Last week I consulted with the social media intern for a company that I’ve worked with in the past. We mainly talked about promotional ideas and how to give their follower-count and engagement a kickstart. They’re really just getting started with their social media presence and that’s okay. I was once in their position and I’m happy to help. In fact, if I had implemented the three following rules when I first began, I wouldn’t have made so may mistakes.
Rule #1: Have a Plan
Like ever good pilot knows, if you don’t file an accurate and detailed flight plan you could be in trouble. Why is having a plan important? Much like the sky there are no real “roads” in social media. Every company or individual must forge their own path in the social media skies. That’s where a good plan comes in handy.
Coming up with a good plan can be tricky if you’ve never dealt with social media before. Here are some quick tips to help you get on your way.
Which Social Media Networks Will You Focus On?
Your plan should include what social media networks you will be tackling. If you’re just starting out, try focusing on one or two. Any more than that and you will most likely find your time and attention stretched thin. After you’ve been doing social media for a while, you can add more. By that time you should have found a rhythm and know more about what your followers want. Be aware, however, that different networks (and the people who are on them) might require different content.
How Often Will You Post or Engage on Social Media Networks?
Make sure to include how many times per week or per day you will be posting to each social media network. If you don’t set time-constraints on it, you might find that you’re spending too much or too little time on each platform. Also, you should be able to see a direct result in your measurements (more on this later) if you increase or decrease the time spent on each platform.
Who Will Be Responsible for Creating Content?
Content can be anything from posts about your products and questions you ask your followers, to blog posts and videos. There are all types of content that you can provide for your followers. Try to include as many types of content as possible, so you can see what will perform better.
It’s not en0ugh to make a plan, though. You have to work the plan and also, find out what your fans want.
Rule #2: Make it About Them Not You (Most of the Time)
One lesson that I learned the hard way is that people don’t always want to hear about your business. Imagine turning on the tv, and having to endur the same stupid commercial over and over again, because the tv station wasn’t able to sell any more ad space that month. That would get annoying pretty fast wouldn’t it?
It’s the same for your customers. They don’t visit you on those social media platforms to see an endless stream of your products and services.
Don’t fall down the same rabbit hole I did when I first started. Instead, ask your customers what they think or what they want. Or, just ask them how their day is going. If they were at your physical location, you might ask them the same thing, just to be friendly. Why should it be any different with social media? In fact, if you do this, you’ll be helping to put the “social” back into social media.
Now, I’m not saying that you can’t talk about your company at all. Obviously, your followers want to hear something about you (and are probably customers). Don’t be afraid to post information about your product or services, just make sure it’s compelling first.
Here’s a really good example of compelling content that’s super-easy to do. Classic Rock Coffee here in town often posts a picture of the first cup of coffee they pour in the morning.
How yummy does that cup of joe look? If you are a java-lover like me, I’m sure this makes you crave coffee. Would you be craving a cup of coffee if they had posted text instead?
Also, don’t get caught up in believing your content is compelling without any proof. Instead, use the next rule to prove that your content is compelling.
Rule #3: Measure
How do you know if your plan (Rule #1) and the way you’re engaging in social media is working? You measure.
The first step to measuring whether something is working or not, is to see how many people “engaged” with your content. Engagement is defined differently on each platform. On Facebook, it’s (mostly) likes, comments, and shares. On Twitter it’s @ replies (mentions) and retweets. Google+ uses +1s, comments, and shares. If one type of post received more engagment than the rest, it’s safe to say that it’s working. This rule does have one caveat, however. You need to be aware that engagement is not always good engagement. If all those shares and comments were made in anger by your customers, I would recommend not posting that piece of content again and apologizing (if needed).
Measuring social media can be difficult, I know. Especially since not all social media platforms have built-in analytics. If you’re having trouble finding tools to help you measure, just google “social media analytics” or “social media measurement” and you’ll have a ton of tools to choose from (or keep an eye on this blog for a later post on tools that I use and recommend).
So there are three things you can and should do if you want your social media to rock! Do you know of any others?
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