You know that social media is important for just about any business. You know that your business would benefit from regular social media interactions. You know that it’s the right time to start a social media campaign. There’s just one problem.
You have no idea where or how to start.
While there’s no blueprint that will work for every industry or company, there are several common first steps you can take when getting started that will set you up for social media success.
Brush up on your social media knowledge
Even if you plan on outsourcing your social media campaign, understanding the basics will help ensure you understand where your money is going and if you’re receiving a worthy return on your investment. Here are a few terms and data points you need to know.
- Engagement – Social media is all about connecting with your target audience. By sharing content that encourages engagement, you build relationships and boost your brand.
- Paid Social Media – Just like anything else in life, you can pay to boost your social media posts. It will be labeled as an ad but can increase engagement and traffic tremendously.
- Platform – A system that manages content. Facebook is an obvious example of a social media platform.
- Post – An upload of content to a platform. This could be a single sentence, an informational graphic, or a link to a long-form article, just to name a few.
- Traffic – The amount of people your post is attracting. The more (quality) traffic, the better.
- Tag – Identifies or labels what a post, article, or piece of content is about.
The social media world is continuously evolving. A popular tactic in the morning could be old news by bedtime. If you’re planning on making social media a large part of your marketing strategy, continuously educating yourself on trends and new technology is crucial.
Research your audience
For any conversation to translate correctly, you need to know who you’re talking to. Even if you’re saying the same thing, your delivery will be different based on your audience.
For example, if you’re a dental office hoping to fill operatory chairs by explaining how your offer fast and affordable cleaning appointments, you’re going to write with potential patients in mind. You’re going to avoid overly technical terms and you’re going to keep the overall feel of the content pleasant.
But if you’re a dental practice hoping to reach out to nearby specialists to gain referrals, your verbiage will be a bit more technical to show your knowledge and your overall tone will be more sophisticated.
Both types of content promote your office. Both types are written with the same end goal of securing more patients. But the way the content is designed and planned is totally different.
To determine the tone of your content, picture your ideal lead, customer, client, or follower. What is their age? What is their education level? What are their interests? What are they looking for? Once you know your target audience, it becomes easier to hash out content that was designed just for them (because it was!)
Set timely goals
Just as you should have business goals you’re always working towards, setting social media goals can ensure you stay on track. You should set monthly, quarterly, and yearly goals.
A clothing business might have a monthly goal of posting a certain number of new clothing items. Their quarterly goals could focus on securing a certain number of page “likes” or “followers.” A yearly goal could be related to a dollar amount of sales that can be traced back to social media posts.
By evaluating results on a weekly basis, it’s easier to see what approaches are working and which should be tweaked for better results.
Goals can always be increased, as they should be challenging. But avoid lowering goals if you’re not seeing progress. Social media takes time and practice. Consider setbacks an opportunity to hone your skills and try new tactics.
Get your story straight
Many businesses make the mistake of thinking that a social media campaign is all about throwing themselves out into cyberspace. While this is partially true, social media marketing campaigns should be constructed around quality rather than quantity. If you can only come up with one quality post a week, it would be better to stick with this timeline rather than post several mediocre pieces.
The best way to come up with social media content is to sit down and have a strategy meeting. Whether this is with you and a few team members or yourself and a social media marketing company, fleshing out the story you want your content to say about your business is pivotal and will help keep the quality ideas coming.
If you know you want your content to explain your product or service in depth, your content will be made up of tutorials, detailed explanations, examples of benefits, and customer testimonials.
If you want your content to spread the word about your business in general, your content will be designed for sharing. While a reader is less likely to share an in-depth tutorial about your product, they are more likely to share a timely post related to your industry that resonates with a wider range of readers.
Choose your platforms
It’s better to do one thing great than ten things like everyone else. Just because there are multiple social media platforms out there doesn’t mean you have to be on all of them. This is not only exhausting, but it can also come off as hectic and desperate in the eyes of consumers.
Instead, choose one or two that your target customer spends the most time on. As you grow your audience and begin to learn about the type of content they respond to most, it will be easier to branch off onto other platforms if needed.
Do you have a friend that comes and goes in your life? They’re there when it’s convenient for them but when you need them, they’re nowhere to be found. Over time, you accept that this is how it’s going to be and begin making new and better friends.
You can earn the same reputation as your disappearing friend online if you post regularly for a month, disappear for a couple, and then suddenly pop back up when you have time again. This leads your followers to lose trust in you. When the time comes for them to purchase an item or service in your industry, they’ll be more likely to find a provider that remains consistently present and available for their customers.
When utilized properly, a social media campaign can strengthen your brand, build authority, and attract new leads and customers.
Just remember that embarking on a social media campaign with the single goal of increasing your income will rarely succeed. Like most things in life, authenticity is the key. It’s easy to spot a forced smile in person. It’s no different on the Internet. Putting out forced and impersonal social media posts can do more harm than good to your online reputation.
So, take the time to determine what you want the Internet to learn from your social media campaign. So many businesses jump into the social media pool without learning how to swim. Posting is easy. Staying afloat in the competition is hard.
Even if you’re clueless when it comes to social media marketing, there is hope. Start at the beginning and the rest will come together with persistence and time.
About the Author:
Lisa Brown has been helping her readers in successful business and entrepreneurial strategies for the past 3 years. She currently works with Ekuep (http://www.ekuep.com/en/), which is the first online store in the Middle East that caters to the foodservice industry. It sells kitchen equipment, restaurant equipment, and food service equipment that are made by leading brands from all over the world. These machines and tools are trusted by all restaurant and cafe owners from across the world.