1. Set Goals. What is it you hope to achieve with social media? Name recognition? Customer engagement? Lead generation? You cannot achieve your goals without knowing what they are.
2. Commit to Your Campaign. A successful social media campaign is not complicated but it does take time, effort and commitment. Designate accountability for the campaign and follow up. Be sure to apply these rules to yourself if you manage your company’s campaign!
3. Decide Which Social Media Platforms to Use. There are dozens of possibilities and each channel can serves a different purpose and often, reaches a different audience. Unless you have a fulltime employee whose sole responsibility is social media you will never be able to utilize all of them. Pick 2 or 3 to concentrate your efforts. The most important social media platforms are:
· Facebook. By far the biggest and most used platform. It should be a priority in your postings.
· Twitter. Second only to Facebook in users. Their 140 character limit makes it tough to get across your point but it makes it easy for users to look at a lot of posts. It is a good site to make announcements and share news.
· LinkedIn- Facebook for professionals. You will not see family photos on LinkedIn. Use it more like a website by filling your page with information about your company and for making informative and more formal posts.
· Instagram. Growing in popularity. It is a very photo centric. If you are in a visual business or have lots of announcements to make this is a great outlet.
· Snapchat. Used almost exclusively on phones it is a great place to post videos. Your posts are automatically deleted after 24 hours.
· YouTube. The king of video posts. Others are stealing their business but they are still the most important player in the fastest growing segment in social media, videos.
4. Creating Your Pages. Each social media channel has made it easy to open an account but it is very important to put in the time creating you page for each platform in order to have good looking and informative pages. Important consideration include:
· A captivating description of your business. Bear in mind that you want visitors to want to find out more about you.
· Quality banner photos. A quality and engaging image will help bring people into your page.
· Direct visitors to your website. This is possibly the most important element of your social media page. Facebook’s call to action button allows you to place a link to your website on your home page. Utilize this.
5. Posting. Posting is the nuts and bolts of all good campaigns. What you post and when you post is worthy of an article on its own. Here are the basics.
· Posts should be a mixture of interesting items designed to build engagement and informative substance in order to build your reputation as source of information.
· Posts about your company should be used sparingly. Followers do not want to see a lot of posts about how wonderful you are. If you hit a special milestone or win an important award by all means let people know just do not overdue it.
· Post about topics related to your company. There is a lot of leeway here. You can post about the city you are located in, your industry as a whole or interesting facts that in some way can be tied back to your business. Cat videos are popular but a landscaping company posting a cat video is just going to look like a cheap attempt to get views.
· Always add an image. Photos beat copy and videos beat photos. Use photographs or videos on almost every post. An image draws attention to a post, increasing views and can grow followership.
6. Frequent and Consistent Posting. We cannot stress this consideration enough! It is essential to post frequently and consistently. Posting for 5 straight days and then not posting for a week will not benefit your company, and it might actually hurt it. Numerous studies show that a high percentage of consumers will check a business’ social media pages before doing business with them. A lack of frequent and consistent posting will be noted and will possibly affect their decision to create a relationship with that business.
7. Reinforce Followers. If someone goes to the trouble of commenting on one of your posts make sure you reply to their comment or at least like it when appropriate. People love to have their opinions validated and showing them some appreciation will bring you a lot of goodwill.
8. Avoid Mistakes. We covered common social media mistakes in our LinkedIn article. The most important rules to remember are
· Be neutral like Switzerland! Do not post anything controversial.
· Accountability. Be sure that someone is being held responsible for your social media campaign.
9. Analyze. Social media channels provide basic analytical tools. Things to look for when analyzing your social media efforts:
· Look at which posts are creating the most social media engagement. Some posts you think are great will fall flat and some you were not excited about will create buzz. Learn from the past and adjust your posts to reflect the ones that are working.
10. Be Patient. You are not going to set the social media world on fire your first day and probably not even your first year. Building followers and developing a good reputation takes time and effort. Eventually the posts that were seen by 30 people will be seen by 100 and the ones that were seen by 100 will be up to 1000.