In this, the first of a two-part episode, we’ll be looking at building an effective social media strategy.
Welcome back to the Simply Business podcast. In this, the first of a two-part episode, we’ll be looking at building an effective social media strategy.
Once you have made the decision to embrace social media, you will need to start thinking about how to get the best results. All too often, businesses set up a Twitter or Facebook account, post a couple of confused messages, and then forget about it. Or, even worse, they give the passwords to the intern, presuming that it’s a low priority task.
If you are going to do social media, you need to do it properly – and this involves thinking strategically.
Your social media strategy should set out your objectives, and provide a framework for achieving them. The idea is to help you reach your goals, in an orderly, sustainable way.
To begin with, you need to define those goals. What do you want to achieve? Do you want to drive more sales? Do you want to increase brand awareness? Do you want to increase the number of visitors to your site? You need to come up with measurable, attainable goals. These will form the cornerstone of your social media strategy.
Then, consider the tools at hand. It is tempting to sign up for everything on offer, and adopt a sort of scattergun approach. But this rarely works, and normally means a lot of wasted time. Instead, take some time to research the tools on offer. Which platforms are relevant to your business? Consider who you are trying to reach, and where those people live online, and make your choice accordingly.
Next, consider your tone of voice. This is a vital but often overlooked element of any social media strategy. Remember that
The next step is to find relevant discussions to join. Remember that social media is not just a broadcast medium. Instead, it is a way of conducting and facilitating conversations with current and potential customers, as well as with peers and competitors. You’ll need to think about what sorts of conversations you want to get involved in.
A major part of this will involve monitoring social media platforms for mentions of your brand. You can keep track of what people are saying about you online with a range of simple tools including the Twitter real-time search function. By carefully monitoring these platforms you can engage with customers, and address problems proactively.
You should also think about personalising your communications. Social media works best when it involves humans. There are two facets to this. To begin with, you should make sure that your feeds don’t just consist of automated messages or links to your blogposts. You need to give people a reason to follow you on social media, and this involves building human contact.
The second element of this relates to your business’s online persona. Think about ways that you can underline the human element of your communications. This could be as simple as using a real photograph of yourself as your avatar on Twitter, or signing off Facebook messages using your real name. This can build a sense that users are talking not just to a business, but to a real person – and in turn, this encourages better conversations online.
In the second part of this two-part episode, we’ll look at finishing up and applying your new social media strategy.