Sometimes, in the midst of running a business, getting to grips with your online presence can seem like an impossible task. “I don’t know where to start!” is a common, exasperated cry from many who skirt around their social media with a wary best-not-to-even-go-there-I-just can’t-handle-it-right-now approach.
There’s no denying that social media does require your attention – the ‘build it and they will come’ philosophy does NOT apply here – but it needn’t be overwhelming. Ignoring it isn’t an option ….but the good news is that getting on top of it is really quite simple. And it starts with…..a PLAN!
The plan is simple, and it goes back to the basics, looking at WHY you’re doing social media, WHO you’re aiming at, WHAT you’re going to post and WHEN you’re going to post it. So, if you’ve been burying your head in the sand when it comes to social media, not sure where (or how) to start, it’s time to stop procrastinating: grab a pen, and let’s get planning!
The ultimate GOAL of your social media efforts should guide everything you do. So take the time, first of all, to consider your objectives, and make sure that they are in alignment with your broader marketing strategy.
A simple way to start is by coming up with, and writing down, at least three SMART (specific, measureable, attainable, relevant, time-bound) social media goals. Consider what the goal will look like when completed, and use that to determine how you will measure your success.
Your objectives might include:
- Sales support – providing product demonstrations and answering customers’ questions.
- Attract new customers – driving traffic to your website or social media platforms.
- Build your brand – get seen online, get people to know your name and associate it with your product.
- Create loyalty – form relationships by engaging with your audience; join conversations, be human, be genuine and helpful.
This is a great time to stop and think about WHO you are aiming your social media efforts at. Having a clear idea of the prospects and customers with whom you want to engage on social media will make it easier for you to connect online and get the results you want.
Really do your research and create profiles for your target audiences: think about who these people are, who/what influences them, which industries they work in, what they like, what motivates them, what they read, where they go, their age ranges, personality traits, income brackets, technical know-how, where they engage on social media, what incentives will make them act?
What do you want to say? Identify 5 key topics for your business and build your content around them. Laying down these foundations from the outset will save you time and effort when it comes to content creation and will guide you in all your social media efforts. Consider a variety of content formats too, and aim to include video and images as well as text to increase engagement/sharing
Set out the dates and times you intend to post blogs, Facebook posts, Tweets and other content you may plan to use during your social media campaigns into an editorial calendar. Once you’ve created the calendar you can schedule your posts in advance (use Facebook’s own scheduling tool or Hootsuite and Manage Flitter) rather than manually updating throughout the day.
Taking the time to create a comprehensive, realistic and achievable social media plan will take the fear out of social media and place you firmly in control. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and effort down the line and your content will be more cohesive, targeted and effective. In our book, that’s a very good plan!
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