Building your h&s brand with social media
If you’re involved in social media in health and safety, one name will stick out. Chartered Health and Safety consultant David Cant, Veritas Consulting Safety Services, who has over 56,000 Twitter followers, takes things back to basics, looking at each platform and how to use them successfully in this ‘throwback article’, which was first published in 2016.
So you would like to build your brand, get noticed by potential customers, network and grow a generous following using social media but you can’t quite put your fingers on the know-how or how-to.
Social media is more than just a tool for connecting like-minded people – It is understanding the language of social media, it’s also a standard part of people’s pre-purchase processes.
When AdWeek questioned web users about the way they interacted with businesses online, 63% said they wanted to be treated as a friend rather than as a consumer.
So it definitely pays for your business to be social. But, where should we start?
Understand your platforms
Statistically, there’s a very good chance you already use social media at home – but do you know the norms for each platform?
Best suited to engaging people in conversation, sharing longer articles and building a community of like-minded people. As the most popular of all social networks, we ensure that the Veritas Consulting Facebook page is updated several times a day with videos, articles and links, and we always try to engage our followers in the comments to encourage them to keep in touch.
Tips: Like other business pages, add comments to people’s posts.
Twitter is best for sharing snippets of news or links to useful websites. Veritas Consulting uses Twitter to link to important news in the health and safety industry, to publicise our blog posts, and to share photos of health and safety fails and chat with other industry professionals.
Tips: share your twitter handle (name) at events, on your business cards, follow industry influencers, Retweet other people’s posts, jump in on conversations, and remember – be yourself.
Heavily focused on the workplace environment and industry professionals, LinkedIn is best suited to building connections with industry experts, or sharing articles that demonstrate your professional knowledge. My linkedin profile is updated roughly twice a day with a health and safety story or industry video. I like to keep it professional and by that I mean, avoiding something you would find on Facebook.
Tips: Post interesting articles, videos to your profile, join Linkedin Groups that relate to your industry, add your expert opinion.
Very similar in principle to Facebook, Google+ offers your business a chance to share longer articles, links and videos with followers. The platform also allows you to build ‘collections’ that can group posts, finely tuning content to followers.
Tips: Join communities that relate to your topics of choice, add comments to people’s posts, create collections and post related articles.
Once you understand the norms and expectations of these social networks, you can begin thinking about the correct content to share in order to entertain and educate your followers.
Shut your mouth!
In order to connect with people, you need to understand their interests, business pains and preferences. So before you begin share online, you must listen to what they are saying.
The beauty of social media is that the majority of conversations are public, so you can easily uncover what is being said with a simple search. Use these investigations to get a feel for what gets people talking, and start planning content accordingly.
Modern internet users actually prefer to find out information about products and services without a hard sell. In fact, most don’t want a soft sell either. But they do need access to useful information – preferably from industry experts.
As you begin to share content, make sure it’s not all ‘sell sell sell’. Instead try and post updates that push people towards your company blog, or to encourage them to leave a comment. And if you tailor your updates properly, your audience may even help spread your message by re-sharing them across the different networks and in turn increase your following.
Sharing is caring
To help establish your credibility as an industry leader, you need to show that you know what is going on. You undoubtedly read dozens of articles every week that are useful to you – and they will undoubtedly be of interest to your followers too. So why not share them on your social accounts?
Veritas Consulting shares all kinds of content on our social media profiles, from the latest HSE guidelines, to photographs of people doing very silly things at work. Very rarely do you see an update openly promoting our services. Instead we try to be a one-stop source of health and safety information (and entertainment!) for our followers.
Engage on an individual level
As people comment on your posts, make sure you take the time to thank them and try to engage them in conversation. Remember, your customers like to be treated as friends, and to do that you need to engage with them.
One way we do this is to openly thank followers who retweet our content. On Fridays we also encourage our twitter followers to connect with each other, helping them to build their own social networks with other people who share similar interests.
Take your time
Making friends and building trust ‘in real life’ takes time, patience and effort. And the same is true of relationships built on social media platforms.
You need to set aside time and resources to identify and create great content to share on your social networks. And you absolutely must consider this a priority in your overall strategy.
If you are expecting to generate sales directly from social media, you are likely to be disappointed. Social media is an important part of your marketing strategy, but it is not a one-stop-shop. Instead you need to focus on helping people to establish your credibility as an expert in your industry.
And, before you go
Last but not least, you may be thinking to yourself all this sounds great but how can I find time to manage all these platforms and continue running my business.
Well there are many tools available to help you. Two of which are in my Social media toolbox 1) Tweetdeck for Twitter and 2) Hootsuite for other Social Networks, and, best of all they are free.
Follow me on Twitter for insights on simple techniques on how to put Social Media to work for your business or you could ask me about delivering an in-house workshop. I’ll leave that up to you.
Also, be sure to follow SHP on Twitter and Facebook for the very latest news and information.
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