Every business, no matter how small, can reap the returns of social media. Here's how.
You'd think that having a social media strategy for your business – large or small – would be a no-brainer. While business owners and marketing professionals undoubtedly agree that social media is important for business, it's surprising that quarter of small businesses still have no social media presence at all!
Excuses like not having enough time to devote to creating a social media strategy are frankly invalid. With such great tools available, as well as increasing measurability of the returns of social media marketing, it is critical that your business has a bulletproof social media plan in place.
Here's how to do it.
1. Learn what's trending
If there's one word that can be used to describe social media, it's "fast-paced." What is "in" one day could very well be gone the next. Staying up to date with trends, while not being overly trendy, can be difficult.
If you are running social media for your business, you need to be in tune with the news, language and culture of each platform as it develops. Consistently monitor hashtags and widely shared content. Additionally, be sure you are regularly reading social media blogs to stay informed: Social Media Today and Social Media Examiner are two that will always keep you on top of your game.
For inspiration on the types of posts that would be best for your business, start by getting a feel for trending topics across the web. Using a social media listening tool like Brandwatch, you can search brand names or competitors. You can also find conversations taking place in your industry about your brand and your competitors.
Following social media influencers also helps you keep a finger on the pulse, too. These individuals are influential for a reason, so follow their example and learn from them. See what types of content they share and how they engage with their audience. Observing these leaders will give you an example of how to run your social media account successfully, and it will hopefully help you avoid common mistakes.
2. Keep a bank of timeless posts
One of the most overwhelming parts of managing social media pages is the constant demand for content. According to recent studies, the frequency of posting relates directly to engagement levels. They recommend posting about three times a week on Facebook and anywhere from three to 30 times a day for Twitter. Creating this much content sounds strenuous, and scheduling posts throughout the day can take up huge chunks of precious time.
The key is creating evergreen, non-time-sensitive topics content that can be recycled and provide continuous value.
For this purpose, a social media management tool like Social Jukebox can be a lifesaver. This post scheduler is great for helping small businesses ensure they are distributing content regularly. Social media teams can sit down and create a bank of evergreen content, then set a schedule to distribute it.
Social Jukebox acts as a filing system that keeps records of any preloaded posts, then releases them based on your posting schedule. Once it runs out, Social Jukebox recycles the old content and starts the process over again. It will even automatically engage with your audience for you by thanking them for positive comments or shares!
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3. Look at each post from all angles
Before you post anything, you must examine the content from multiple perspectives. Even though posts can be deleted, there can still be severe repercussions to an inappropriate update – take these infamous tweets for example. Releasing a post that is offensive, divisive or controversial gets people talking, but not for the reasons you want.
The key is empathy. When you create a post, try to get as many people to chime in as possible to see if there are any ways it could be negatively interpreted.
Once you've chosen your social channels, you need to critically examine and play "what if" before releasing content. While it's nearly impossible to release content on social media without offending at least one person, be sure you're not poking at any sensitive issues and producing anything blatantly distasteful.
Even the smallest, seemingly harmless phrasing can result in huge consequences.
4. Don't skimp on analytics
It's estimated that half of small businesses don't track the results of their social media strategies at all. Tracking campaigns and analytics reports are critical for gauging their success or failure.
For this purpose, Sprout Social is a great tool to use. It gathers all relevant engagement information, then creates charts and reports that are easy to understand. By tracking and analyzing impressions, shares, conversion rates and more, a social media analytics programs becomes vital to measuring the impact of your strategy.
Of course, it's difficult to measure results if you have no way to determine if the numbers are good or bad. This is why you need to have clear-cut goals and milestones for each campaign. These should be specific and measurable. For instance, if your goal is to improve reach, pick an attainable number. This can be something like gaining 1,000 followers per quarter. These types of numbers can easily be measured and are crucial for measuring success and ROI.
Social media is designed to create personal connections with your audience. In fact, if a customer experiences a positive interaction with a brand on social media, they are more likely to purchase and recommend that brand to others. This is why social media strategies are so important for small businesses. This type of marketing strategy is not easy; there is a lot of planning and tracking that goes into creating a strong and successful presence, but the payoff can be momentous.