I always say ... diving into social media for business is like baking sugar cookies without the sugar. Sure, it's possible, but does it taste good? I see you shaking your head no ...
It's a big world out there in the social realm. Don't waste your time creating more noise - strategize.
A social media strategy is a plan of action. It's your guide to achieving your goals. Get started with my five simple tips.
1. Set a budget and time that can be allocated. While the popular social channels are free to use, there's always a price - the amount you'll spend managing social media, or the amount you'll spend paying someone to. Once you have this one in place you can ...
2. Determine a Social Media Manager. Who at your company will manage social? Or will you hire a freelancer or an agency? Your social media manager or managers should:
- Be a great writer.
- Know a thing or two about public relations.
- Have some experience in customer service.
- Be organized! Social media can be a lot to handle. Being disorganized can be counterproductive.
- Know your company and understand your core values.
- Be creative. It's a flooded market out there. Your social media manager will need to have the ability to get your content noticed.
- Graphic design skills are a plus. There have been studies done that showed, people prefer posts with images! Utilizing branded custom images from time to time are always a nice touch.
- Have the willingness to learn. Social media is ALWAYS changing (seriously, within the time I spent writing this blog post, there could be something brand new). Your social media manager needs to be able to stay on top of trends and updates, and adjust accordingly.
3. Set your goals. I know, you want more customers, you want sales, but that's not the mindset to have with social media. It works like this: brand awareness + trust = sales. If people don't know about you, how can they buy from you? If they don't trust you, why would they want to buy from you? Approach social media with the mindset of being awesome and providing value. Ask yourself what you can do for your customers, not what they can do for you. Consider what your long term goals are and what your short term goals are. Sales should be a long term, not short term goal. Examples:
- 100 followers on Facebook
- 25 RTs on Twitter
- 5 shares on Google Plus
- 50 website conversions
- $5,000 in sales
- 20 new, loyal customers
4. Select which social channels to go with. Facebook is always a good bet. It's the largest and most popular out there. While every business is different, nine times out of 10, I'll say get your business on Facebook. Other popular channels include:
- Linkedin - Where people go to do business. The more professional channel. Especially beneficial for B2B companies.
- YouTube - Give your SEO a boost. Get your message in front of a large audience. Get your message out in an engaging, interactive way.
- Instagram - Everyone loves a great photo. Show off your company's employees.
- Google Plus - For companies that care about their business getting found.
- Twitter - Another great one for getting found. Especially useful for relationship building, joining conversions, and news.
5. Plan what you'll post and how often. If you're just starting out with social media, posting on Facebook and Twitter at a minimum of two to three times a week is perfect. Consistency is important. If you plan to post the two to three, stick with it for awhile. Only increase frequency when you can be consistent with the additional posts.
I hope this blog post offered you some direction to get started. There's A LOT more that goes into a social media strategy.