The Basics Of Social Media Success 

I'm realised more and more that a large number of small brands find the concept of social media management, audience growth, and quality engagement to be a difficult project. I wanted to lay out my list of the basic points that will generate a robust social media marketing strategy.

If you have questions on the points below, feel free to email me for some more tips.

All content displayed on this page is either produced or shot by me. All rights reserved.

 
 Photo by Chris Prestige | Produced by Hazal Alkac

Photo by Chris Prestige | Produced by Hazal Alkac

Social Media Content Creation

Content creation and the concept of keeping up to date with new and relevant content is overwhelming for most small brands. I understand where you're coming from - you're not only the sales agent, the customer service rep, the production coordinator, the designer, and director, you're also then expected to take on the beast that is "new and relevant content".
The below is a full content strategy, however, success can be found by doing what you can within these points, until you're better equipped to tackle the whole strategy. 

1. Make sure that you have a brand Facebook and Instagram page at the very least.
-If you're marketing to professionals, set up a LinkedIn page.
-If you're talking a lot within your area of expertise and/or within popular culture and trending subject, then make sure you have a Twitter account too. Be active or delete your account. Don't create accounts to leave them stagnantly representing your brand.  
-If you're talking a lot in niche subjects, popular culture, or trending topics, you may also want to consider being active on Reddit and within relevant feeds. 
-If you create a lot of video content, set up a brand YouTube page, but also make sure to house your video content on your website (though YouTube embedding) and also natively on your Facebook page and IGTV.
-If you're a design, fashion, creative based brand, create a Pinterest account and make sure to keep it updated regularly. Make sure your images are always tagged with your brand name and website URL. 
 

2. Creating content is not as difficult as it seems. Of course, this part will vary depending on your brand's content needs, but the following should be a good guideline for you to follow. Let say we're producing content for fitness brand - we'll need to lock in the following
- A photographer
- Model
- Location
- Hair and Makeup (Optional)
- Videographer (Optional)

When hiring talent for a photoshoot, it's important that you are honest and clear on the usage of your images. The usage means where the images will be shown, for how long and in what form. For example, your big campaign shoot might be 'website & social media channels, printed POS collateral, EDMs, digital marketing and third party wholesaler websites'. It's important that the artists involved know the usage of the image as their quote will vary dependant on this information. 
For social media only shoots, because the content is just that - social media only - the fees are normally a lot lower. 

A photographer can cost anywhere from $350-$1500 for 2-4 hours of work with the deliverable of 10-100 images. It's up to you to network, ask around and find recommendations for photographers that suit your aesthetic and budget. There's no magic concoction that gives you a cheap photographer that delivers 200 images and works for 8 hours. It's about finding the balance between costs and deliverables to achieve your desired result. 
I recommend using your personal networks first, and if you don't get any hits, try The RIght Fit.

Models are everywhere. If you have found a model you like on social media, check their bio for an agency tag, then email their agency through their website. If you don't know where to start, begin emailing agencies like Chic Models, Viviens and Chadwicks. Be clear on who you are as a brand, the brief for the photoshoot and what you'll be asking the model to do. If you have a photographer and/or a hair and makeup artist signed on, send them a link to their work. Be clear on the image usage as "social content only". If you have a model in mind, ask if she's available, but also ask for a 'package' of available models so you can see your options.
Rates vary from model to model and agency to agency. Newer, less experienced models will generally cost from $100/hour to $200/hour. If you're hiring a model for your website, you're usually looking to pay $200-$250 per hour. There is a term called plus plus (written as ++) which is the model's rate, plus 10% GST, plus 15% agency fee. Some agency fees may be more, make sure you clarify the percentage when first working with a new agency. 
If you're looking to work on more lifestyle content, I suggest finding your talent through The RIght Fit as it is normally cheaper and the model options are a lot broader. 

Finding a location can be testing. A lot of brands get caught up in legalities and permits to shoot on council land, however, most brands and influencers just go out for the 2-3 hour shoot and it's very rare that you're called out for it by the council. Look into your council's regulations, and make sure you're not shooting on private land, but generally speaking, you won't need a permit for a quick, low budget photoshoot.
If we use the example of our fitness brand, then we just need an outdoor gym, or clean lines of cement and grass, or the ocean in the background. So, in this case, we're using Clovelly beach in Sydney. We're locking it in for a sunrise shoot to get that soft light, and I'm putting together a photoshoot brief to email through to the whole team. Details on how to create this document below. 

Hair and Makeup artists are notoriously happy to work within your budget. My advice is that when you have extra budget to pay more, do so! Don't hold on to it because you got it super cheap the time before. The way these relationships work is if you don't have much money, the H&M artist will do you a favour, but the next time you have budget, say perhaps for your bigger campaign, you need to get that H&M artist back in to reward them for their loyalty. Usually, for a 2-3 hour shoot, you can get an experienced H&M artist for $350. 

Videographers are where you'll get stung on your budget. Along with the photographers, videographers have to put in a lot of work to deliver your end result. The price of a videographer will vary on the deliverable, however, the usual fee will be for their time on set, plus their time in the editing room. It's really difficult to put a price on videographers work as it varies significantly depending on their equipment, expertise and what you're asking for as a final product. I would again put your feelers out to your contact, and if nothing comes through, try The RIght Fit again.
Whether you have a videographer or not, use your iPhone! The more content the better. Keep your platforms in mind and make sure you're shooting both vertical and horizontal content. Get the behind the scenes (BTS) shots for your IG stories, and more detailed videos for your posts. Boomerangs are still a fun way to interact through stories, however, I prefer to take live photos and when uploading to my IG stories, I keep my finger down on the middle of the live image and active a slower, more detailed boomerang.

3. As outlined above, create a brief for your photoshoot. It should cover the following:
- Client & Talent contact details  - pretty much anyone that is going to be on the shoot and their title.
- Emergency contact should always be listed as "In an emergency, dial 000 - For all other issues contact THE BRAND REPS NAME & NUMBER" this person must be the person on set
- A clear mood board of shots you're aiming to replicate/use for the vibe of the shoot
- Two images of the model close up (face) and whole body, so that the other members of your team can get a clear idea of how he/she needs to work with the model to get the desired result
- Call times and location details

Take this briefing opportunity to clearly brief the deliverable assets to your photographer and videographer. There is no point saying "I really needed a close-up shot of this hero piece" when you get the images and the close up isn't there. All creatives should have a clear idea of the shoot objectives, as well as a brand representative by their side during the shoot the make sure they're using the correct product in the shot, or making sure that they zoom in for detail shots ect. Videographers need a clear idea of the "vibe" of the final video so that they're getting the correct footage on the day too. 

4. Once you have completed your shoot (I hope very successfully) your photographer should usually be able to turn the images around in 2-7 days. Videographers will generally need more time depending on the deliverable. Make sure you're diligent on emails and answer any creative questions so that you can get the most timely delivery of your assets. Most videographers will allow for one round of changes, so be very clear on any changes to their first edit, as you'll be charged more for any further edits. 


Social Media Management 

The task of social media management is all consuming, trust me, I know. But it is integral to the success of your brand's social presence and the ultimate growth of your audience and sales. The key elements of social media management are -

1. Timely and engaging content. 
Now that your content has been created, it's time to curate your feed and time out your posts. I like to design for Instagram first, posting a minimum of once per day using a scheduling tool called Schedugram. Schedugram offers an overview tool where you can see your feed layout, which is helpful when designing your monthly content schedule. The platform costs US$10/ IG page and will automatically post for you without sending push notifications like other apps and sites, which means you can actually tune out of social media on your weekends!

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Check the analytics on your social platforms to determine the best time to post. This is the highest traffic hours, and everyone's data is slightly different, however as a rule of thumb, high traffic times are usually between 6am - 9am and then again at 9pm. 

Facebook posting is a different beast. The platform is mainly 'pay-to-play' meaning brand content is rarely seen my anyone unless the brand is to put money behind their posts and boost them out to targeted audiences. So I recommend still posting regularly, generally about 15 posts per month, but spending a minimum of $10 per post to boost to your audience. You can do this in Ads Manager by targeting "people who like my page". You can also post less, but boost with more budget and for longer, so your content is still seen by more people, but not different content for a small selection of people. 

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Be sure your Facebook page has implemented the "Shop" page and synced with your ecommerce store so that you are able to add product buttons to your posts. This is simple to do and most platforms have a simple step by step guide to help you. Adding product buttons (like the below example) ensures that potential customers are able to view your product with ease, in turn raising your opportunity to convert them into a sale. 

2. Community Management & Engagement
It is really easy to distinguish an organically successful brand's profile from one that has bought followers and likes. A brand that has truely naturally grown their online presence will have an engaged audience. The two things are intrinsic; without community management, there is no engagement. Without engagement, there is no growth. The point I'm trying to make here is that there is no quick solution/easy win to growing an engaged audience, it truely is hard work, dedication and a clear brand identity that is communicated through your images, copy and the way in which you engage with your community. 

You must talk to your followers. If they're not engaging, engage them. Ask questions in your captions and in your stories. Ask for them to take action with a response. Make it alluring enough that they'll want to respond to you. Involve them in the brand, and value their opinion and feedback. Spend 10-15 minutes minimum per day on each social page, checking each notification and responding to any comments or private messages. 

On top of that, you should also be following relevant hashtags and trending topics to begin reaching out to new audiences and inserting your brand's opinion/persona/values where you see the opportunity. Go to your competitors pages and engage with their audiences in a real and down to earth way. Don't try to sell yourself, but speak in the brand's persona and find a way to organically insert profile into conversations. 

There is also another rule that seems to work well -  like, like, comment. If your profile spends 30 minutes a day finding relevant profiles, liking two posts and commenting once, you're generally going to gain yourself a new follower, especially if the comment is well targeted and relevant to that person. Slow and steady wins the race.