Social media is important. No matter what you do or where you go, social media is there. We all agree that something should be done in the realm of social media.
The question is, how should you do it?
I’ll give you the standard disclaimer: social media is as unique as your company and the people with which you do business. That said, my goal is to walk you through some basic concepts to consider when approaching the different social media channels and explain how you can implement these concepts into your marketing plan.
Identify the goal.
Our first question is, what do we want to accomplish on social? That answer can vary considerably. Do you want to use it to communicate with existing customers? Do you want to use it to announce promotions, or is it an opportunity for lead generation? All the above? Once you know what you want to do, it’s important to know where to do it. Different platforms favor certain objectives over others. For example, if you have a considerable book of landscape worth, Instagram is a highly visual platform and is a great place to share that sort of content.
If your objective is marketed more toward business decision makers, then LinkedIn would be a better fit.
Finally, you want to establish a posting schedule. Deciding who should manage your social media is very important. Often in small businesses you’ll find that the responsibility will often fall to the youngest or most technically proficient office employee. However, this approach might not be the best. When selecting a social media coordinator, it’s important to make sure this person understands your business and your customer.
In terms of technical knowledge required, getting started is fairly simple. I recommend taking Facebook’s Blueprint courses to familiarize yourself with Facebook and Instagram. For other platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn, there are some really great introductory articles through Sprout Social, Hootsuite and Social Media Week. Finally, in terms of how to organize your content, I recommend implementing a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of engagement posts to sales posts on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn can get by with 2:1 or 1:1.
It’s best to share posts that you would consider more engaging such as polls, interesting photographs, personal stories and the like. With a consistent posting schedule, you give yourself plenty of opportunity to interact with your followers and set a good example for potential clients.
We have our goal, where we want to post and a schedule to keep. Now the question is, what do you want to post and how do you want to post?
We alluded to it a bit earlier, but I feel it’s important to really focus in on what content is best for you and your followers. My recommendation is to look at some of the pages you enjoy most and gain inspiration from there. Do you enjoy a more candid or professional approach? Do you feel it’s important to acknowledge outside trends or do you want to stick to business? Whatever approach you choose, the most important aspect of your content is that it is genuine. We all have seen the various social media fails where a company will try something that’s outside of their established brand and it just comes off as out of touch and disingenuous.
How and when.
Finally, you have the question of how should I post? I would like to break this question down two ways: 1. How often should I post; 2. What method should I use for posting? In terms of posting frequency, I have always subscribed to the philosophy of posting when you actually have something to say. Basically, just ask yourself, “Why am I posting this?” If it takes you more than 30 seconds to come up with an answer, then you’re likely posting just for the sake of it and that generally does not translate into good content.
Posting through your social media page is one of many options afforded to you, but there are many great post schedulers. My favorites are Hootsuite, Buffer, Sprout Social, Social News Desk and TweetDeck. Please note, these are just a few options that I have worked with and you will find different strengths and weaknesses in each app.
Trying to manage and business and handle marketing at the same time can be tough, but it’s important to understand that social media is another avenue to reach people you might not otherwise reach. So, break it down into easy steps, think about what audience you want to speak to and start communicating.