Have you been circling the social media bandwagon? Still afraid to jump on? If you’re like me, you start to realize that most of your family, friends, and colleagues are deeply involved in social media channels and you are starting to look like someone who is missing out on something.
Be it, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Snapchat or Instagram, people, young and old are spending more and more time on these platforms. Social media platforms are maturing and getting more sophisticated and engaging. People tend to spend hours on a weekly basis and some even on a daily basis. This is great news for your business. Now, it’s up to you to reach out to them.
Getting past your own objections to social media engagement
You are probably thinking of ways to fit social media engagement into the overall marketing objectives and strategy in your organization. It’s also a fact, that many of your agile competitors have already secured a strong presence on these platforms and you have to do something or be left behind.
You might be thinking it’s becoming more and more complex to get your foot in the door and start playing the social media game, but it’s clearly not so.
As with anything new, there is a bit of a learning curve, but once you master the proper etiquette and forms of interactions with your audience, you are guaranteed to enjoy it, since it’s in our human nature to be social.
The benefits of doing even moderate amounts of social media engagement can be immediately felt by your organization. You will see noticeable improvement in customer engagement, brand recognition, and increased customer satisfaction for your business. It’s all about putting a human face on an otherwise lifeless digital voice on your website and another paper based corporate communication.
Another benefit of getting your whole organization involved in social media publishing is your employees get to be your best ambassadors for your business since they already have substantial knowledge and rapport with your target audience.
The concept of “people telling people” about your business is nothing short of a phenomenal opportunity to build your web and brand presence for very a low cost.
Taking stock of where you stand
As a starting point for your social media strategy, list all the accounts currently used by your organizations. Include logins, employee names associated with each account. You also want to prepare a summary of the current activities on these accounts. This should include the date the accounts were created, the number of postings, interactions per week, or month.
Get a quick overview of your social media presence and past activity. Here are two great tools to help you with this task: socialmention (for a snapshot of all your social media) and topsy.com if you are interested in twitter only activity related to your band and products.
It’s also a good idea to perform the same queries on your closest competitors as well.
You should save the results for later comparison. Take a screen shot of the results or export the results to a spreadsheet for future analysis.
You also need to get up to date information on your current social media referral visitor traffic through Google analytics. You’ll use this data later to compare your effectiveness once you roll full steam ahead with your social media project.
Defining a road map and setting goals
In the next step, get clear on your objectives for ramping up social engagement in your organization. What do you want to get out of your social media marketing? How and where will you reach your target audience?
Here is a short list to help you define social media objectives:
- Increase direct website traffic through social media channels
- Improving brand awareness and reputation
- IncreaseROI in a measurable way through social media publishing
- Converting social media fans, and those who share company content into paying customers
- Improve search engine ranking
- Get Better analytics of social media participation activities
- Enable company stakeholders on all levels to be advocates and participants in social media channels
- Increase customer satisfaction and support through social media participation and feedback channels
Choosing the social media platforms most appropriate for your business
Which social media platforms are the most effective for your business to leverage?
It’s very important to define which social media platforms are best suited for your business. It’s a fact that you can’t simply post the same message on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube and get the same reception and results.
Some social media platforms are better suited for certain type of messages and business types than others.
Here is a quick rundown of social media publishing platform to help you choose wisely:
- LinkedIn is best for B2B business. Using LinkedIn is very effective in nurturing your industry based connections. Communication should be mostly text based in the forms article publishing, pointing out new trends to your connections in the form of links and insightful commentaries. Participating in LinkedIn discussions can also have a dramatic increase in leads, and the way LinkedIn members view your business.
- Facebook and Google+ are great for storytelling and driving user engagement. Since your Facebook and Google+ audience is more visual, your posts need to contain pictures or video links to make your posts stand out.
- Twitter and other social bookmarking sites, like StumbleUpon and Reddit are the best drivers for direct traffic to your site, if you find highly interesting, or even odd pieces of information regarding your industry post them right away. The time span while a piece of news is interesting and engaging can be only measured in a few hours on these real-time micro blogging sites.
How do you effectively publish and share content on social media channels?
Now that you have your whole organization fired up about publishing on social media platforms, it’s time to get your first post out there to share with the world. You need a solid content management system in place. You have to get clear on who can publish, what they can publish, when and how they do this in your organization.
Putting too much publishing power in the wrong hands can have catastrophic effects for the whole organization. You will need a strong publishing, permissions, and approval process in order to setup the proper structure for a content publishing hierarchy.
With the exception of Facebook and a few other social media account management systems, there is no way to set up content creator, publisher or account managers with different permission levels.
Save yourself time with a scalable content management system
It takes time to keep up with social media and find engaging information for your audience. One of the hardest things is finding great content to share. In order to stay relevant for your target audience you need to mix up your content. You should keep your sales and product messages to a minimum otherwise they will quickly loose interest in following you. The majority of your content should be industry related with the focus on how your customers are getting the most out of your products and solve problems in their daily lives.
It’s a fact, finding and publishing engaging information on a daily basis on multiple social media platforms can be very time consuming.
You could setup a research and publishing system from different pieces of online software tools and use Google analytics to measure the results. We have tried to go this route in the beginning. We can tell you from our experience it’s archaic to bring all the pieces of the puzzle together, not to mention the extra time wasted on jumping from platform to platform.
What you need is an integrated, scalable content management system coupled with a robust analytical platform to measure, visits, user engagement and even conversions of your social media efforts.
There are some promising tools out there that bring all the social media engagement, publishing, analytics and monitoring pieces together, but some of them can be extremely costly for smaller organization.
Here is a short list of social media publishing and analytics tools we have uncovered for you:
- postbeyond.com our favorite.
At Trendmetrix Software we use Postbeyond to schedule and organize our content for publishing on multiple social media channels. What we like about Postbeyond is the ease of setting up users, publishing permissions, and how painless it is to publish and schedule content for sharing.
If you are budget conscious and looking for a great deal for your organization to share content on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, you can sign up now for an unheard of $1 per user price on Postbeyond.
So no more excuses to jump head first into the social media marketing fray. We welcome your comments and invite you to share your experience with social media marketing no matter which stage you are currently at.