With the holiday season in full swing, I find myself preparing for the plethora of questions I’ve come to expect at family gatherings this time of year. Personally, I think one of the courses we should have had as required learning in college is something along the lines of, “Being a 20-Something 101: How to Respond to These Five Inquiries.” Especially considering the fact that I’m not exactly implementing my learned distinction between mafic and felsic lava in my daily life.
You all know what I’m talking about. Not 3 minutes after I’ve taken off my shoes and told my aunt how great her prized turkey smells, I’m bombarded with questions about what I do for a living. For those of us in marketing, this can be a particularly difficult question to answer. I can already hear the sound of my 16-year-old cousin rolling her eyes when she catches wind of the fact that I spend most of my day managing social media.
Well guess what? In doing so (the social media management part, that is) I’ve got some inside secrets to share with you all (and maybe my family) on how to keep tabs on your daily social media management (yes, I said daily).
Build your audience.
When it comes to building your audience—or, attracting a new, regular follower base of people who want to pay attention to what you do online—it can be very easy to fall into the trap of following and liking any and every page and profile across all platforms of social media, especially if you’re just starting out. Be intentional about who you follow. Furthermore, “following” may mean something different depending on whichever channel you’re using. With Facebook, for example, you can “like” the pages of the users or businesses you choose, which results in those profiles coming up on your newsfeed more often, which keeps you in the know. Conversely, you do, in fact, “follow” people or organizations on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, which has the same effect.
Engage in conversation.
One of the most important components of managing social media is fostering the sense of community between your brand and your followers. Read: Engage in conversation! If you receive a bad review on a product or service on one of your social profiles, make sure to respond authentically and humbly, with all the world to see. Timely, genuine responses show your followers the human side of your brand and organization. Conversely, if one of your followers is advocating for your brand, show them some love with a like, a retweet, a share, whichever method available to you.
The only way to engage is to practice the art of social listening, by using the tools available to you. The business platforms within Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn allow you to set up notifications to alert you when you are mentioned or when someone engages with your content. Use them. Other than keeping an eye on those notifications and acting as necessary, I usually check the various social channels I monitor every morning and every evening before I head home. Remember: social media moves fast. Don’t be too slow for it.
Also, don’t limit yourself to just engaging with your followers when they are engaging directly with your brand. For example, if one of your followers (whom you happen to follow back) posts an adorable picture of their puppy, commenting “oh for cute” can only help your cause (not to mention, how could you not?). Chances are, they’ll appreciate the attention you gave them and will most likely reciprocate in some form or another. If that reciprocation leads to increased exposure to your brand image, what’s stopping them from donating to your cause, buying your product or adding you to their retainer?
Don’t get carried away.
Like anything else, there are best practices for creating and posting as a business profile. First things first, make sure that your handle is short and sweet, and as close as possible (if not identical) to the name of your business. Also, keep it the same across your various employed channels (which is a shameless plug to follow @alleecreative if you haven’t already) for consistency and to limit confusion. Your bio should be your optimized boilerplate, your no-nonsense elevator pitch that will draw in followers at first glance. This is the first (and sometimes only) thing that people will look at before deciding to give you any more or less of their time, so treat it as such.
When it comes to how much posting to do for your organization, there are a few things to take into consideration. First, think about your target audiences, who your primary follower base is. Are they on Facebook (for the most part, all four of the generations currently in the workforce are), Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or somewhere else entirely? Each channel has specific standards for what is best in terms of number of posts and will also depend on your audience’s expectations. For instance, you can get away with posting multiple times a day on Twitter, but if you did that on Facebook, you’d likely get many “unfollows” from your page because audiences don’t use the two platforms the same way. Twitter moves much faster than Facebook.
Pro Tip: Don’t think that being a social media manager means you have to do everything by yourself, keep everything straight and post every piece of your content live. There are various social scheduling platforms that can make your world infinitely easier and save you time. We use Sprout Social, which is also great for pulling reports later on (a key component to social media channel management) Also, staying organized and keeping track of all of your content is easier than you might think with a content calendar. These spreadsheets list out everything from what you’re posting, to which channel, with which links and/or images, at what time. They also contain source lists to help keep your content consistent and factual. Another pro tip: Use content calendars with source lists. They are your new best friend (and we have tips for how to set one up, here and here)
Creating and managing the social media presence for your organization may seem like an easy task if you grew up with technology, or if you regularly use social media in your personal life. But it’s so much more than picking a great profile picture. After all, your brand’s social profiles serve as the virtual storefront of your business, the medium through which your publics can connect with you and engage with your brand.
Still looking for help? We’re extending our FREE content audit (originally given to our awesome friends in the association space) to you this holiday season. Sign up for one and we can give you some additional tips on social media management and content creation for 2019 and beyond. But hurry, this is a limited time offer and once our free consultation spots are gone, they’re gone!