Your business created a Facebook page months -- or even years ago -- and no one is actively managing it. Does that mean you’re "on social media?" Not really. The key to a social media presence is just that - being social.
Most businesses know the importance of social media nowadays, but for some it’s still just a catchphrase. The “Sandwich Board” approach to social media (where you create an account for everyone to see but do not use it) is worse that no presence at all. It gives the impression that your business does not understand marketing in 2016. A true social media presence is one that is consistently active and relevant. It is a continuous process of refinement to find, keep and engage your target audience. Here are the five steps it takes to make the most of your social media presence:
Consider your target audience. What do the demographics look like? Each social media platform has its own demographic. With over 1 billion users, it’s hard to go wrong with a Facebook page for your business, but there may be other platforms to consider. There is no need to create a presence on every social media platform. Instead, focus on the best fit for your brand message. Quality, not quantity, is key.
Set goals and use social media analytics to measure and refine them. Once established, focus your efforts on using social media to converse with your customers. If your goal is to make sales, making every post a “Sales Pitch” post is sure to drive away many fans. It’s okay to sell your product once in awhile, but your social media presence should be much deeper and much more thoughtful than that. Brainstorm content your audience finds valuable. What are the best ways to share this content? Shareable content is key, you want content that your fans and followers will want to share with others. Plus, when fans do share, that is free advertising!
A successful social media presence is a time-consuming activity. You cannot just create a presence and leave. In many cases, that actually turns people off when they visit your page and see outdated information. Once you begin posting, stick with it. Each platform has an average number of posts that work best. For example, posting at least once per day, but no more than 3 times per day on Facebook is recommended. On Twitter, surveys show many successful businesses Tweet a minimum of 1 to 5 times per day.
Listen and Engage
Once you begin posting, you’ll want to make sure you are listening to what your fans/customers are saying, and respond to them. It’s called social media for a reason. Create content that is engaging to earn genuine rapport with your fans/followers. With every change to the Facebook algorithm, brand message get throttled back further and further. The latest reports show that large, successful brands have seen a 40% decrease in engagement year over year. It's time to get creative. Sharing a funny meme or viral video no longer gets easy engagement.
Analyze & Adjust
Once you try a few different types of posts, you should analyze which ones worked better than others. What days/times drew more engagement? Which posts were shared more than others? With the help of various social media reporting software, you will be able to clearly see what elements it takes to create a successful post -- and then repeat your formula.
This is just the tip of the social media iceberg, but the key takeaway is that social media is a commitment that takes on-going management, and more importantly, timely engagement from your business. At Thin Pig Media, we collaborate with each of our clients and then manage the entire process in order to ensure a rich, cohesive social media strategy.
[Ed. Note: Reposted from TPM Blog June 2014. As we approach the New Year, it's a great time to re-evaluate your social media presence and plan for 2016.]