Create a Plan
You need to integrate your social media efforts into your company’s overall communications plan. Having a solid social strategy is just as important as any other business plan and will give you the best possible start. Your plan should include an editorial calendar, posting schedule, contests and more. It should also be adaptable to changes in the market, new products, new services and accommodate other newsworthy items of interest to your audience.
So once the plan is constructed, make sure you know what you’re going to measure to determine success and the tools you’ll be investing in to do so. For example, on the front end you might measure new website traffic, interactions, information downloads and new lead quality among them.
For the best results, identify how frequently you’ll be posting on each of your social media platforms. A general guideline is between two and five times per day, depending on the platform. Social media users are online at different times of the day and it’s easy for them to miss your posts if you’re not active enough, especially on high-traffic platforms such as Twitter. You also need to identify the skills you need to execute your strategy and plan for any necessary training ahead of time.
Finding Your Target Audience
So you’re launching your business and you know you need to be on social media. Find out where your competitors are placing emphasis as this will be the quickest way to understand where you likely need to be as well. Also, conduct demographic research on the most popular social media platforms so that you have a clear understanding of the target audience for each. Focus at first only on the venues where you will gain the most benefit. Your venue selections will depend on the type of business you’re in. Don’t feel like you need to do everything at once, especially if you know you don’t have the resources to keep up. Even if you won’t be active on all platforms applicable for your company right off the bat, it’s important to take ownership of them quickly. Do this to avoid issues down the road in case another company with a similar name should creep up and take on those platforms ahead of you.
Equally important is how your audience is engaging with social media. Are they posting blogs and videos, rating and reviewing products and/or consuming lots of information? Once you know where they are and how to engage them, you also know what platform to be on and what sort of content to focus your efforts on.
What You Want to Say and How You Want to Say It
The voice of your brand depends on the audience you’re talking to. Since you already know who makes up your target market, think about what kind of person they would want to talk to. The most effective brand voices sound like a person, so consider creating a persona your audience will find relatable. The specificity or adaptability of this voice should depend on how varied or specific your audience is.
Tone is the underlying impression your audience receives from your brand and helps establish credibility. This credibility, of course, is specific to your industry so make sure you’re appealing to that market. The key is to keep the tone and overall voice of your brand consistent across all platforms.
Create Your Content Calendar
The primary purpose of social media is not necessarily to sell on the front end but to increase brand awareness/exposure and build a community of followers. Some will be qualified leads you can engage in a variety of ways. Some will develop into customers. Write blog posts that answer questions relative to your product or service and include shareable links to allow distribution across social channels. The key is writing and distributing useful content so that your followers connect with you for the right reasons. If you’re a retailer lender for example, your social media posts might speak to topics of interests to those in the market for mortgage financing vs. how to build a sandbox.
When people start to connect with you, a huge part of community and conversation building is based on actively listening. Be sure to initiate conversations with your followers to find out what content you’re distributing they find most valuable, their experience with your company and what you can do to improve it.
Follow the 80/20 rule for content, which means that 80% of content is geared towards brand and community building (including sharing from other sources) and the remaining 20% self-promotional/sales.
Since social media has become a legitimate go-to feedback tool for many customers, have a plan and tools in place for responding to feedback, both positive and negative.
Be Consistent and Authentic
One of the benefits of social media is that it gives companies the ability to put a personality behind their brands easily and quickly. It’s imperative your social media personality match your brand and that your voice is consistent across all communication channels including paid media, earned media and owned media. If your social media content doesn’t seem to flow with your company’s advertising or media interviews you’ll appear inauthentic. It’s important to establish a consistent posting schedule so users will know when to expect new content. Capitalize on current events, seasons and holidays to make your content more relevant.Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community