Last week we attended the Inspired Social conference hosted by social media management and reporting tool providers, CrowdControlHQ. They brought together some social media experts to speak about a range of topics and provide insights into a range of different areas around social including, tone of voice, reporting, strategy, crisis communication and brand awareness. We’ve collected the key insights from the Inspired Social event to share with you.
How to Develop a Distinct Brand Personality and Tone of Voice – Helen Reynolds
The first speaker of the day was Helen Reynolds, founder of The Comms Creative. She began by explaining how each brand’s tone of voice (TOV) is like a recipe. Helen described the content you push out as the nutritional value that food provides and how you communicate that to your audience is the flavour. Ensuring that the flavour of your content stands out and is unique should be a key consideration when developing your TOV.
Although it may seem obvious, Helen stressed that having a deep knowledge of your target audience is critical when trying to develop an engaging TOV. After all, it’s called social media, not corporate media meaning, you need to include some personality into your social content if you want to engage your audience and build advocates.
Looking at examples from brands that have strong personalities on social media, such as Innocent, Helen showed us how you need to take some risks for building your TOV. Some tones will not be for everyone and you have to be prepared for potential backlash. However, if you wait to be 100% sure about everything you publish, then you will never have a successful or engaging tone.
When developing your brand’s TOV always have your audience in mind. Your boss might not like some content you share on social, but you have to remember that they are unlikely to be your target audience. Don’t be afraid to push back and show them the positive responses your type content gets from that audience. Not every brand has to be funny or “down with the kids” but it’s still vital you have some uniqueness to your tone, whether it be everyday advice or shouting about enjoying the little things in life. Talking about your audience and things likely going on in their life is much more engaging than general business updates.
One of Helen’s top tips from the day was to have one, easy to remember, a sentence that sums you up. This way you can share your tone more easily with your team to ensure you are all on the same page when communicating as the brand.
How to Effectively Report on Social Media – Sally Hawkesford
Later in the day Sally Hawkesford, founder of SHC Digital, stepped up to the stage to share with us how we have to go beyond reach and engagement to justify the worth of social media in today’s business landscape. Her talk focused around her “six steps to understanding your data focus” which helped to outline how you can report on the value that social media provides to your brand beyond standard reach and engagement metrics.
1. What does success mean to your brand?
The answer to this question can be very different depending on the brand you are working with. For instance, an e-commerce client would probably class product sales as success whereas a B2B supplier may class quality leads as a success. With this in mind, Sally suggests that to outline this core business metric and work backwards from there to decipher how to achieve it.
2. Implement the tech
All the latest social media channels now have pixel tracking incorporated into them. It’s crucial that you have this set up to track progress and success from these channels. Without this technology reporting on social media becomes limited.
3. What do you want to measure?
What do you want the tech to track? Website visits? phone number clicks? Once you’ve implemented the tracking technology, you need to decide what you want to measure to calculate social media success. To know this, you need to outline what is a conversion for your brand. Also, you need to know how you want to report this back to the business. By understanding all of this you can set up your tracking and collect data.
4. Business data
Often social media managers will just use the social data they have available and will often use the data they deem positive like strong engagement rates. However, what other business data do you already have that can supplement this data and help to prove success? Reaching out to other areas in the business to see whether they have seen changes to other business metrics that could be attributed to your work is a tactic when reporting on social.
5. Data sources
By looking at the data from other areas of the business you can attribute social value. Using tools such as Google 360 you can see where social media have been part of the conversion path. An example Sally showed saw a client’s transactions, revenue and ROAS all improve enabling Sally to calculate the percentage of the business profits that could be attributed to social media.
6. Data matching
Finally, matching the different data available will help you produce your complete picture of the success of your brand’s social activities.
Defining a Killer Social Media Omni-Channel Strategy – Kirstie Smith
Kirstie, a social media strategist and lecturer who co-founded Social Circle, brought a framework of her own to Inspired Social. This framework, from the Content Marketing Institute, focuses on the building blocks for profitable and sociable operations. But first Kirstie outlined what an omnichannel strategy looks like compared with a multi or cross channel one. The core benefit of an omnichannel strategy is the ability to create an integrated experience for audiences. This means that all your communications across social, email, telephone etc must communicate the same way.
Here are the five steps that Kirstie took us through to help develop a killer strategy:
1. Purpose and goals
As with many similar frameworks, identifying what you want to achieve is a crucial first step when producing a strategy. Start with why your business is here and what you aim to achieve. Similarly to Sally’s talk, once you have this outlined you can work backwards from the end goal to see how you can achieve it what you need to do. Kirstie showed us how to determine your goal by asking yourself four simple questions as outlined in the example below.
Reinforced again by Kirstie was the importance of understanding who your audience is. Ask yourself – who are you creating content for and how will they benefit from it? In order to do this, we need to move beyond traditional audience segments and look deeper into who we are trying to target. For example, consider:
- Brands they like
- Who influences them?
- What media do they consume?
- When & Where are they most active?
- What are the touch points?
Once you’ve discovered all this about your audience(s) you need to listen to them through various channels such as Google Trends, UberSuggest and Keyword Planner to understand what they want to hear from you. It is also important to break down the type of content you share by each channel. So, rather than posting the same content to multiple channels (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn etc) you diversify this and use each channel for a different purpose. Otherwise, why would someone follow your brand on these channels if the content is the same?
Coming up with the big idea around your campaigns can be a tricky element of this framework. It’s important that your audience is grateful for your content because you are providing value through your content which has earned their trust.
Kirstie then introduced her content tree which aims to help you create loads of quality content. First, you start at the “roots” by asking:
- What value/services do you offer?
- Who do you offer this to?
- What makes you unique?
- Why do you do it?
The answers to these questions form your brand story which is where all your content should flow from. Following on from this, look to define your audience personas with help from the second step of this framework. By identifying these groups you can map out your content themes (the crossover between what your audience want to hear and what you can talk about). This then helps you to produce content topics which flow into various formats such as blog posts, LinkedIn slides or keynote slides via SlideShare. By using this method you can produce a range of different content types from one topic to share across all your channels.
Kirstie also explained the importance or repurposing, reusing and re-formatting previous content. One piece of content can be used multiple times across a variety of channels with some changes to the format.
“How will you structure and manage your processes to activate your content plan?”
Creating masses of new bits of content can be very challenging and time-consuming which is why being able to squeeze multiple types of content from one large piece can be an excellent way to work smart rather than hard for content creation and strategy.
Finally, measurement. As Sally previously outlined, the key to proving the worth of social is effective reporting. By breaking down your purpose and aims at the beginning you can identify what success means to your brand and then pull data to show the impact social has on this. Kirstie suggests finding a handful of KPIs to track and display your reports clearly with MoM and YoY figures to show progress in these areas.