Event highlights: Alison Battisby’s social media advice for startups

As part of our virtual events programme, Alison Battisby, founder of social media consultancy Avocado Social, hosted a workshop on how startups can make the most of their social presence with a minimal budget.

Alison has over 10 years of social media experience and has managed communities for Pringles, Tesco and Nokia. She now owns and manages her own consultancy and has provided training for the likes of John Lewis and the BBC. You’re in safe hands.

Here are Alison’s nine best tips from our workshop:


  1. Promote your social media handles and get creative. Promote them on your website and in newsletters but don’t forget email signatures, packaging and physical signage too.


  1. Brand your channels. Your social media posts and Instagram stories should consistently reflect your brand, and consider using a brand-related hashtags too. “Have a brand hashtag that could be your business name or a call to action,” Alison told us. “You’re encouraging customers to create content about your business, and this makes it really easy to analyse the type of content people are creating about your brand.”


  1. Drive customers to your website. Make it obvious how customers can contact you by nailing your call to actions and the bio in your profile. But Alison said you don’t necessarily have to link to your main homepage – you should consider something more tailored for social: “Some businesses would rather have a designed landing page to welcome new customers, maybe offering a discount code or a sign up to the email newsletter [call to action]. Could you have a social landing page that’s optimised for people who may have seen your social channels and want to know more about you?.”


  1. Encourage engagement. Ask your audience to watch, tap, like, comment, share or save as much as possible – and ask them questions. The more people engage with your content, the more likely it is to be seen. Alison is a big supporter of @marthabrookLDN, a stationery business that effectively uses question stickers, polls and Q&As to encourage audience engagement.


  1. Encourage user-generated content. People are 2.4 times more likely to view user-generated content (UGC) as authentic compared to content created by brands. Alison told us: “If people are creating content about your product or service, you can reuse that content on your own profile. I’m always looking for ways to generate UGC for my business. Things like asking your audience to leave a review or running ongoing competitions with the best piece of content winning a prize.”


  1. Use eye-catching video to grab attention. People spend five times longer looking at video on Facebook and Instagram compared to static content, according to Alison. She told us: “People scroll and swipe so quickly now. If your content doesn’t grab their attention in three seconds, you’ve lost those eyeballs. Always think about bright colours and moving graphics. If you’re creating videos for your channels, don’t fade in from black, cut straight to the most interesting part of the video.”


  1. Get savvy about tools to source and create your own content. Alison recommended Photoshop Express editor, Canva, Unsplash and Shutterstock.


  1. Use tools to plan your content. Social media scheduling platforms such as Buffer and Sprout Social allow you to plan your content in advance so you can focus on actually being sociable on social media. Alison told us: “Scheduling your social media will help you regain control of your time and focus on engagement. If all posts are scheduled you can spend a lot more time searching for hashtags, trends and engaging with customers – which is the social side of social media and the activities that will get you growth.”


  1. But don’t plan too far in advance. “Don’t schedule content too far ahead as you don’t want to end up with a post that’s insensitive or irrelevant based on the ever-changing news landscape,” she warned. “I schedule weekly and plan my content, but I also check the platforms and daily trends before my posts go out to make sure my posts are still relevant. I also stay online for 30 minutes after the post to see if there are any comments or reactions that need to be addressed.”


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