No matter how small your business is, having a good, strong social media strategy should be a vital part of your marketing efforts online. With the number of people using social media networking sites increasing, it is important to have your business presence there otherwise you are missing out on your target audience.
With many of social media channels to choose from, social media management may seem overwhelming, especially for a small business. Below are some tools and tips to effectively manage social media for your business no matter how big your team is.
Before starting and signing up for every channel with a social aspect, get organised and be realistic about your capabilities, looking at the following categories:
Time available for social media management: this will set expectations about what you should prioritise and how many channels you should manage. Critical tasks that should be taken into account for effective social media management.
Design: this includes not only signing up for and populating your page with the essential elements, but working with a designer to optimise graphics for aspects such as profile banners, profile pictures and images for shared content.
Content creation: this includes strategizing and writing posts as well as working across multiple departments to publicise promotions.
Content-engagement monitoring and interaction with followers: if your brand experiences negative sentiment online or you anticipate customer service needs through these channels, allocate time accordingly. To keep customers engaged, your social media manager should also be responding to comments and answering questions.
Analytics: monitoring of analytics which includes sales, followers, engagement and sentiment is imperative to refine content strategy and adjust social media management tactics for your business.
Determining your target audience: if your product is built for businesses, look for professional sites such as LinkedIn to focus on. If you are storefront, establishing a presence on Google+ is essential to ensure you are search-engine friendly. Facebook is the giant in the social media mainstay, so it should be on your list of must have social channels.
Determining your message: besides increased sales, what do you want to achieve with your social media presence? Do you want your channels to act as an additional form of customer support? Do you want to distribute engaging content in hopes of its getting shared? Do you want to make new connections with leaders in your industry? Deciding on your goals will shape the messages of your channels, which should be unique to each outlet’s specific audience. Posting the same content repeatedly leaves followers less engaged.
Use tools to save time
Now that you have a strategy in place and know what social media channels you will use, what type of messaging you want to disseminate and how you are going to monitor your successes and areas for improvement, you will next need to put your approach into action. Thankfully, social media monitoring tools save you time as you are managing channels and evolving strategy.
Use analytical tools by each channel
Often, social media in-house analytics tools provided by social media channels are some of the most effective ways to keep track of data. Facebook Insights for examples shows page managers everything from number of visitors at varying times of the day to data on how many people carried out a negative action, such as un-liking a page, when interacting with a specific post.
Pinterest analytics show you the type of content your users love the most, while Twitter shows you not only yours and customers’ top tweets, but impressions and engagement. Google Analytics will show you what channels are driving traffic to your website and resulting in sales. Explore the free analytics of whatever sites you are using and use those insights to craft better content and optimising frequency of distribution.
Use tools to manage multiple channels
While you can use software such as Excel to keep track of messaging and ensure you are creating unique content for each channel, a multi-channel management application can display multiple feeds at once, saving you the pain of logging into sites and clicking multiple windows.
Free social media multi-channel management services such as Hootsuite and Buffer and pull networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, which can go into one easy-to-read window. Some, like Hootsuite, will even display additional data besides your channel content such as interactions with your business from other brands.
Make the process shareable with your team
Since social media is, well, social, you will want to make your strategy transparent to your team. This will not only garner you insight and suggestions from the social media users who make up your company but will incentivise them to get involved and boost your engagement by participating on your social channels.
Social media may be free but your time is highly valuable. Continue to refine and optimise your social media strategy to maximise results, while saving your business financially by taking advantage of free applications.