Stop your social media activity now!
Ok, stopping all of your activity right away may not be entirely necessary, but my point is that you shouldn’t be actively involved in any social media activities for your business, unless you know why you are investing in it, or before you fully understand what you want to achieve from it.
Start by looking at a social network you use and consider the question “What am I doing here?”, if you aren’t quite sure or only have vague notions, take a look at the checklist below. Considering these 6 questions will help you lay the foundations of using social media effectively.
1) Have you defined your objectives?
As previously mentioned, ask yourself what you are doing on Facebook/Twitter/G+ etc. Why are you investing time on any particular network? Understanding the benefits of social media is a good starting point to get you thinking more strategically about what you are doing, so what do you want to achieve?
2) Do you know your target audience and where to find them?
Demographics differ depending on the social network. Just because you have heard lots about Tumbr or Pinterest, it doesn’t mean they are the best place for you to invest your time into. Look at demographics, think about your product, services and customer base and choose the most relevant social networks to invest in. A little bit of initial research will pay dividends and ensure you aren’t focusing your efforts in the wrong direction.
If you aren’t sure, the general rule is to go where the masses are, with over 1 billion people now using Facebook and 500 million Twitter users, these make the safest bets and If you are a B2B company, then you should invest first and foremost in Linkedin.
3) Have you set key performance indicators and can you track them?
Blindly carrying out activities with no understanding of what you want to achieve or the effect they are having is not recommended, but knowing what it is you want to achieve isn’t enough. How will you know you have achieved those things? How do you know you are moving in a positive direction towards your goals?
Likes and followers are obvious choices but don’t reveal the full picture; engagement is important so count comments and shares too so you can look at the reach of your communications. Also make sure you are tracking click throughs to your website, which is after all, a key reason for engaging in social media activity in the first place!
With a little bit of thought you can put metrics in place that can be easily monitored using a combination of freely available tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights. By doing this you will be able to see which activities are working successfully and those activities which are not, allowing you to modify things accordingly.
4) Is your page/profile fully branded?
This may sound really obvious, but it is often overlooked by businesses who are too hasty to get their social activities started. A Twitter account with a stock background image and no profile picture or logo is highly unappealing and you’ll instantly lose your chance to attract a follower if they arrive at your page and find it bereft of all personality.
Make your space on a social network yours – if any of your social media profiles or pages don’t contain an informative introduction to your business and a link through to your website, do it now!
5) Are you promoting social media on your website?
This might sound even more obvious, but it’s been missed by clients i’ve worked with in the past! Ensure you are promoting your social media accounts in your email signatures, on your website, blog and in direct email too. Pretty much wherever you are promoting your website address and contact details, you should be providing links through to your various social networks.
6) Do you have a content plan?
Posting updates for your business is entirely different to posting in your personal accounts. Remember the majority of the content that you post or share needs to be relevant and have a goal; this usually involves spreading brand awareness or providing a specific call to action.
Whatever you do, don’t make all of your posts pushy marketing messages; these are fine, but in moderation. Make sure you are posting engaging, informative and relevant content and you won’t go far wrong.
To read more about balancing your posts and planning your social media content, see the article 10 tips to get the most out of social media.
Shell Robshaw-Bryan is a marketing consultant at Surefire Media, the Cheshire based web design, eCommerce and marketing company. Shell specialises in organic search, content strategy and social media engagement for both B2C and B2B companies.
About ubershellShell Robshaw-Bryan is a marketing consultant at Surefire Media, the Cheshire based digital agency. Shell is a digital markter and web designer who specialises in organic search, content strategy and social media engagement.
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Author: Shell Robshaw-Bryan