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― Through the Looking Glass
Social media can seem like a daunting task; there’s always more to do and little time to accomplish it. With so much to do, how do you accomplish it all?
1. Consider a posting plan, to start.
“Lots of small businesses get so caught up in ROI, strategy,and SEO that they forget the most important part: to post consistently. So many businesses are so wrapped up in the overthinking that they leave their pages out of date by months or years – dinging their credibility when a potential client looks them up online to see what they are all about. My best tip for small businesses just getting started is to come up with simple posting plan to start – and then actually carry out that plan consistently over time. Once you get comfortable posting on a regular basis, you can invest more time and money in a deeper strategy.”
2. Invest in a scheduling tool.
“Investing in a scheduling tool, like Buffer for Hoot-suite, to schedule your social posts in advance. These tools will save you hours of time each week. Social scheduling tools allow you to schedule posts across multiple social channels for the day, week or month. This way you don’t spend 30-60 minutes every day on social media.”
Social media moves quickly, so you need to be a little more reactive than other channels. You need to be engaged with what’s happening; if you plan on just setting something up and walking away, you’re going to have a bad time.
1. Engagement is a two-way street.
“When people mention your company on social media, let them know that you’re listening. If it’s a question or positive comment, respond ASAP. If not, make sure to like or favorite the post so they know you saw it. Little gestures like this go a long way.”
2. Look local for cross-promotion opportunities.
“Engage locally and authentically! Look for local organizations with whom your business has a natural affinity of demographic crossover.
Find them, follow them and engage with them. Retweet and repost their content and look for opportunities to feature them in your content. Soon enough, if the connection is real, you’ll find their audience becomes your audience, too.”
3. Set yourself up for success: Optimize your other channels/content for social sharing.
“You can also use email to promote social media. Include your social icons/links within the footer of your emails to build an audience.”
“Include social share icons with proper functionality on your web pages. Icons with ‘share’ functionality should be placed on article pages, and icons with ‘follow’ functionality should be placed in the footer or header.”
One of the biggest challenges any social media manager faces is proving the return on investment. It’s easy to say ‘we need to be on social media,’ but–for small businesses where resources are sparse–the executive team often needs to see how you’re moving the needle.
1. Take advantage of the built-in analytics tools.
“You can’t manage what you don’t measure, but measuring social media ROI doesn’t have to be expensive. Small businesses can take advantage of the wealth of information provided in built-in, free analytics tools like Facebook Insights. The key is know what to measure – don’t worry too much about gathering a million followers. The important numbers to watch are engagement and impressions.”
2. Define what success looks like to you and build from there.
“In terms of measuring ROI, it depends on your business objectives. If increasing your following is a major goal, create a simple shared doc or spreadsheet with others on your team and record the number of followers per channel at the beginning of the month. Then, once a week or once a month, go back and write in the most current follower counts. This will show you where you’re growing, stalling or losing ground…
If web traffic is a goal (and it probably should be), set yourself up with a Google Analytics account so that you can measure all of the pertinent metrics that show where your visitors are coming from, which channels are the sources of valuable traffic, how long do people stay and read your content before bouncing, and whether they leave your page quickly or visit other pages on your site. This data will help you develop a solid strategy and ensure you’re not simply spinning your wheels with social media or blogging efforts.”
3. Don’t get swayed by vanity metrics.
“Most businesses only focus on vanity metrics like number of followers, likes, and re-tweets. Those can be a good measure of your success, but they can also be deceiving. Not every follower is useful to you. Is it better to have 1,000 great followers that could potentially be customers one day or 10,000 followers that are in a different country that will never buy from you. It’s pretty obvious that you’d rather have the 1,000. High numbers don’t always mean great success.
I’d recommend figuring out what action you really want your followers to make. Do you want them to click through to your website? Do you want to start more conversations with them through social? Do you want them to claim an offer that you’re sharing specifically through social media? Define the action that you want them to take and start tracking it. Social media is at least as much about branding as it is marketing so if you make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward and branding yourself as an authority in your industry, you’ll be just fine!”
4. Test constantly
“Testing of your social media content needs to be ongoing, and there should always be a monthly, if not weekly discussion as a team on what content is performing either well or poorly, and what can be done to remedy that. This can be fixed by optimizing timing of posts, stronger call to actions, curation of industry content, etc.”
5. Be patient! It’s a learning experience.
“Be patient! A lot of small business owners don’t know about all of a platform’s capabilities, or get frustrated when they don’t see a high engagement rate or grand following right away. If you’re not getting the results you want, spend a little more time going back to basics. Optimize your Facebook Page, follow relevant accounts on Twitter, post regularly to Instagram, and so on.”