOs beware! Content creation shouldn’t fall exclusively on your shoulders – though we know from experience it often does for smaller organisations – but neither should responsibility rest solely with your social media, marketing, or comms lead. It’s important to create a culture where everyone, from top to bottom, has a voice and feel they have something to say.
But make it easy. As a PR agency, words are almost second nature to us, but busy people, no matter the industry, can need help. Alongside ideas gathering as a team, we have a guide to our content, with clarity on the purpose of each piece and where it’s likely to appear, and covering basics, like word count.
A culture of content
When we began our new LinkedIn approach only a handful of team members had proactively written any blog posts for us. By the end of the first year, with the new campaign firmly in place, over 80 per cent of the team had written posts (some of these appearing beyond the blog in media titles).
Of course, it’s a big deal to have team members write blogs outside of their normal day jobs, so we’ve dialled up the value of this internally. It’s now so embedded in our culture that people regularly come up with ideas and offer to contribute. The joy of this as a comms director is immense.
With a steady stream of content agreed and forthcoming across the team, we can post around once a week, sometimes more. And even better, 90% of our posts work across LinkedIn and Instagram.
Is the plan working?
The only way to know if your strategy is working is checking analytics – and bracing yourself to play the long game. Social success doesn’t happen overnight. It was a slow burn that really seemed to catch fire around the 10–12-month phase.
We regularly check our engagement, allowing us to know what resonates with our audiences and, just as importantly, what doesn’t (stopping anything that’s falling into the virtual void).
Using LinkedIn itself as a barometer is helpful: it suggests that 2% is good engagement and anything above is smashing it out of the park. With our average at 10%, we’ll take that.
Use the ‘secret sauce’
As the admin to a company page, you have access to a feature that allows you to invite your personal connections to follow your company page. Use it and do it wisely. Get your agency leaders involved.
By doing this, we noticed a snowball effect. We got our connections following us by asking. Then by posting content with relevant hashtags – never forget the hashtags! – we noticed a regular stream of new followers from our target audiences following us because they were interested in our content. Start with those you know, and others will find you.
Find the fun
Finally, have fun with it. Make people want to read your posts. Tell your company story, empower the team and enjoy the journey. Remember, there’s no shame in asking people to engage with your posts, so don’t forget to ask your own team and thank them when they do engage!
Interested in building your organisation’s social media profile? Check out how Tiny Tickers and The Wildlife Trusts amplified their campaigns and message using their social channels (in the absence of bit budgets) here.
For more from Red Setter, read this guest post from Alex Blyth on how to tackle the PR recruitment crisis by growing your team from the ground up.