“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” — Alan Lakein
Social media is an important aspect of marketing—yes, it’s true! But diving into the massive world of social media blindly is not the way to go about it (or any marketing, for that matter). All social media outlets are not created equal, and there’s not a ‘one size fits all’ approach for social media marketing either.
Taking the time to answer these simple questions before you start a social media marketing campaign, will set your business up for success and better results.
- What’s our goal with social media marketing? Like any area of marketing for your business, you won’t be able to figure out how it should work, if you don’t know what your goal is. Are you looking for more sales leads? Increased brand awareness? A certain number of ‘likes’? All of these goals are different, and require different messaging and approaches to platforms. Answering this question is also going to help you determine which analytics to pay attention to month-to-month.
- Who are we targeting? You definitely want to keep this at the forefront of your planning as well, because different demographics flock to different social media sites. Or at the very least, have different online behaviours from one another. A luxury real estate company is not going to be utilizing the same social media strategy as a naturopath, for example. Defining your target audience will help you decide which social media sites to use, what kind of imagery and content to post and at what times of day you post as well.
- Who is going to be managing our social media pages? It’s important to establish who will be managing your social media accounts, and be choosy and specific with who you give this responsibility to. The person representing your brand online should be articulate and well-versed on your brand and company. Whether this person is in-house or not is up to you, but be sure to choose someone who already has this skill set, not try to fit one of your employees into that box. Sometimes you will save a lot of time and money just outsourcing this particular job to someone who’s an expert, rather than training your current staff. Another thing to keep in mind, is how many people will have access to these accounts. Before you give anyone access to anything, ensure you have a master copy of all the usernames and passwords, we’ve seen too many horror stories of companies losing their social media accounts to disgruntled ex-employees.
- What kind of content are we going to post? What is your content strategy for social media? Again, blindly posting won’t bring you the real benefits of this area of marketing, you definitely want to have a plan in place. Your target audience is very important to this portion of the plan. Photos and videos fare very well on social media, but will you creating your own content, sourcing it from blogs or publications, or a bit of both? Our advice is to create as much content as you can, this helps you with brand awareness but also ensures that more clicks are leading to your website or social channels, rather than linking to someone else’s who gets to reap those rewards.
- Who is creating the content? This is a question some brands forget to ask themselves, especially when it comes to social channels like Instagram. Instagram can be an amazing outlet for brands, but don’t forget to keep in mind the content creation, you need to be either taking your own photos or designing your own imagery. If you don’t have the staff to create content that is articulate, valuable and on-point, then find someone who has those skills. You don’t want to be the brand that goes viral for the wrong reasons, because you made a spelling mistake in your image or used a ‘paint’ program to DIY something.
- What is our voice? Whoever will be managing your social media accounts, needs to have a full understanding of your brand voice. You are not posting as yourself, you are posting on behalf of the brand. Is your voice a middle-aged businessman, or a millennial go-getter? It matters how those messages are crafted. Your audience should never be able to tell the difference between multiple account managers, the brand voice should always be consistent.
- How often will we be posting? An important thing to remember, is that if you set your posts and pages up right, generally speaking the more you post, the more engagement you’ll see. If you setup a Facebook page and only update it weekly or monthly, you are going to see minimal results and it’s going to take a long time for anything to happen.
- Is our social media going to double as customer service? For most companies, the answer to this will be “yes”. Simply because, people are going to use your social media accounts for this whether you like it or not. Despite the fact that relevant company information can be found on your website, people will still go to social media to ask the questions, because they want an answer faster. If you are planning to provide customer service on your sites, ensure whoever is managing the pages has access outside of ‘nine-to-five’ hours. If you put it out there that you are available to answer questions, and someone has to wait until the next business day for an answer, you can prepare yourself for negative backlash online.
- Who is tracking the success of our social media? Be sure you have a plan in place for who will be tracking the success and progress of your social media efforts and how often. Are you looking for monthly progress reports, and what will be included in those reports?
- Do we have a social media policy in place? Every company that is utilizing social media, needs to have a social media policy in place. This is not just something that you need for the people who are managing your accounts, but some guidelines for your employees on how to conduct themselves online as well. Personal or private, everything can have a reflection on your brand if it comes from someone associated with your brand. If you are looking for some examples on social media policies, these companies have created excellent ones.
Do you have questions about social media marketing for your business, or any of the points discussed in this post? Please feel free to contact us!