Starting out in social media marketing can be very exciting. On one hand you have a fresh start for your business online; a blank page to be filled. Oh the possibilities! And on the other hand, blank pages can cause writer's block, indecision and fear.
It is important to realize that first impressions count just as much online as they do in the offline world. But as a busy entrepreneur, you probably don’t have time to try out every social network for size. Your social media marketing campaign needs to produce measurable results as soon as possible.
Here are six insightful questions to ask yourself before you start on social media. Your answers will help you to create a coherent and effective social media marketing strategy for your new and growing business!
WHAT NETWORKS WILL YOU JOIN?
The big players in the social arena constantly shuffle for first place and they nearly always seem to hit the news with their latest leap in popularity, but the same six players are key in terms of volume of users - Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
Understanding the demographics of each platform's users and where they intersect with your target audience will decide for you whether you should use a specific network or not.
WHO WILL BE IN CHARGE OF POSTING UPDATES?
Chances are, you're going to need a freelancer to look after your social media. The internet doesn't sleep, and if your market is global the chances are you will have to state your business hours publicly and hire someone to engage with your fans or customers from 9-5 each day.
This is one time when giving the job to your newest intern is not a good idea. Your social media manager should have a firm grip on best practices, customer service, and be both polite and patient.
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO POST?
It's funny, but sometimes what we think our customers want from us and what they actually want from us can be miles apart. Do your homework. Figure out what kinds of posts go down the best with your target market and give them what they want.
Always, always monitor your analytics to both help create more of the content that gets most engagement and to look out for trends your business should follow.
WILL YOUR ADVERTISING BE PAID OR FREE?
If you're a start-up business, or have been badly affected by the downturn in global economy, you may not want to invest in advertising. But understanding how it works can offer some very cheap marketing opportunities, as social media advertising is the most cost-effective there is at the moment, compared to Google and Bing PPC.
HOW WILL YOU DEAL WITH NEGATIVITY?
Unfortunately, being on the other side of an anonymous void, armed with a keyboard can make some people feel they can do and say what they want with some degree of anonymity.
This is actually a myth thanks to the many different social search tools and aggregators online. Don't feed the trolls. Remain calm and make use of the immediacy of social media to offer customer service in a timely and polite manner. You may never appease the originator of any negative comments, but the world that watches may be impressed enough by your attitude that they will choose to do business with you in the future.
HOW WILL YOU LEVERAGE THE GROWTH OF YOUR CUSTOMER BASE TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS?
There's little point in growing a large list of fans or followers unless you leverage it by engaging your followers and encouraging them to share your content. Create some fun around your brand; offer quizzes, photo ops, competitions, fill-in-the-blank slogans - anything that surprises your fans with an engaging activity. Even companies that sell washing powder have done this by sharing specific tips on how to best use it for certain stains.
Whichever networks you decide to use, don't be swayed by size alone. There are differences in gender and age group that more than make up for overall numbers, so make sure you do your homework first and create a realistic customer avatar that fits with the social networks you choose.
I hope these questions will help you get the most out of your social media presence! If you would like some help with managing your social media platforms, please send me a message. I love helping small and growing businesses with their social media. :)
Social Media Manager
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The goal of this blog is to help small and growing businesses get the most out of their social media presence.