According to a recent survey, 92 percent of businesses are considering increasing their investment in social media as a tool for marketing and engagement. Are you one of those businesses?
Many businesses will outsource this function. But others are taking a DIY approach and keeping their social media activity in-house. If you are one of those businesses, knowing where to start and how to build a thriving social media community can be challenging. But no need to worry, we have you covered. We have put together a step-by-step guide to managing a business social media account.
Develop A Strategic Social Media Roadmap
The first thing to realize when preparing to launch your business’s presence on social media is that it is not the same as launching an account for yourself. It is not a matter of just creating an account and starting to post content.
Like all things your business invests in, it needs to meet a strategic aim, And you need to know your activity is meeting that aim. Otherwise, the investment is wasted. In order to ensure that your business’s social media does that, you should develop a social media roadmap.
Your social media roadmap should:
- State in detail exactly what your company wants to achieve through social media. Are you looking to drive website traffic, increase sales, or improve brand awareness?
- Define who your key target audiences are. Different audiences use different social media platforms and tend to engage with different types of content.
- Based on the above, define which social media platforms you intend to use and what type of content you intend to post, as well as how frequently.
- Outline what success will look like and have a plan for how exactly you will measure whether your social media is meeting its stated goals.
To learn more about developing a social media roadmap, read our article: Developing A Social Media Roadmap For Businesses.
Managing Social Media
Developing a social media roadmap can be a difficult and time-consuming process. But it is when the roadmap is in place that the hard work of actually managing social media day-to-day begins. If you are managing your business’s social media, what should you be focussing on?
The Right Content
Anyone who works in social media will tell you that content is king. There is so much content on social media, most of which people scroll past without even noticing. You need eye-catching, interesting, and valuable content if you want it to stand out from the noise.
Which content is king for you depends on your audience, the platform you are using, and what you want to achieve. This is something that should be defined in your roadmap. As a general rule:
- Instagram – you should be looking at eye-catching, high-quality images.
- Facebook – videos are the most engaged with content; always with subtitles as many people listen with the noise off.
- Twitter – you need to be linking to longer-form content, perhaps on your website. But for the Tweet itself, pull out a catchy and informative nugget that is highly retweetable.
The best content is visually eye-catching, either through an image or an attention-grabbing title. It needs to cause audiences to pause the scrolling motion and stop and pay attention. The content then needs to pay off by showing the audiences something they didn’t already know,or revealing something that seems secret. Revealing what happens behind the scenes of a company is always good for this.
Whatever you do, avoid content that doesn’t pay off. While “click-bait” might get clicks, you are more likely to end up with disgruntled comments than engaged audiences.
The whole point of social media is that it is a platform for interacting and engaging, and not just for broadcasting. That is what your website is for. This means you should be paying as much attention to talking to your audience as you do to creating and publishing content.
First and foremost, this means replying to comments on your content. This should be done in a timely manner. Most people are probably pretty relaxed about receiving a response. But there are people out there with genuine inquiries or complaints that expect a rapid response. If you fail to do this, you can lose customers, or worse. If a complainant decides to comment several times, and then other users get involved, you can quickly have a reputational crisis on your hands.
In general, replying to comments is a great way to show audiences there is a real person behind that account and it is worth engaging with. The way you reply should always try and open up the conversation. Never give closed responses. Encourage further discussion between you and the individual but also between the individual and other people that are engaging with the same content.
We are lucky when people choose to engage with our content. But generally, building a community of people to engage with your content also involves work. This can involve several tasks:
- Following relevant accounts and commenting on and engaging with their content to raise awareness of your brand.
- Reaching out to relevant influencers and asking them to share your content. This generally requires a manual process of personal content.
- Investing in paid advertising that is targeted at your key audiences, getting your content in front of your eyes when they don’t already follow you.
- Keeping on top of key trends and posting relevant content with trending hashtags, again ensuring more people see your content.
Just conducting the research around some of these activities can be quite time-consuming. However, there are tools available to help with this. For example, there are AI-powered platforms that do a pretty good job of identifying relevant influencers based on keywords and alerting you of trending hashtags that may be relevant to you.
Another crucial task for social media managers is to evaluate the success of their activities. This involves evaluating the overall success of your strategy in meeting your goals. Are you driving content to your website? Are you increasing brand awareness through sharing or your content? But it also involves evaluating the success of individual posts.
Evaluating the success of individual posts helps you understand what works and what doesn’t work with your audience on relevant social media platforms. For example, you could find that audiences are more interested in seeing the celebrities that use your products than in some of the behind-the-scenes product development posts.
You could learn that audiences are generally only watching the first 20 seconds of your minute-long video. Therefore, you need to change how you put your videos together.
It is this constant evaluation process that allows you with the info you need to refine your approach to social media, improve your content, and increase the number of relevant people engaging with you.
Again, there are many tools available specifically designed to help you track how many people are liking, sharing, and commenting on your posts. This saves you from the tedium of having to gather the data. You can then concentrate on understanding what it means.
How Much Time Does It Take?
First and foremost, you will need to dedicate significant time at the start of the process of developing your social media roadmap. The planning process. Researching audiences, competitors, and platforms. Developing success measures. These all take time.
Exactly how much will largely depend on what you already know and how much experience you already have with social media. But don’t be surprised if it requires several weeks of full-time work.
Once your social media roadmap is in place, you are looking at the day-to-day management of a social media account. Exactly how much time is required will depend. How much content do you intend to share? What type of content do you plan to post? How much interaction are you getting with your content?
As a general rule of thumb guideline:
Developing Content – One Hour Per Day
If you are planning to develop one piece of short content per day, with a quality photograph, with posts tailored to work on two of three different social platforms, you probably need at least one hour a day. You can significantly increase that time if you are working with video or longer-form content such as blogs.
Building Your Audience – 30 Minutes Per day
Of course, social media is all about the conversation. You will probably want to spend at least another half an hour a day looking at trends, influencers, and other relevant content and engaging with that content. This is a great way to draw attention to yourself and get people talking about you. It also shows you are part of the conversation and not just broadcasting.
Managing Engagement – One Hour Per Day
Depending on the level of interaction you get with your posts, you may need another hour or so per day to engage with comments. Unlike the other two activities, this probably is not a simple one-hour chunk of time. Responding and replying to comments should be timely. So, you may want four 15-minute windows per day to check on comments and engage with them.
Evaluation – Three Hours Per Month Minimum
In addition to this, you will need time to evaluate and report on your social media activity. This will depend greatly on how often you have decided to report and what level of detail you are seeking. But if you are evaluating monthly, you can reasonably expect to spend a minimum of three hours a month preparing this report.
Then don’t forget all the additional tasks associated with managing social media. You may need to spend time advocating for social media with your organization, Plus explaining the impact to colleagues, reviewing strategies with a working group, and so forth.
All in all, successfully managing a business social media account requires a much greater time commitment than many people expect. To have it done right, you need a dedicated member of staff with sufficient time to dedicate to the role. If you are giving it to someone to do off the side of the desk, you are setting them and the company up to fail.
Social media management often sits best within other teams that are about developing content and engaging audiences, such as marketing and web. This is because audiences are often similar and resources can be shared, and content can be adapted and repurposed.
Should You Be Outsourcing?
Often, when small businesses realize just how much time and effort is involved in maintaining a successful and strategic social media presence, they wonder how they can manage within their current team or find the budget to hire an additional member of staff.
One alternative option can be to outsource to a social media management company. They are often able to offer these services for much less than it would cost to dedicate a member of staff to the role due to economies of scale.
- Activities such as monitoring and engaging with comments, as well as researching trends and reporting can be done at scale for several clients.
- Dedicated social media companies generally have better tools for automating processes, as they can justify the expense of top range tools, as social media is their business.
- They can compartmentalize work, for example, with a dedicated photographer and dedicated videographer. This way you get the services of specialists that can do the work faster and better rather than relying on one person with broad but less specialized skills.
To learn more about outsourcing social media, read our article: Why You Should Consider Outsourcing Your Social Media.
Now you know exactly what is involved, it is time to get started! The process of putting together a social media roadmap can seem daunting. The time involved in managing social media day-to-day is also significant. But seeing the success of your social media activity can be extremely rewarding. Doing social media the right way can also offer a huge return on investment for your business.