Social media is so much more than a hashtag! Avocado Social Founder Alison Battisby shares her 5 top tips for social media success. If you want to hear Alison’s top advice in person then scroll to the bottom of the page to hear about her upcoming September events.  Often when brainstorming a social media campaign, the first question asked is ‘What should our hashtag be?’. It’s not wrong to ask the question, but it’s certainly naive to base an entire campaign around a single hashtag. Social media is so much more than that, and a clever hashtag isn’t going to make (or break) a campaign anymore. A recent interview in Marketing with popcorn brand Propercorn’s design chief perfectly summarised my thoughts when talking about their recent display campaign over London. Becky Akers said: “When we were designing our creative, people told us we needed a hashtag. But we said, actually, if you ask someone to hashtag, they’re probably not going to.” And it’s worked as #propercorn has been used almost 11,000 times on Instagram, plus they’ve received a constant stream of tweets about their popcorn designs on the London Underground and taking over London buses. Propercorn Social media involves giving people a reason to talk about your brand.  If you can come up with great ways to do that, then people will often naturally add a hashtag or look to tag you in a post. With that in mind, I’ve put together my top 5 tips for creating that social media success: 1. Use slick branding  There’s nothing worse than a badly cropped profile picture, or an out of date Facebook Cover. Take some time to really work on the visual experience that your social media pages create. Use free tools like Canva to make sure you are creating beautiful images that fit within the platform dimensions so no logos or words are badly cropped out. 2. Really get to know your audience  Take time to listen to your audience. Understand when they are online, how they access social media, what magazines they read, what TV shows they watch, which celebrities they like, what they like or don’t like about your product, etc. etc! This information is so useful for planning your content and choosing the right campaigns. 3. Don’t just talk about yourself Would you like someone at a dinner party if all they could do was talk about themselves? No! It’s the same in social media; ask questions, provide current or helpful information and have fun! This is what will make you stand out, rather than asking people to buy your products all the time. 4. Win at customer service The top UK brands are now aiming to reply to customer service enquiries within 1 hour. It might seem unachievable but if you have the apps on your phone you can deal with any feedback on the go. Have a clear plan in place for how you will respond to different complaints, so you’re prepared if you ever get one. Also think about what you might offer your customers as a ‘sorry’. The more personal the better, and I’m a huge fan of handwritten notes like the one Leon sent me. It’s good practice to reward your loyal customers too, whether you are sending goodies to your top tweeters or running regular competitions. Offering rewards is a great way to build customer relationships, and spread brand awareness too. 5. Learn what works At the end of every month, you should take some time to reviews your channels and understand what worked well. Was it photos or video? Morning or evening posts? Do more people click through to buy on your website from Facebook or Twitter? This is all very useful information for the next month of activity and means you can spend your time focussing on activities that you know will be received well. Want more tips? Well you’re in luck! I’m hosting a PR & Social Media Workshop for Startups on 10th September at Central Working in London. Rebecca Burn-Callander, Enterprise Editor for The Daily Telegraph who will be sharing her wisdom about pitching to journalists. Book tickets now via Eventbrite and if you’re quick you will get the earlybird rate! Looking for some more advanced guidance, such as content planning, Facebook advertising and the latest trends in social media customer service? Then book your place at the Avocado Social Advanced Social Media Workshop on 3rd September in London for a full day of learning and sharing. See you in September!