The chances are, your business is already on the Social Media train. Maybe you’ve got a Twitter account, or a fully branded YouTube channel – or maybe you’re even a mayor on Foursquare! But I wonder if you can tell me why you’re doing it. Has Social Media for business become the equivalent of platform trainers in the 90’s – you’re not comfortable but everyone else is doing it?
If this is the case then pull up a chair, because we need to talk. If you don’t know why you are doing Social Media, whatever form you’ve chosen to ‘do’ it in, then how can you tell if it’s working, and how can you motivate people to put effort into making it work? Here’s my 5 point plan to turning your tiptoe-into-Twitter into a Social Media Strategy that works!
1. Get a Goal
Having a good, clear social media strategy and being active on the right channels can have great benefits:
1. Create brand awareness
2. Drive relevant traffic to your website
3. Engage with customers and encourage loyalty
4. Gain customer insight
5. Generate leads
6. Provide real time responses to customers and news
7. Improve your position in search engines
8. Be seen as a source of knowledge in your industry
9. Share your company’s story and persona
10. Be seen with the influencers in your industry
and this is only the tip of the iceberg. My advice? Pick one of these and make it your goal. Having a reason to do all this hard work makes it much easier to stomach.
Now you know why you’re doing it, write it on a sticky-note and put it right in the centre of your work area! That way, every time you go online to write a post, you’ll remember the reason for the post. So, for instance, if you’ve chosen to drive customers to your website and your Facebook ‘About’ section and most recent post don’t have a link to your website, you’re not making progress towards your goal.
NB. Social Media is above all, a conversation. If every post you make is about how great your company is with a link to your homepage, you’ll get nowhere. Remember to add value first, take credit second. But more on that in a later post.
3. Put Measures in Place
How are you going to check you’re reaching your goal? If increasing visits to your website is your target, make sure you have something like Google Analytics in place that will track where your visits are coming from. If you’re trying to generate leads, make sure you’re tracking where your leads are coming from. For more intangible goals like ‘brand awareness’ and ‘happier customers’ you can use things like Google Trends and different Social Media tools to track positive and negative mentions of your brand online. There’s always a way to measure it, so find it and get it in place.
4. Act, Review and React
As one of my favourite companies Innocent like to say, ‘Start small, but do start’. Even if you can only manage one post on Facebook a week, that’s enough. Just get started! Then you can start gathering the all important metrics from point 3. Once these have started flooding in, set a time to look at them – say once a month – and see what’s working. If it’s posts on puppies that are driving your sales up, get a ‘cute puppy’ Pinterest board and go nuts! Whatever it is that you see working in your review, react to it. Do more of what’s working.
5. Keep going
Now you’ve started, and you’re motivated by seeing the results, keep going! An empty, untended Twitter feed may be due to the unbelievable amount of orders you’ve been getting since you started your Social Media strategy properly, but it looks more like ‘we’re not in business anymore’! It’s a very visible sign of your brand, and a rubbish Social Media channel is worse than no channel at all. So keep going!