Succeeding on social media

From Jade McAuley, Rebel Marketing

We know that social media is no longer a trend, it’s just a part of our everyday lives – and it’s growing. We also know that, unfortunately, most other types of media are in decline. Newspapers are skinnier than ever (with some going completely online), streaming TV series and movies is rapidly gaining popularity, and radio is battling against more audio options than ever before (why, hello Spotify!).

For business owners, social media networks (like Facebook) as a marketing channel have the added benefit of being extremely cost effective, targeted, data-driven, with varied advertising options (excuse me while I drool a little, mmm data-driven). BUT social is a very different beast to traditional. You can’t just throw a bunch of money at it and expect to reap the rewards.

Check out my top tips for being successful on social.

1. Know thyself

People tend to get really risk averse when they jump onto social media as their business. They worry that their audience will take something the wrong way, or won’t understand their sense of humour – and so they become really boring and conservative.

Every business has a personality, and a set of values. Friendly, professional, quirky, creative, innovative – whatever your business represents in real life, that’s what you need to bringing to the social media table as well. Be genuine – it’s the best way to attract and engage with the people you want noticing you. Which leads to…

2. Know the others too

As much as you need to be yourself, you also need to be relevant to your audience. But who is your audience? Hopefully by now you’ve given up on the old “our target market is everyone” that used to be so commonplace, and have realised the value of taking the time to map out who your ideal customer is, and what their primary thoughts/feelings/actions/motivations etc are.

Picture one particular real life customer – one that you love working with, and who loves working with you. Now write down what you know about them, and the types of things that appeal to them (about your product/service, but also in general). Creating content with them in mind will help you to get noticed by the people you want attention from.

3. Don’t be *that* friend

We all have that friend on Facebook who posts every banal detail of their life, does a barrage of posts that clogs up your newsfeed, turns the latest thing of interest into something about themselves and then declares that they are going off Facebook for a while as a digital detox (thankfully!). Don’t be that person.

Make sure you are posting a mix of content (ie not all about you, and definitely low-key on the sales-driven stuff – you’ve got to build trust as well), that you’re putting quality out there (stuff that you yourself would find interesting when scrolling through) and be consistent about posting. This means no extended leave once you commit to it (not only do you lose a top of mind presence, you lose any gains you made with how Facebook’s algorithm works) and no suddenly realising you haven’t posted in a while so here’s six all in a row (not just bad for your audience but a waste of your time as you are literally cutting in on yourself).

4. What goes around, comes around

Supporting local is not just something that individuals can do, it’s for businesses as well. As much as shopping local has an incredibly roll on effect, generating awareness about the importance of shopping and supporting local businesses is also an important piece of the pie. And mutually beneficial.

When you tag other local businesses (in a relevant way – spamming sucks), such as welcoming a new supplier on board, thanking your local café for the best coffee in town or just taking some pics at a networking event and tagging their pages in that – you’re publicly showing that you have trust and confidence in that business.

On the flip side, you are also potentially extending the reach for your post. Don’t you just love a win-win?

5. Take the fast track

There is no faster way to gain traction (that means see some kick-arse results) on social than to regularly check in on your analytics, and then actually act on it. Most social media platforms have their own in-built analytics – so you don’t even have to venture very far.

How your audience behaves will be unique to your page – when they’re online, what they find engaging, how they are engaging with you, and what will make them switch off from your page. All of this, and more, can be found in most network’s in-built analytics. Make the effort to track your results, and put that information to good use – you won’t be sorry!


As much as it would be nice to just rely on using social media as another advertising channel, the truth is that the real value in social marketing relies on being, well, social. Take the time to put some thought and effort into what you’re doing online, have some fun with it and voila – social magic!