Thursday, 19 February 2015



So you’ve heard that your business would benefit from having a social presence online, but you just don’t know where to begin. Or perhaps you’ve set up your networks, but you’re not sure if you’re doing it ‘right.’ Sometimes the thought of managing social media for your brand can seem daunting and overwhelming.
Don’t worry. I know exactly how you feel. Coming from a traditional journalism background, I had no concept of what it was like to run social media for a company.
With a little research, savvy and hard work, I realized that implementing a social media strategy isn’t rocket science. Any cash-strapped and time-deprived entrepreneur can add social media to their marketing plan that fits their needs and meets their goals.
To help you get started right away, here are 7 lessons I learned during my first month on the job.

Do your research

Whether you’re a digital native or a social media novice, it doesn’t hurt to research and learn everything you can about the ever-changing social media landscape. Read books, articles and case studies to see how other brands have used social media effectively. Be sure to check out the business pages for some of these major platforms: Facebook for Business, Twitter for Smaller Businesses, Pinterest for BusinessInstagram for Business and Google + Business. Once you feel like you have an understanding of each platform and their offerings, pick the ones you feel will best reach your target audience.

Pick your platforms

If your brand is targeting a visually driven audience, your content is probably best served on platforms like Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. Targeting your customers on their preferred social media platform will prove more effective than blanketing all channels. It can be a simple and straightforward strategy like focusing your efforts on just Facebook and Twitter – just make sure you’re active on them every day.

Create your game plan

Once you’ve decided which ones you want to focus on, develop your execution strategy. 1) Figure out your company’s marketing objectives and establish a set of goals that you hope to achieve. 2) Create your own original content of blog posts, events, promotions, and other interesting news that your followers will find engaging. 3) Build a social media calendar. For startups, Google Docs can be an incredibly useful tool to compile your content on spreadsheets. You can check off when you’ve posted x on x platform – this way your content doesn’t fall through the cracks when you’re managing multiple platforms.

Embrace your platform’s personality

“Content is king, but context is God. You can put out good content, but if it ignores the context of the platform on which it appears, it can fall flat.” – Gary Vaynerchuk in “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story In A Noisy Social World”.
Each social media platform serves a specific purpose. There will be content you want to share across the board, but be mindful of the purpose and audience of your post. For example, LinkedIn users are looking for business-related content, whereas Pinterest users are looking for engaging, visual pictures.

Select your tools

Using software to help you schedule posts will save you time and your sanity. Get familiar with some of the social management tools out there such as Hootsuite, TweetDeck, or Sprout Social, and then decide which one you like best. There’s no need for you to post everything in real time. Some of these tools will also help you track your efforts such as performance data, audience demographics and activity summary.

Don’t forget customer service

Monitor frequently and respond quickly. Customers like to share and feel connected to companies and organizations they like and trust. No one wants to feel like they’re talking to a robot, so don’t forget to humanize the brand. Kate Spade, a women’s lifestyle brand, does an amazing job of making it feel like there is a real woman behind their accounts. They’ve created a brand that goes beyond just a storefront. So add some personality and individuality without compromising your brand identity.

Experiment often

Spread your posts out at different times during the day. There should be a method to your madness, so don’t just post whenever you feel like it. For example, Pinterest pins should be thoughtfully placed in the mornings and evenings when traffic is highest on platform. Studying your competitors can also give you an advantage. See what times and type of content they’re posting on social media. Sites like Fanpage Karma will show you what your competitors are doing well and what they’re doing wrong so you can learn from their mistakes.
Building your social media presence will take some time, so be committed to engaging your audience on a daily basis and you will see your performance grow.


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