Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram… the list is endless and as a business owner, manager or marketing role owner, you are under pressure to do it. Social media marketing is a key component for any marketing strategy so yes you need to do it, but don’t just do it, do it right.
STEP 1 – PLANNING
Starting a social media marketing campaign carries the same level of importance and needs planning just like you did when you started your company. You need to look at key elements to ensure you get it right from day 1. Social media is unforgiving and if you get it disastrously wrong at the start it’s there for all time for your prospects and customers to see. Planning means looking at key social media marketing factors – What are your objectives for using social media – is it improved relationships, customer service, brand awareness? Which channels do your audience use? When do they read posts on these channels? Do they use them for information gathering only or as a communication/customer service route? Get this stage right and you have the springboard for social media success for years to come.
STEP 2 – CONTROL
So you know what you want to do and which channels to use, the next step is to stay calm! It’s all too easy to get excited, and throw everything at social media. Posting every 5 minutes, commenting on posts immediately they are live, targeting other users with a raft of messages…. And then you run out of steam and time and your frequency and interaction goes out of the window resulting in activity peaks and troughs and a useless social media presence. So stop, plan and start small. Set a frequency that you can mange in line with your workload. Only start on channels that you can continue to manage – if it’s just one channel then that’s fine, get it right on one channel and you can expand to other selected channels once you have mastered the medium.
“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.”
STEP 3 – BRANDING
One minute is all it takes to setup a social media channel and start posting. But for business you need to take longer than one minute. When you select your channel check out a few key elements: Is there a business/company version of the channel that works differently to personal channels? Are there specific options that you need to include/remove to be relevant to your business? E.g. Showcase on LinkedIn, Call to Action button on Facebook. How are the brand images and messages displayed on the channel? And how do they appear on the different platforms (mobile, tablet, laptop, desktop)? Look at your competitors to see how they have approached this and be guided by what works and what doesn’t.
STEP 4 – CONTENT
It’s not all about you! It’s easy to see social media marketing as just another vehicle for sales messages. Wrong, that’s the quickest way to lose your audience. The key is in the name: ‘Social.’ These channels are designed for social interaction, two way conversations, inclusive comments referencing other social users and their comments/posts. As a business you have defined your goals and your audience knows that ultimately every business is about selling, but with social you need to be authoritative and inclusive by sharing knowledge, answering questions, sharing interesting articles from the web and communicating. Through all of this your sales messages will come through and as long as you stay on brand your objectives will be met. As Bill Gates said way back in 1996, “Content is king” and he did pretty well out of it.
STEP 5 – MANAGE
Social media management is no different from other key elements of your business. You wouldn’t manage your finances without management and advice from consultants or without using accounting software like QuickBooks to manage your accounts. So managing social media needs the same focus – a job role that has the focus, responsibility, authority and time to manage. If you can’t invest in dedicated social media management internally then you can outsource social media management to gain that focus and frequency, to broaden your social channel inclusion and to tap into the power of corporate level agency software that gives you features and control only available from the more expensive, larger multi-user systems.
Social media marketing – the last word…
Five steps today is all it takes to get on the right road to social media business success tomorrow.
Social media marketing – where to find out more
If you’d like to use social media for your business but don’t have the time to do it yourself, please get in touch and we would be happy to see if we can help.