Social media is a necessity for every size business today. You need a plan and not a shotgun approach when using it to have a positive part and gain from the benefits of social media. You need to be consistent in your message, target your messages based on the social platform being used, know when to respond, how to respond, and how to engage with your target audience. Like all marketing and branding efforts for your company you need a plan of attack so that your business is shown always in the best possible light. Today we will cover twelve items that should be in your social media plan whether you are in a small town in Indiana or a larger city like Chicago Illinois.
We all know that being consistent will help us not only improve but have better success over the long run. Social media is truly about being consistent in everything you do with it. You do not want to post one time one week, skip a few weeks and then post a dozen times to “make up” for missed posts. You need to post consistently and have a voice (tone) that is consistent between every person posting on your social media sites. It is possible the tone used may be different on different social media sites. Decide whether you will be serious, fun, silly, educational, energetic, creative, hip, artsy, etc. or will you be using a combination of one or more of these traits.
You voice is your brands personality described in an adjective. For instance, brands can be lively, positive, cynical, or professional.
Your tone is a subset of your brand's voice. Tone will add a specific flavor to your voice based on factors like audience, situation, and channel.
Remove your blinders and be committed to your success
Social media is a commitment to the marketing of your company. You need to be consistently and continually monitoring for people responding not only on your pages you are posting to. You need to keeping track of mentions by others on sites for your business name. This is part of reputation management. We have seen in the past where people are posting solely on Facebook and are mentioned on Twitter and completely missed the opportunity to respond. Have a strategy for listening to other sources and monitoring your brands reputation is equally important.
What to Post
Deciding what to post is one of the hardest items to determine. You need to learn about your customers and what will help them be more engaged with you. You don't want every post to be a sales pitch. And you don't want to post such a wide variety of information that does and doesn't pertain to your brand. The shotgun approach will almost certainly fail when it comes to social media for a business except for companies like news organizations that post on a wide variety of topics.
What to Not Post
Always avoid items that are political in nature, attacking, or could be considered seen as sensitive in nature to one or more people. Being as politically correct in everything you post is never an easy task but social media isn't an easy task.
How to Respond
It is always fun and great to respond to positive posts and thank you for …. It is when we have the other side of the coin that make our decisions on responding more challenging. When you do respond, you need to make certain you match your audience's expectations.
Posts per Week
Choosing the number of posts per week takes time and thought. Each social media outlet is completely different. Facebook is typically 3 posts per week (give or take one or two based on your audience). When posting to Twitter you are looking at 3-5 posts per day to stay engaged with your audience.
As you are making your posts a key item to remember is one item we always talk about for your website. You want to provide quality content that will provide value to your audience. When value is provided, your audience will start seeing you as an expert in your field, genuinely appreciate what you are providing and be more apt to share, comment, and like what you've written.
With your posts images can help build engagement without saying anything. Pictures truly can speak many words to those that are part of your fan base. Choose your images wisely and make certain they match your audience and your company as well. Make certain you don't use the same image on every social media platform. Every site has its own unique recommendations for sizes. Comply with the sizes that they recommend as it will put your business in the best possible light.
Treat each Social Media Site Uniquely
We see all too often, especially by inexperienced marketing companies, that run social media sites that understand Twitter and treat sites like Facebook as Twitter feeds posting multiple times a day to build engagement. Posting just to post to show you are there will give you little to no results. Learn the standards of what the social media platform is, learn your audience and what they expect and adjust accordingly.
Talking all about social media would be nothing without talking about who you are online. Your online experience is not, and should not be, Facebook (insert social media site here). Your online presence is your website. You have control over the look-and-feel, how content is displayed, and what content is available to your audience. This is your 24x7 sales tool. Use it to grow and engage with your current and prospective customers. When you create your blog posts (you are correct? If not start now as the search engines will love you and your audience will as well!). Avoid the auto-posting to speed up the process. Write content and images for your audience on each of the platforms you are on. This way you can properly size the images and write specific teasers to lead them to your website.
Engaging Your Audience and setting expectations
Social media is about talking (electronically) to your followers. You want to be engaging and get them to engage with you. Often for us we will get an occasional like which is awesome. We get more people coming in or sending us emails. Talking with customers and potential customers in the real-world is just as much engaging than if you were chatting back-and-forth on your feed. Setting a set of realistic expectations and goals will help you gauge what is working and what isn't working for you. When we originally started our social media, we were gauging based on likes, fans, etc. Now we look more at real-world engagement for our social media success than online. We only learned that after years of sticking with and committing to our social media strategy.
You will run into that you have the next set of posts scheduled out and up comes an additional item that you need to post immediately. This is where things can get tricky. Do you squeeze this one in, rearrange the upcoming posts, or is it different for each time the emergency item happens? We consider it different as some items can be rearranged as they are not date/time sensitive where others are. Examples of emergency posts could be closing due to weather, receiving an extra shipment giving your customers a great price on a product, etc.
Communication and Honesty
Communication with your fan base is important but equally important is that of your team. This will not only be those handling the social media but the rest of the team as well. They need to know what is happening so that if they are asked they are knowledgeable and aware of what the company is doing.
What shouldn't happen is making part of your company strategy is to make your team like and share everything you do to skew your numbers on engagement. This is like what many organizations have done with search engine optimization in the past where they set their employees homepages to the company homepage to increase the views of the website. This is not only a dishonest practice but one that doesn't truly build engagement. It makes it look as if you have engagement but doesn't.
By being consistent you will build your audience, provide quality content, and by being consistent you will grow your audience in a way that builds trust, showcases your expertise, and builds upon the loyalty of your brand.
Adapt to Change -- Be Agile!
Change is ultimately a part of life. You need to be able to quickly adapt and accept change. Whether the change is a way the timeline feed works, the layout of a profile page, the sizes of the images, or the addition of live or pre-recorded video. We constantly are looking at the latest trends and seeing what would work for the brands of our clients. Just because a change is made doesn't mean you have to do it either. You need to look at all aspects of the change, how it affects your audience, and just as importantly how it affects your brand message.
No matter the size of your town or city having a social media strategy that works collaboratively with your other marketing (flyers, website, etc.) is important. Stay consistent and don't be a robot when posting. Work on engaging with your audience and meet their unique needs by providing quality content that provides a value proposition.
If you would like help in engaging with your audience the team at Business YETI is ready, willing, and able to help your business out. Whether we do everything or work along side your team our social media department is dedicated to your businesess growth. Give us a call today at 219-229-1633, email us at sales@BusinessYETI.com, or through our online contact form here.
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