Social media has been key in building my personal brand, that’s no secret. All of my social efforts, from behind-the-scenes looks at installations to vlogging about my experiences, have played a role in my career path thus far. Through trial and error over the years, I learned from analytics platforms what types of content people who engaged with me regularly enjoy and want to see.
But social media is underrated in the pro AV industry. There is data underpinning social media that many forget about—successful brands aren’t putting out content just for the sake of putting out content. Social media is the land of opportunity, and there are people all over the globe looking for your brand and your business.
In 2020, if your company or personal brand isn’t online in some form, you’re not only missing out on potential business, you’re also missing out on those connections. Each follower isn’t going to bring you a dollar, but each follower can connect you to your next business partner, your next speaking engagement, or to an industry event you may have not known about otherwise.
My social media story starts in 2016, when I began to install digital signage as an AV technician. It was out of the norm for me, as I had always been a SoundGirl. The more I learned about other aspects of AV, the more valuable I became to the team—and to my company. It also led to more experiences to share on my social platforms, which over time became a sort of résumé.
I wanted to be around people who knew about digital signage and had a love for content as I did. I got on LinkedIn and created a list of digital signage companies and people with DSEG certification. Long story short, I reached out to those companies and individuals. Megan Dutta, now SCN’s content director, provided me with tons of information about Digital Signage Expo (DSE). To think: Without my initial connection with Megan, this article probably wouldn’t exist. If it hadn’t been for this outreach, the foundation of a handful of business and personal relationships may have not been laid, and the relationships might never have become what they are today.
Many look to social media to give ROI in the form of a dollar, which will happen in a roundabout way. The greater benefits are in playing the long game and recognizing which avenues lead to those benefits. Whether you’re an individual brand or a company, one of the main goals of social media is to gain exposure. Once you have a clear vision of where you want to drive traffic, you can use social media as a highway to direct more people to where you ultimately want them to be, which is more than likely your website or YouTube page.
One of the biggest reasons to have an online presence is to engage. As I mentioned previously, social media connects you to potential that’s physically out of your reach. Many people you connect with online won’t walk into your office to engage with you directly, at least at first. Social media opens the doors to those conversations. That one connection might never physically walk into your office, but they can click a link to your web store, or see that your team will be at an event and possibly meet you there. Another hidden gem in social media is analytics. Almost every social platform has an analytics tool to help you measure what works, who you core audience is, and more. How do we make all this work for business?
If your goal is to gain online traffic, you should focus on the type of content you put out. Are you launching a new product, attending an event, or learning something new about a specific technology? Share it with your audience! Even if you’re B2B, other brands expect you to have an online presence and are looking at what your business is up to based on the content you produce. Want to get started? Do the following:
- Shoot video (even if it is on your cell phone)
- Take photos (show more than just your product: show culture, show passion)
- Create blog posts
These are a few simple ways to get started with building traffic. When I learned there was a whole industry of #AVTweeps, I used the tips above to share my experiences. That’s what brought traffic to my website and inspired further connections with industry thought leaders and companies.
Create, Engage, and Listen
Meaningful content leads to connections … which leads to you having to actually engage! You don’t have to spend all day on social media, but you do have to find time to engage. Social media is a two-way street, just like the communication systems we sell, deploy, and operate in our industry. Designate two to three times a day to do the following:
- Respond to direct messages, comments, tweets, etc.
- Join the conversation—find a hashtag and chime in.
- Ask questions. Run polls and ask your audience their opinion in blog posts.
We all have other things to take care of throughout the day, but social is all about engagement. It’s a must for building an audience and increasing traffic. Make time to create, engage, and listen.
Let Analytics Guide You
After you’ve created, engaged, and listened, it’s time to see how your content is performing and identify who is engaging with your social posts the most. Each social media platform is different, but they all have measurement tools.
- LinkedIn Check your “Profile Views.” Data is limited in the free version, but you’ll be able to see how many people have viewed your profile in the last 90 days. Premium accounts offer more insights.
- Twitter Click on “Analytics.” This feature is available only on the desktop version, but it’s powerful and free. You can break down top tweets, top followers, how many impressions you’ve gained over the past 28 days, and more.
- Instagram Hit the “Insight” button, which is free for business profiles. You can see how many accounts you reached with each post, how many people have seen your story, the number of people who have visited your profile, and more.
Analytics are the most powerful tool you have because they show what resonates best with your audience—what type of content is generating the most traffic and which methods of engagement show the most ROI across your social profiles. They help guide you to your goals and ultimately lead to higher ROI and deeper connections.
Over the years, our AV community has been growing its presence online. Now it’s time to extend our reach and grow our communities and brands with the power of social media.