At Think Creative we believe every business needs to have a social media program. It can be easy to jump in and start without a strategy in place, though. A strategy will keep you on track to reach your goals. Developing a strategy, however, can feel like a challenge, so we’ve put together a list of questions your business should ask before you take the plunge.
What social media sites should we be on?
Every platform has different strengths and focuses. If you have limited time and budget for your social media program, you’ll want to make sure that you you’re allocating your resources wisely and maximizing your investment. So get familiar with the different social sites and choose the ones that will work best for you. You can always expand your plans and strategy later, but to begin with, choose the ones you feel are the best for your business.
A number of businesses are on Facebook.If you are planning to advertise at some point in time or are looking for an easy way to provide online support to your customers then it makes a lot of sense to build a Facebook page. Keep in mind that organic reach on Facebook is decreasing at a consistent rate, however, so don’t get discouraged if it takes awhile to make an impact there.
Instagram is a great choice if you sell any kind of physical product because its focus is the visual. Instagram has a high rate of engagement, and a very active user base. It offers some unique options like Stories, which gives you the chance to post content such as short videos and photos that disappear after 24 hours.
Twitter is the other heavy hitter. While it may require more frequent posting, there’s a large and active user base. Advertising is also available on Twitter. Plan to coordinate posts on your various sites in order to reach your customers where they are. Discovery is a strong possibility on Twitter since customers use hashtags to find content they are looking for.
Depending on your business you may also consider LinkedIn, G+, Pinterest, YouTube and others.
Who will manage the accounts?
Social media accounts don’t run by themselves. They need to be managed by someone at your business. Even if you outsource some of the work, you still need to keep an eye on them. Decide who the best person is to take on the role of managing your social media program. If it’s not you, make sure they understand the responsibilities and that you schedule time for them to spend on this task. It is very important that if you delegate these sites to someone else you retain administrative access and control over them. (You can read more about that in our post about securing your social sites.)
What is your purpose for being on social media?
It’s important to determine your purpose for being on social media. Your purpose will guide what you do and help you make decisions about steps to take. Adjustments can always be made as time passes and you start to meet your goals. It’s likely you’ll choose something like increasing exposure for your business or connecting with local customers. Once you determine your purpose, it will help you make decisions about what you post and the processes you use. Remember that you don’t want to utilize social media for strict selling. If you do so, you’ll be wasting precious time and resources on a strategy that won’t go anywhere. Instead, set a goal that aligns with the way your customers use social media and make sure you are using it that way, too.
How Often Will You Post?
Before you start posting, you’ll want to know how often and when you actually plan to post. It’s essential to keep it manageable and to set a realistic goal. Plan out your posts in advance to avoid hitting a snag or any dead time. This also gives you a chance to approve anything make edits, suggestions, and changes if you are not the one writing the posts and allows you to make sure that your posts work together to create a cohesive brand image on social media.
What are your competitors doing?
It’s important to get the lay of the land and see if your closest competitors are on social media and what they are doing in their social media program. Scope out their accounts and get an idea of how your business can fit into the landscape. Check out what kinds of things they are posting and whether it seems like they are having success with it. Consider if your brand would benefit from taking a similar strategy or doing something totally different. You may well find that even if they are on social media they are accomplishing little and an excellent opportunity exists for you to make a mark.
How will you measure success?
When you start enacting your social media program, make sure you have a way to judge whether you are achieving success with it. Success on social media can look different for different companies depending on what they hope to achieve by being on it. Don’t judge your efforts too harshly by traditional standards if they are unrelated to your goals. Quality matters over quantity so if you have improved engagement with customers that is more important than whether or not you have amassed a great number of followers. If you have customers come in to your store and tell you they learned about you on social media then you will know you have increased awareness. Develop regular intervals at which to assess how you are doing and make adjustments to your plan as necessary.
Answer these questions before you start and all of your efforts will be more successful. Think Creative can help you on your social media journey! We have tools available for scheduling your posts and can help you manage a consistent schedule. Contact us today for more information!