The recurring theme among small and mid-sized business owners is that they can’t keep up with social media. The platforms change often. They’re short on time. Consistency? What consistency?
Social media doesn’t have to be a headache for your business. Utilize the following three concepts to get a handle on your social media and expand your brand through consistency and participation:
1. Own your expertise
How do you want others to view your expertise? Make it your goal and priority to produce social media content that speaks specifically to your industry and the expert that you are.
Sharing content is a large part of demonstrating expertise. Whether you create it on your end (such as a company blog post, video or e-newsletter) or disseminate information from other sources, establish a routine for providing expert content and information to your audience. Plus, giving out free information builds trust and moves you past the typical “push marketing” tactics of the past.
How to do it: Maintain a source list of your own go-to channels for industry trends and information. Set a blog calendar. Routinely answer the FAQs that your audience has; tap into these on a regular basis to set your social media content.
2. Quality trumps quantity
Forget about setting goals based on number of likes and fans. Your fans and friends on social media platforms are only as good as their level of interest and participation. If you have 1,000 Facebook ‘likes’ but no one is commenting, liking or taking other actions on your posts, what then?
It’s never about how much you have to say, it’s about how valuable the information is. Be deliberate with your posts and don’t just talk for the sake of talking. Monitor your feedback and the actions taken on each social media channel so you have a base from which to gauge your success.
How to do it: Set up a spreadsheet with analytics and track them, at minimum, on a monthly basis. You can use applications such as SproutSocial or do some grass-roots monitoring from the native platforms themselves. Look at trends and changes over time. Monitor your top posts by percent of engagement, numbers of shares or impressions/reach. Determine what information makes the most sense for you to base your strategy on going forward.
3. Engage and participate
Stop talking at your customers and engage with them. No one likes the guy at the party who is all, “LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!” When you post content for the sake of your audience (instead of for the sake of yourself) you’re more likely to get responses and feedback on additional information they’re looking for.
Showcase your personality and the caring aspect of your brand by asking poignant questions and responding to answers, comments and other items that appear from your audience on your page. If you have taken steps to truly keep a monitoring eye on your accounts, as mentioned above, you’ll know when others are posting on your wall, sending a tweet your way or giving the thumbs up to a LinkedIn post. Communication is a two-way street and you’ll lose trust and interest from your audience if you don’t reciprocate.
How to do it: Delegate a community manager to do a daily check-in of your social media channels (yes, daily…and many times more than once a day). If you’re a one-person shop, the same applies. Just as you check email on a routine basis, get into the habit of checking (and commenting back!) your own social media platforms. Use a timer, a tasks reminder or an app on your smartphone to remind you when it’s time to “check in” with your audience.
Social media for business is not easy; it takes time. You will not see success overnight. As with anything in business, we must work hard at that which we want to achieve. Consistency, planning and engagement will drive results.