Build a Team
Social media is all about people. It therefore seems fitting to begin by encouraging you to think about your team. Who will have access to your social media accounts? Who are the best people to communicate with your customers, contacts etc?
Getting the right people on the bus is crucial. After all, if they don’t understand what you’re trying to do then your social media marketing strategy is unlikely to get off the ground.
Pick’n’Mix: Choose Your Social Media Channels
This is a crucial process that will require a little bit of reading, research and discussion. Needless to say, most small businesses will only be able to manage a maximum of 3-4 platforms at any given time.
We would recommend that you use Facebook, Twitter and Google+ as standard. Beyond that, it really depends on your business and your industry. Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Youtube and LinkedIn all provide unique opportunities to connect with people in different ways.
It’s also worth allocating the time that you spend on each. You might, for example, commit 40% of your time to Facebook, 40% to Twitter and a more speculative 20% on Pinterest.
Find Your Niche
It’s not enough to simply register a few social media profiles and churn out a bit of content. You need to think carefully about who you are, who you want to connect with and what kind of content is required to make that happen.
Your social media marketing strategy should include the tone and style of your messages. It should help you to explain what you’re trying to achieve and how you’re going to make that happen.
We recommend that your social media marketing strategy should include a weekly timetable. This will help you to keep on track and choose the best time of day to release your updates.
You might choose to release 3 tweets a day at 9am, 11am and 1pm. You might find that people enjoy your Facebook updates after 6pm. Maybe your customers prefer to receive offers and voucher codes at the weekend.
Plan Your Interaction
The best markets know that social media isn’t just about broadcasting; it’s about conversation. It’s important to decide who you are going to interact with. Have you got friends in the industry who are ahead of you in the social media world? What about existing clients or customers that you enjoy a good relationship with?
It’s also important that you decide how to process feedback or criticism. Many people will simply ping you a tweet or Facebook comment if they’re not happy with your service.
Find Tools to Help You Automate Social Media
There are various tools which can help you automate, schedule and synchronise your social media posts. We like Tweetdeck and Buffer but there are various others with free sign-up options.
Planning your content in advance will help you to manage your time more effectively. It will also help you to ensure that your social media coverage is as comprehensive and clear as possible.
Finally, it’s worth saying that this advice is based on the presupposition that you will be managing social media in-house. This would always be our preference. However, in certain situations it’s not a bad idea to consider outsourcing this to a marketing company. Although you’ll lose some of the personal touches, it will mean that regular, professional content is pushed out across your various social media channels.