I recently received a request from a friend who was hiring his first full-time, in-house social media talent. “How can I best set her up for success? She really knows social media, but knows very little about my business or industry,” he asked.
I developed the following as a set of guidelines for him and have since used it effectively with my own clients. If you provide social media services, it may be useful for you to share with new clients. If you’re interviewing for a full-time social media job, it can give you a basis of questions to ask employers during the interview and on your first day.
You’ve partnered with someone – either hiring an agency or social VA, or recruiting an in house social media manager. Before you sit down with your new social guru, here are 5 steps you can take to make sure that your effort will be a success.
Outsourcing social media management can be a scary step for an entrepreneur to take. But business owners hold the power to create the conditions for social success by focusing on five key areas.
Define your target audience. Social media is most effective when it connects you to the right people. So who should your accounts target? When your social media is driven by an outsourced company or new hire, it’s important to create a clear profile of who you’re trying to reach.
Sometimes this will be broad (“males, 18 – 24” or “moms, in their 20s and 30s”); often, you can get much more specific. Take time to discuss your business, your products, and your typical customer with your social media person. If you’ve developed in-depth customer archetypes for other marketing efforts, share those. If you haven’t, now is a great time to do that.
Explain your business goals. What do you really want to achieve with social media? All too often, businesses hop on social media because they know they “should be on there” but don’t have a clear agenda. Your social media goals are an extension of your business goals. They may get more specific, in the same way you might delineate a more specific PR strategy, technical strategy, or sales process to articulate individual elements of your business’ broader vision. But your social media efforts should always tie back to what your primary objective is with your business.
Are you trying to reach new customers? Build a sense of community among existing users? Provide real time customer service? Generally increase brand awareness? Reach a few influencers to increase the perception that you’re a thought leader in your space? Whatever you’re trying to achieve, make sure you articulate that to your social media person – it will affect everything from channel selection to content generation and tone.
Unpack your ecosystem. Every business operates in a specific ecosystem, all of which the owner and managers understand because it’s the sum total of thousands of individual inputs over time. Specific pieces of information to consider documenting or discussing with your social media person include:
Set clear boundaries and reporting structures. Take the time to think about what you need to be comfortable in order to hand over even partial control of your accounts. These usually center around two items – boundaries and reporting structures. Getting clear on these issues is critical to a social media outsource relationship working because it forces you to define the limits of control you need, and gives you a chance to clearly articulate those to your team.
Establish metrics for success – together. Take an honest look at where your social media efforts are today, and then set 3, 6, and 12 month targets. Look beyond numbers for numbers sake, but instead look for metrics that encompass both a broad growth (e.g. increased followers, more likes, infiltrating new platforms) as well as a deepening of engagement (e.g. are people commenting more? Do they visit your site more often, like your posts on Facebook, send more emails? Etc.). Then review these metrics with the social media provider and other trusted colleagues to make sure that the goals are achievable (at one end of the spectrum) and that you’re thinking big enough (the other end of the spectrum).
With this information, our partnership will amazing and I can be sure to help you achieve your business goals through our social media efforts!