It’s no secret younger online searchers are active on all social media platforms.
But more over-fifty consumers are also getting on board.
What this means for your business is a need to a build a social media strategy that works to target the one in three consumers in the U.S. whose purchases are influenced by social media – or anybody else who happens to be within your target audience, regardless of what specific demographic you’re trying to reach.
Here’s what you can do to start building a strategy that makes sense for your business.
Pick a Few Social Platforms You Can Realistically Manage
A lot of business owners wholeheartedly dive right into social media and create profiles on every platform. While this does mean widespread exposure, it can also mean a lot of headaches if keeping up with your posting obligations and interactions becomes a full-time job.
Instead, narrow your focus to a few platforms you can fully devote your attention to on a regular basis.
So, How Do You Choose Your Social Platforms?
With Facebook, there has been a drop-off in younger users lately, but it’s still the go-to platform if your main goal is boosting brand visibility. LinkedIn is the B2B platform, which is fine if that’s your target audience. Twitter is more fast-paced. If you want to spread the word about upcoming events, promotions, or specials, it can be effective. Instagram is more popular with younger users these days. It can be good for you if you have a food, fashion, or lifestyle business. YouTube and Pinterest can work well for you if your brand is highly visual. With YouTube, however, you’ll need to be able to consistently produce high-quality videos.
What specific content you’ll share via your social platforms will depend on your audience and what it is you primarily want to achieve with your online engagement. Boosting awareness, generating more website traffic, increasing physical business sales, improving customer retention, and creating another source of customer service support are among the many goals businesses could have for their social media efforts. Generally, every ten posts you share should be a mix of:
- Useful content from other leaders within your industry
- Helpful content that’s not promotional in nature
- Content that humanizes your brand and helps connect with followers on an emotional level
Set Your Budget
Social media is going to involve some type of investment. Establish your goals and determine how much you can realistically set aside to achieve those goals. If you plan to advertise via social platforms, you’ll probably be setting monthly budgets that will change based on needs and results seen.
Monitor Your Social Media Activity
There are many tools that will help you monitor your social media activity. Social Mention, for instance, will give you real-time results so you can see what’s been said about your brand on various platforms. BuzzSumo will give you alerts when your business is referred to online. Mention and Quiip are equally useful resources for monitoring purposes.
Have an Emergency Plan
All it takes is one negative comment that gets repeatedly shared to tarnish your brand’s rep. This doesn’t mean you should be afraid to use social media for your business. Just have a plan in place to deal with situations like this. A common complaint among customers is a lack of response when customer service questions are asked via social media. Half of all Twitter users, for example, expect a response within an hour.
Avoid disaster by quickly responding to any negative comments to show that you’re aware of what’s going on. If other followers see you’re making an honest effort to address legit complaints, they’re less likely to not hold it against your brand. Spark Central and Be Present are some of the tools you can use to track comments.
Put Together Your Social Media Team
Your “team” might just be your employees. If you do allow your team to post, establish some guidelines to ensure that a consistent message in line with your brand is being delivered. Another option is to put together a complete social media team, either in-house or from outsourced talent.
Such a team would consist of:
- Social media manager (decides on platforms, sets a posting schedule, coordinates with other team members)
- Content creator (anybody posting content related to your business)
- Content curator (seeks content relevant to your brand from reliable sources)
- Community manager (builds social media relationships by coordinating engagement efforts like live social chats)
- Social media monitor (tracks results)
- Influencer manager (cultivates relationships with influential users)
- Social media advertiser (handles social media advertising efforts)
Note: You may not need all of these people for your “team,” especially if you have a smaller business and you don’t have ambitious social media goals.
Figure Out Who’s Going to Juggle Your Tech Needs
It takes some tech-savvy team members to keep things running behind-the-scenes with your social platforms. Decide if you can juggle your social media tech needs in-house or if you’ll need to outsource for this. If you are going to build a full social media team, you can always appoint or hire a go-to tech person.
Social media results can easily be tracked, so you’ll definitely know how much return you’re getting on your investment. Not only does each platform have its own metrics, but you’ll also get plenty of useful info from your Google Analytics reports. Specifically, pay attention to things like followers, shares, mentions, referral traffic, clicks, and conversions. What you’ll end up with is a clear picture of how your social media engagement efforts are paying off. Remember, the key ingredient you’ll need for any successful social media strategy is fresh, engaging content that’s relevant to your business.
Guest Author: Mel Devent is a passionate blogger who enjoys writing about all things digital marketing. She is currently working as a Marketing Associate at Blogger Sidekick, helping small businesses build authority brands with content marketing. In her spare time she loves scuba diving, watching movies and catching up with friends.