Social media is the Swiss Army Knife of businesses in the 21st century. We use social media to drive our branding efforts, connect with customers, generate new leads, gain insights into buying habits, manage reputation, and bolster our digital footprint.
But, while social media is an essential part of modern business, many companies still aren’t getting the full potential from their digital efforts. As Social Media Examiner’s 2016 Social Media Marketing Industry Report reveals:
- 92% of marketers don’t know which social media management tactics are most effective.
- 90% of marketers don’t know the best way to connect with customers.
- 86% of marketers don’t know how to measure the ROI from their social media marketing.
- 86% of marketers don’t know how to use social media to find their target audience.
- 86% of marketers don’t know which tools will help them manage social media.
So what’s the problem? Simply put, most B2B and B2C businesses lack an effective strategy for social media management.
In this post, I’m going to walk you through the most important social media “Dos” and “Don’ts.” At the end of this article, I’ve also included a table that recaps my main points. Feel free to print it out and use it as a reminder whenever you need to get your social media strategy back on track.
1) Have a Strategy
The single most important part of social media management happens long before you ever sign up for Facebook or publish your first Tweet. Each social media marketing campaign should start with clearly outlined goals and a battle plan that will help you achieve those goals.
Here’s the secret of a good strategy: for a strategy to be effective, it must be as specific as possible.
For example, SEJ’s Social Media Strategy breaks down tactics for dealing with seven of the most popular platforms, and each one is specific in its aims (e.g. increasing Facebook followers by 10% each month, increasing Twitter followers by 5% each month, etc). They refine their strategies further by listing tone/style guidelines, posting strategies, engagement strategies and strategies to find new followers.
Typical start-up social media management strategies will look a little different. These strategies revolve around assessing your strengths and weaknesses as a company, and finding opportunities to turn your early customers into brand evangelists.
Of course, your perfect strategy won’t be a carbon copy of some other company’s goals. When building your social media management strategy make sure you set realistic goals that will have a meaningful impact on your business.
Editor’s Note: To learn more on how to create a social media strategy for multiple clients, check out Debbie Miller’s Marketing Nerds episode.
2) Choose the Best Platforms
How’s your Facebook outreach going? What about Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+? Do you have a YouTube account? What about Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr? And lest we forget, Reddit.
With so many social media platforms to choose from, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed if you don’t stay organized. The worst part is that you overlooking one platform might mean missing out on a huge potential market.
According to Christina Baldassarre’s research, the best platforms for engagement currently are Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter, and YouTube—but you should also consider other platforms where your audience may live.
3) Use the Right Tools
Keeping up with social media is an impossible task for us mere mortals. Fortunately, there’s some handy software options to help you manage and monitor all of your social media accounts from one central hub. Here are some of the best options:
- BuzzBundle: (disclaimer: my software) We developed BuzzBundle to be the ultimate social media management tool. Not only does it connect with all the biggest social media platforms, but it helps you monitor blogs, forums, and Q&A sites, too. Best of all, BuzzBundle analytics give you the insights you need to reach new customers, boost your SEO campaign, and find key influencers in your industry.
- Hootsuite: Hootsuite connects you to over 35 social networks. Like BuzzBundle, Hootsuite lets you find out what your customers are saying about your brand and easily manage your outreach thanks to a central hub for all of your social media management.
- Buffer: Social media is Buffer’s specialty. Buffer lets you post photos, videos, and posts to the most popular social media sites. It also lets you craft posts in advance and publishes them later for maximum exposure.
- Sprout Social: Sprout Social’s platform lets you manage your social messages through a single-stream inbox. You can schedule, publish, and post content to your favorite social media sites and then get valuable insights on how audiences engage with your content.
- Social Studio: Salesforce’s offering helps you engage with your customers by keeping you connected to over 650 million different sources. With this software, you can listen in on conversations surrounding your brand, engage with your audience, and post to all the important platforms.
4) Track the Metrics That Matter
If you don’t know whether or not your social media outreach is impacting your business, then what’s the point? When you’ve defined a goal for your social media campaign, the only way to tell if it succeeded is to gather corresponding metrics.
Here are some metrics that might indicate success:
- If your goal was to get to expand your reach, measure engagement and new followers.
- If your goal was to grow brand awareness, measure shares and influencers mentioning your brand.
- If your goal was to get more sales, measure referrals, CTR, and conversions.
The tools listed above will give you a lot of insights into the metrics you need to measure the success of your campaign.
5) Engage and Post Regularly
Last but not least, the point of a social network is to socialize. Share great content regularly to give your followers something to share and get excited about. Don’t forget to engage with their content too—follow the industry leaders in your niche and try to give more than you receive.
To make sure you keep up with social media, consider setting a schedule for yourself. Even ten minutes spent sharing and engaging every day goes a long way toward boosting your web presence.
1) Try to Please Everyone
One of the most important parts of your strategy is to understand your audience. If you try to please everyone, you’ll wind up offering nothing unique, and nobody will be satisfied.
On the other hand, if you know your audience and understand their pain points, you can tailor your services to solve their specific problems. Do that better than any of your competitors and you’ll have a loyal following in no time.
2) Delete Negative Reviews
When you see every mention of your brand, it can be tempting to purge negative experiences from the web. Resist that urge. Instead, reach out to people who leave a negative review—ask how you can improve their experience and work hard to regain their trust. Doing this may not only salvage a sour situation, but it will also show other potential leads how far you’re willing to go for your customers.
3) Lose Your Personal Touch
Automation may be the only way to keep up with all bustling social spheres, but that’s no excuse to lose the human element in your brand. That means posting new content for every demographic, no matter where they fall in your sales funnel. Keep your messaging personal, targeted, and bursting with your brand’s unique personality.
On this note, make sure that your outreach always feels organic. Don’t make the mistake of befriending every follower and spamming inane posts. On the flip side, don’t be a recluse who only posts and promotes their own content. Instead, share content you truly love and connect with people whose insights you value.
4) Become Complacent
Finding your audience on all the bustling social media platforms and watching them respond with gusto every time you post new content isn’t enough. The best social media strategists plan ahead—and they’re always experimenting.
The truth is that social media management is never done. There’s always a better way to reach your target audience, a new platform waiting to be discovered, and more avenues for you to engage with your customers. Stay ahead of the curve and never let your current strategy be “good enough.”
5) Neglect Your Audience
Disengaging is one of the worst social media sins. Don’t neglect one network in favor of another or leave comments and questions from a genuinely engaged audience unanswered. If you do need to go on a hiatus for whatever reason use social media to inform your followers—they’ll value the communication.
The days of long customer support phone calls and endless waiting periods on hold are (mostly) done. These days, your customers rely on the internet to learn about your business and connect with you. So don’t let this opportunity go to waste—find out who your audience is what they’re saying about your brand.
To recap, here are the top “dos” and “don’ts” when it comes to social media management: