So you’ve decided you want to build your business’ social media presence. Or maybe you’ve already started some social media pages for your company, and it just sort of fizzled out. But now you're committed to doing it right.
Where do you start?
Once you open Pandora’s social media box for your company, success or failure will largely depend on whether or not you follow your social media marketing plan.
Wait, a social media marketing plan? Don’t have one? Don’t worry. While I'm not going to write out an entire plan in this post, here are the basic questions you will need to answer before you get started (or restarted): 1. Who’s ultimately in charge of your company’s social media accounts? Assign just one person to head this up. Putting more than one person in charge may lead to indecision. Oh, and be sure the person you designate as your company’s social media guru actually knows that they have been nominated for the role. 2. Which sites will you participate in? This will depend completely on your business and your audience. Ask your customers which sites they use and check out your competitors' sites. As a basic rule of thumb, most businesses should begin on Facebook and Twitter. At the time of this post, those are the sites with the broadest range of subscribers. (If you’ve read my website, you’ll know that my 85-year-old grandma is active on Facebook. So is my 13-year-old cousin. See what I mean?) You’ll have to determine if your business should also be present on Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, Snapchat…. 3. What’s your tone? What kind of a public voice does your company already have? Or in the case of a new company, what tone do you want to set for your communications? Are you quirky, casual, instructional, preachy, technical? Just be sure that the tone you adopt for your social media posts aligns with the tone of the rest of your marketing materials like your website, brochure, and even your business card. 4. What types of content will you post? You can post information about your products or services occasionally, but you’ll want to be sure the majority of your posted content is helpful and useful rather than salesy. So will you be sharing helpful tips, inspirational posts, humorous cartoons, kitten videos? Just be sure the content you’re posting is relevant to your company’s offerings and culture. 5. How often will you post? Your followers will eventually learn when to expect super interesting posts from your company, so be sure to determine your posting cadence and stick with it. Will you post every hour, every day, once a week, twice a month? This will largely depend on your industry, so check out other successful companies that do what you do, and see how often they post. Start there and make tweaks after learning how your audience reacts. 6. Who will post? This may be a different person or people than the one you nominated all the way up in #1. You can have multiple people posting to your business pages; just be sure they’re all familiar with #1 through #5 at the very least. 7. How will you handle negative comments? Unfortunately, negative comments are just part of the game. But negative comments don’t have to be the end of the world or the end of your business. Come up with a plan for dealing with them so you’re prepared if the time ever comes. 8. Who will read the reports, and what will they be monitoring? All of the major social media sites have detailed and sometimes confusing reports for your viewing pleasure. These reports are loaded with useful stats, but some stats will be more useful to you than others. Don’t feel overwhelmed by all the fancy numbers and pretty graphs. Decide what stats are meaningful to your business, and assign someone to monitor them. And then, of course, use those stats to constantly improve your pages. It’s very important to stress here that all of these items must remain fluid. You already know that you have to be flexible when running a business, so this is no surprise to you. But be sure to closely monitor the performance of each social media page you have, and make tweaks to your plan as often as needed. You may need to post less, or more, or different content, or who knows what else. Just experiment, monitor, and tweak until you start seeing the following you want. And then keep experimenting, monitoring, and tweaking because these things change all the time. And don’t forget to have fun!