Social media is time consuming, especially if you want to see results, but, as a business that places social media at the heart of its marketing strategy, as well as the strategies of most of its clients, we've discovered ways to make it manageable as well as productive.
- Define your goals
The key to maintaining your social media mojo is to establish exactly what you want to achieve from your efforts. For us, the goal is very clear - we want to drive visitors back to our clients' websites where we can engage them further in what our clients do. We use social media to firstly build a relevant audience of followers, and then as a channel to distribute and promote our clients' content.
- Work out what's important
With several major platforms and a myriad of minor ones to choose from, you need to do your research to identify which tools your target audience is using, and focus your efforts on these, whether that's LinkedIn and Facebook, or Google+ and Twitter.
- Plan your content in advance
Spending time planning the content for social media updates is important. We normally start by creating a register of a client's existing assets that we can use. You will be surprised how many 140 character tweets can be created out of a single press release, an article or a presentation. We will then identify a range of sources we can tap into for additional content at any time. RSS feed aggregators such as Scoop It are useful for this.
Each day, we will check the latest news (Google Alerts is helpful), and posts by those our clients like, follow or are connected to. Where appropriate, we will share these.
The final step is to create a calendar in which we can record upcoming events that we know will create good content for our clients' social media updates. This might be relevant government announcements, an event the client is attending or a forthcoming product launch.
Our aim is to create a lively mix of our client's unique content and material that can be curated from other sources to attract and engage the followers.
- Schedule your posts
Not only do we plan our content in advance - we schedule posts using timers. Telling new social media users about scheduling feels like sharing a way to cheat, but it's essential for managing our time, and our clients' online presence.
Quotes, pictures, product descriptions, upcoming event promotion and articles about the industry all lend themselves to advance scheduling, leaving us free to focus on the very latest news and our clients to concentrate on their business.
There are a number of tools available to help with scheduling - Hootsuite and TweetDeck are popular choices.
- Go mobile
Technology is the catalyst behind the popularity of social media and a wide range of free mobile apps let you keep up with the latest news on your smartphone or tablet, even when you're on the move.
We always encourage our clients to participate in their own social media, even if they want to leave the bulk of the work to us. A client's spontaneous and 'in the moment' update is what puts character and personality into a timeline. Much more engagement is achieved as a result.
And finally, even when you're happy that social media is working for you, it's important to regularly review your profiles. Check your connections, the pages you like, the people you follow, and groups you're in, and de-clutter to ensure you're meeting your objectives. We regularly clear-out followers who we don't think are relevant to our clients' objectives and, in the process, make the channel more and more effective for them.
If you need help managing your social media presence, get in touch. We'll be pleased to talk through the support we can provide.
Based on anoriginal article in The Marketing Eye Resource Centre by Luan Wise.