Highlights Of Globe and Mail Article:
1. “You need to be playing on the platform where your audience is spending the most time.”
2. “Every platform is making videos a priority with their algorithms.”
3. “Entrepreneurs should position themselves as experts on their given subject matter.”
4. “Ms. Mac and Ms. Jones also both urge frequent posting regardless of which platforms a business might choose to focus on.”
5. “If you do not have time to engage, do not waste your time on social media. It will not work for you. That means prioritizing it.”
6. “Gone are the days when you can just expect people to follow you.”
These are all really great tips, especially if you’re just getting started using social media for your business. Here’s how you can actually put social media to work for you.
*Caveat: your social media program should be integrated with your overall marketing program (it’s not a stand-alone!)
For the following action items, we’re going to pretend that you just opened a pot shop (since pot was legalized in Canada.) Please keep in mind that this is totally hypothetical as I’m green and have no idea what I’m talking about when it comes to pot.
Key details about our business:
Know your goals and objectives. What are you trying to accomplish with social media? Are you hoping to learn insights? Generate leads? Gain insights? Reach a new market? [Read More About Setting Social Media Goals]In our pot example, our goal may be to generate brand awareness and drive traffic to our stores offline. We would want to get a baseline (how many people are visiting our website and social channels, how many are contacting us or taking some kind of action? Then we want to come up with SMART goals and objectives. SMART means specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.
Determine your resources. Do you have help to set things up, such as Facebook page? Twitter? Create graphics? Content? Do you have a budget for ads, either on social channels or Google? FYI: every marketing plan should have paid, earned and owned components, and not just a focus on “free.” [Read More About Resources That Can Save You Time and Money]We have an employee who is going to double as reception and our marketing help. We’ve discussed the time each week allotted to our marketing efforts. We’re going to put tools in place like Hootsuite and Canva to help us stay on track and on budget.
Know who your audience is. Despite what you may think your product and/or service is not for everyone. You need to know who your people are. So, you need to go through things like psychographics, demographics, sociographics.
Know your audience and use the information available to figure out where they actually are. For example… [Learn More About Finding Your Audience Online] you have to be where your audience is. If they’re not there, you’re basically just spraying and praying. But it’s one thing to say that and another to actually give you some ideas on how to determine where your audience is. Use the data that’s available within the platforms to help you make those decisions. So, instead of spending time on Facebook, if your people are actually on LinkedIn, you learn that by actually looking in the data.
Facebook Business Manager. Think about signing yourself up for an account within Facebook Business Manager. Once you’re all set up, you can jump in there and create your own audiences based on the criteria you’ve identified. Essentially this will help give you an estimate of your ideal audience using the platform. For example, you can segment by postal code, behaviours, gender, age and more. The other cool thing is that you can also upload your client file to get an idea of how many of your clients already use the platform.
Twitter advanced search. Within Twitter Advanced Search you can see which kinds of conversations are happening in specific locations. These insights can give you an idea of the audience size that’s most important to you.
LinkedIn Search. You can use the general LinkedIn search or you can also use Sales Navigator. Within SN you can really drill into your ideal audience using the criteria identified in your audience findings and figure out how many people are actually using LI and are active.
Google Analytics. If you have a website, hopefully you have Google Analytics installed (or some sort of analytics software.) In GA, if you click to the “Acquisition” tab and then if you go through it, it will have things like organic, referral, direct and social. Let’s say you have a Facebook page and LinkedIn and you’re sharing to both. It can be helpful to know how much referral traffic comes from those sources. Your GA will give you an idea of what your audience is interested in (what do they look at? which content? which pages?)
Survey Monkey. If you haven’t already, head on over to Survey Monkey and sign yourself up for an account. It is easy to put together a super simple survey for your existing clients. They have some canned surveys available for businesses and it’s free. You can survey your client base right now to say, “Hey, where are you most active online?” Not in a creepy way but just to ask people, “Where are you at so that we can make sure that we’re there to answer your questions.
Add video to your social media plans. Obviously, I’m a huge fan of video. I think video is an ideal way to get across who you are and what you do. With that said, when you are thinking about doing video and investing in the time and resources, you have to have a plan in place. You have to know exactly what you’re trying to do with your videos and what that looks like long term. So for small to medium-sized business owners, I wouldn’t say jump into making videos just for the sake of it. I would absolutely advise you to explore it but if you have limited resources, make sure that you have a plan that identifies goals and objectives connected to business outcomes.We recognize that with limited resources, that we’re going to test out Live video features in various platforms. We’re going to go live once a week to answer questions, for a month and monitor the results. We also plan on using this unique video content in other places, such as our website. The metrics we’re interested in are focused on things like # of comments, # of shares, and the # of actions taken on the page.
Be known as the expert. I definitely think it is important to carve out your place as an expert. Whatever industry you’re in, whether you’re a plumber or an electrician – if you want expect someone to pay you for your services, they will expect you to be some kind of expert. But the challenge is that everyone has the same strategy. So in addition to positioning yourself as an expert you should go further. Show people the benefit of working with you so they can easily connect the dots between themselves and what you can give them.Our messaging is focused on the benefits of environmentally friendly, chemical-free pot and how it positively impacts our ideal audience.
Post frequently on social channels. I believe consistency is key but that isn’t synonymous with posting frequently. I truly don’t want you to waste your time and resources if there are no beneficial outcomes. Even if you’re scheduling posts so that you don’t have to worry about jumping into a platform every single day, you still have to spend time either creating or curating great content, but there has to be value in what you’re posting. Before you go to post anything to social media, consider what your audience can take away from it. So, is it a piece that is super self-serving that you, the business owner, only gets value from if the audience clicks through? Or is it something that the audience gets value from? (e.g.: educational, entertaining, informative.) I always default back to the 80 20 rule; 80% of the time, your content is helpful and 20% of the time, you ask for something. Additionally, there is some fascinating research that just came out about the times of day to post. Consider looking more deeply into that.Based on the insights available on our social channels, we’re going to post when we believe our audience is online. We will watch engagements and other metrics closely to decide whether we need to scale up or down.
Don’t have time to engage, don’t waste your time on social media. Definitely a great point. But what does it really mean? Social Media is a lot of work and it will have to be a priority. Sure, it’s free but the time it takes to create and curate content that drives engagement and action isn’t free (whether it’s opportunity cost or hard costs.) Social Media is a place where you need to show up consistently and match the expectations of your audience. It’s important to spend your resources wisely, so instead of signing up for a bunch of social channels, choose the ones that make the most sense and show up consistently.We’ve allocated 30 minutes per day to social media community management, as well as three hours per month to prepare custom and curated content. We will adjust as we see results.
“Gone are the days when you can just expect people to follow you.” And so of course, you know what I’m gonna say next is that we don’t care about vanity metrics, right? We don’t care … well we do care but we don’t really care about the follows and likes because ultimately what we care about is that we’re showing up for our audience, for our people that we want to reach in a way that makes a difference to them and makes a difference to us.
Ultimately, if you want social media to work for your business you’ll need to put serious thought into what you want to gain from it and how you will consistently execute to get those results.
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