Social Media Marketing 101: Part 2
Most small business owners wear many hats when they are just starting out. Until the business is established, that means owners take on every role, from accountant, sales person, IT support to social media expert. Eventually, it becomes more cost effective to outsource or hire for some of those jobs. As our President Jason Heinkel likes to say- "Do what you do best, outsource the rest!" Until then, here's some advice for your social media presence. Follow these steps and you'll be set up for success.
1. Create an outline and voice
The first thing you'll want is a clear outline of your strategy, even if it’s basic. It is important to know your direction before you get started in order to avoid inconsistencies in branding and social campaigns. It’s also important to have an established voice for your brand. Social media marketing is all about reaching out directly to your target audience, so you have to make sure you speak to them in a voice that resonates.
PRO TIP: If your business caters to professionals in their mid-to-late 50’s, you shouldn’t have social media marketing messages using slang or themes that relate more to people in their mid-twenties.
2. Consistency is key
It is better to use only one outlet really well, rather than every social platform under the sun just decently. No good will come out of utilizing your social media channels intermittently or starting and stopping efforts on them repeatedly. Think of how many abandoned Instagram or Facebook pages you’ve seen for businesses where the last post may have been from a year or more ago! When potential customers see a page that isn’t updated frequently, it signals in their mind that your brand may not be the most reliable and they may choose to go somewhere else. Try to post at least a few times a week, and don’t be afraid to repost or engage with other brands or consumers in your area or industry.
PRO TIP: It may be worth it to choose one or two social media platforms that you know really well and use that knowledge to create a strong presence in that space for your brand.
3. Experiment and observe
Content is short-lived and quickly forgotten, so don't be afraid to try out different techniques to see what works best for your brand. Keep what works and drop the rest!
4. Engage with potential customers and others in your industry
Take the time to engage with your audience to strengthen your relationship and show that your brand cares. This also goes for other business pages and accounts. By tagging, sharing, like-ing, and commenting on other pages, you are supporting your industry as a whole and lifting each other up. You may even open yourself up to valuable partnership opportunities!
5. Schedule posts
Organizing content and keeping up with the day-to-day tasks is one of the biggest challenges for businesses. One way to make it a bit easier is to schedule out your posts in advance so you aren’t spending hours daily on your social media efforts. Social networks like Facebook allow you to schedule posts directly through the website, however applications exist that allow you to schedule all your social media outlets at once, as well as track engagement and other analytics. Hootsuite, Buffer or Sprout Social are a few examples, but there are lots of great options out there and with a bit of research you can find one that fits your needs and budget. You may also want to try using a social media content calendar to brainstorm and organize your ideas neatly.
PRO TIP: Check out this great article from Social Media Today about the best times to post on the most popular social networks.
6. Be an expert both at creating and curating content
Since posting consistently is so important, content is where most of your energy will go. It is important to provide your consumers with original content, videos, blog posts, etc., but you should also get comfortable with curating content. Curating content is adding your brand’s voice to content gathered from a variety of sources that is relevant to your business or product.
PRO TIP: User generated content is also a good option, which comes mainly from your consumers tagging or engaging directly with your page. This shows that people are enjoying your product, and you as a brand value your supporters and engage with them on your social platforms.
7. Know when you need to bring in the big guns
Last but not least, know when you need help. A crisis may arise making it necessary to call in PR professionals. You might find that your business is growing too large to handle digital marketing in-house and need to invest more time, energy, and man-power in the job. As companies grow, it is not uncommon to release the social media tasks to a professional company to take over.
Everyone has to start somewhere, and with these social media basics, you will be on your way to managing your brand’s digital marketing like a pro.