Social media is now a part of most business communications strategies. Businesses of all sizes recognise that social media channels are where their customers are hanging out, talking to each other and looking for products or services (even if they don’t know they’re looking yet.). And yet, social media management is a constant bugbear for many companies, who just aren’t sure whether they are doing it right, whether it’s working or even whether it’s worth it.
This usually happens because the social media part of your communications has either got too complicated, or has been neglected because it’s too hard. In fact, managing your social media services can easily be simplified, if you take the time to step back and think about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
So here are our top 7 ways to simplify your social media AND get results:
1. Be where your customers are
There’s no point spending valuable time – and potentially money – posting on one channel when your customers are happily congregating on another. Take the time to do some research into your target audience so that you can see where you are most likely to reach them, and the concentrate your efforts there. For some, this might be Facebook, for others it’s LinkedIn and for others it’s Instagram. Of course you can run more than one channel – but it must be one where your target customers are likely to see you and engage with you.
2. Have a social media manager
It’s always better to have one person in charge of your social media planning – even if you have more than one person posting on your behalf. That way, there’s always someone in control of your channels; someone who can see what’s happening, run reports that show what’s working and what’s not, learn about the latest trends and inform your social media strategy. This can be someone in-house or a social media outsource – whatever works best for your business.
3. Have a plan
Your social media should have a strategy in just the same way as your business, finance, sales and marketing have strategies. Social media is there to help you reach your goals – from building your brand reputation to helping to drive traffic to your website. Your social media becomes instantly simpler when you have a plan to work to, rather than using a scattergun approach and expecting to get results from it. Plan for each channel and plan on a monthly basis so that you have a clear idea of what’s being posted, and which part of your business strategy it’s supporting.
4. Use a scheduling tool
Managing social media channels is time-consuming. If you’re doing them properly, you need to plan and write posts, find supporting images, know where your post is linking to, engage with people who like or comment or share your posts, and also engage with other people in your timeline. Make your life simpler by using a scheduling tool such as Hootsuite, Buffer, SocialOomph or SproutSocial. You can get both free and paid versions of these tools and they allow you to schedule your posts in advance across several channels, reducing the time you spend loading posts, and allowing you to get ahead of the game. Check out each option for its features and add-ons, so that you choose the one that suits your business best.
5. Set up alerts and lists
One of the most time-consuming areas of social media is working out who to engage with and how. This isn’t just about individuals or other brands – it’s also about following relevant hashtags and trends to help you make sure you take advantage of opportunities. Social media platforms have made this easier for you by allowing you to set up alerts, or to make specific lists so that you can keep your feed clear and organised rather than getting distracted by posts and people that aren’t relevant to your business.
6. Re-purpose your content
Many people get stuck with social media because they feel there’s nothing to say. That’s partly where your strategy and planning come in, but it’s also where you can take advantage of re-purposing your existing content. Given a presentation recently? You can use your key take-aways as individual social media posts and link back to the relevant page of your website. Got a brochure you’re about to launch? Write a blog post about it and highlight it on your social media feed. Wrote a post a year ago about a milestone in your business? Revisit it on your anniversary to remind people how far you’ve come.
7. Consider outsourcing
Of course, the quickest way to simplify your social media is to let someone else do it! This brings a number of benefits: you get immediate access to a social media manager who can plan, organise, source and post for you. They will also be able to show you reports on engagement, response and click-through, allowing you to measure your return on investment and see where strategies might be changed in order to continue something that’s been successful or build on something new. Costing less than hiring an employee, social media virtual assistant rates are and affordable option, which is why it’s a solution that many small businesses opt for.
Social media management needn’t be complicated – it can be simple. Stay focused, have a plan and get some support, and you could find that it becomes a fantastic channel for your business marketing and sales. If you’re short on time and need help with your social media management feel free to call us on 0800 994 9016 or use our contact form in the menu above.