Small business owners are faced with a lot of demands, often meaning that time is at a premium. Regardless, we battle on through, wearing multiple hats at any given time and often juggling several different roles at the same time. Before you decide to add something else to your list, let’s get realistic and talk about the things you need to be aware of and the qualities you will need when it comes to social media.
There is no denying that outsourcing your social media can prove expensive, but you need to weigh this up and consider the benefits you stand to gain from this investment. Outsourcing doesn’t need to be prohibitively expensive. Choose a reliable local digital agency or if you are on a really tight budget, you could look for a freelancer to carry out your social media activities.
Whether you outsource or choose to do it yourself however, you need to be aware that carrying out social media activities badly will not achieve your goals and can even have a very real damaging effect. Whoever is responsible, they absolutely need to know what they are doing.
If you are still determined to carry out your social media yourself, the checklist below contains some of the main considerations you’ll need to be aware of.
• Do not take on more than you can manage. To run your social media activities you are going to need to set aside at least an hour a day, every day of the working week. Depending on how many social media networks you intend to set up, you may need to set aside more time.
• The more you put in, the more you will get out – that is, as long as you are concentrating your actions on the right activities. If you only put in an hour a week, or cram all your activity into a few minutes each lunch time, you are not going to achieve the level of success you could potentially achieve.
• Do not leave social media to an inexperienced staff member – whilst they might have experience of using a social media network, using it for business purposes is different. What you say and do in social media is a direct reflection of your business and its values; it is crucial that your activities reflect this and are consistent and professional and are carried out with a clear understanding of objectives.
• Understand why you want to become active on social media. Just because your competitors are doing it really isn’t good enough. You need to set clear objectives and execute activities that will meet those objectives.
• Setting up a social media network and then ignoring it will damage you. Consider a customer who Tweets or posts a customer service question on your Facebook wall. Leave that to go unanswered and not only do they feel unimportant, but they aren’t likely to turn into a customer and it certainly won’t impress anyone else who sees that inactivity.
• Do not chase Likes and followers. 10 followers who have a real and active interest in your company are far more valuable to you than 100 followers who do not interact or engage with you at all.
• Keep the content of your posts varied and interesting. If all you do is churn out sales message after sales message people will lose interest very quickly and you’ll also find it harder to attract new followers.
• Track everything you do! Start by taking benchmarks and keep track of growth in followers, interactions and click through to your website regularly. Tracking the underlying stats is essential in helping you understand what activities are working and those which are not.
Some of the skills needed to excel in social media marketing include;
Strong interpersonal/networking skills, a good understanding of setting objectives, planning and strategy. You will also need to understand Google Analytics (or similar), have endless creativity, bags of personality (even the stuffiest brand needs to show some personality to succeed in social media), up to date knowledge about all the platforms you are active on (Facebook for example has a large number of rules and guidelines that you must be aware of), good writing skills and ideally the ability to create decent graphics to accompany your posts.