If you are a business owner or marketing manager, social media can often find itself becoming a low priority item on your busy day to day agenda. There is a misconception that it can be an ad-hock exercise when you have a few minutes of time to spare.
Unfortunately though, if this is your social media approach, you are likely not getting the most out of your marketing as you should be. More importantly, you are also missing out on the opportunity to build brand awareness and engage with customers.
While it can be tricky to know where to start to improve your social media, it is most important that you start some where. Just by being proactive in your planning and strategy, you will see improvement.
If you’re interested in taking your social media marketing to the next level and getting the most out of your efforts, follow our five easy steps to social media success.
1. Integrate your Social Media into your Marketing Plans
Stop thinking about social media as a separate effort from your main marketing mix. No matter how you advertise and market yourself, you need to be cohesive across all channels.
While your twitter brand persona may fun and quirky and your LinkedIn brand persona may be professional, the messages and organization values should be consistent across platform and across digital, social, and traditional advertising channels.
Your social media strategy should not be separate from your advertising or marketing strategy. Instead, your business marketing strategy should guide your social media planning. When you plan an advertising campaign, it should be a focus in traditional advertising as well as social.
2. Perform a Social Media Audit.
Once you’ve begun thinking about social media as a part of your larger business strategy, it is important to take a hard, honest look at your platforms. Ask yourself …
- How does reality compare to my expectations?
- Am I communicating the values of my business consistently, accurately, and to the best of my ability?
- Am I engaging with my audience in an informative and helpful manner (not just trying to sell products/services)?
- Are my brand messages consistent across platforms?
- Have I developed different personas for each platform? If yes, are these the correct personas?
While this is not an entire list of questions, it is a good starting point. The best way to get a thorough and accurate assessment of your social media platforms is to perform a social media audit.
Quite simply, this is a formal process where you document the status of each of your platforms. After the analysis, you can step back, see what is missing or doesn’t align, and then adjust from there. Hootsuite has a fantastic free guide and template you can use for your social media audit.
3. Understand your Audience
Your marketing messages should be directly informed by the audience on the platform you are using. For example, radio ads and television ads are extremely different. This is for obvious reasons as on television you can see the advertisement and on the radio you can only hear voices.
While the difference between social media platforms is not as extreme, it would still be wrong to assume your messaging should be the same on each platform. The platforms are different and so are the audiences.
Understanding your audience on each platform is key to success. The best way to do this – spend the time researching.
Check out these amazing resources from Hootsuite:
- Facebook demographics
- Twitter demographics
- Instagram demographics
- LinkedIn demographics
- Snapchat demographics
- Pinterest demographics
- YouTube demographics
From this demographic information, you can make informed and educated decisions about content, timing, and more. This brings me to the question – does what I post actually matter?
4. Build an Editorial Calendar
Yes! What you post absolutely matters. Often, this is how you can tell an ad-hock social media plan from an informed planned one. While it is important to be timely and post relevant interesting content, it is also important to be prepared.
One of the best ways to stay on top of your social media planning is to build an editorial calendar. This is a tool to organize your content and plan out what, when, and how you will post to the various platforms you choose.
When we handle a client’s social media, we start with an editorial calendar. This allows us to plan out how often we want to post and ideal times to post, but it also ensures we take the time to think through what we are posting.
Not only does this allow for collaboration with the client, it also allows us to stay on top of sticking to consistent brand messaging. Because we aren’t rushed to post, we have time to think through different brand personas and communicate differently on different platforms to different audiences.
There are many different ways to build an editorial calendar, but yours should be design in a way that is best for your business. Here is one source that provides a free template as a starting point.
5. Measure it. Strive for Excellence.
Social media is both an art and a science. Because of the digital world we live in, marketing managers and business owners have access to lots and lots of data. We can see massive amounts of information. However, this can be a blessing or a curse.
It is easy to get overwhelmed with all of the information and not do anything with it. However, you are then missing out on useful information that can take your social media planning to the next level.
There is no one size fits all way to view your data and analytics, but finding what is best for you and your business is critical. Hootsuite provides tons of resources on how to look at your analytics, including this free guide.
Last but not least, if you make it through all five of these steps, keep going. Never stop evaluating through audits, staying up on the latest audience trends, utilizing an editorial calendar or planning system, and measuring your success. However, if you do only one think, start thinking about your social media as a part of your whole marketing strategy. You will start building more value from your efforts immediately.