As a social media consultant, I am often asked to help business owners set up their social media accounts and campaigns, and will usually begin by asking what has led them to the point of wanting to embark on social media activity.
For many, there is the recognition that social media is now a hugely important part of the marketing tool kit, and they have a clear vision of how it will be used. But often, it is quite simply because they feel that is it ‘just something they should do'.
It probably is. But to get great results from a social media campaign it is important to do some groundwork first, and to give some thought to what you want to achieve.
So, for any business owners thinking about starting out on social media, here are 5 things you should consider:
1. Know Who Your Customers Are
Social media is a powerful tool to use to directly target your existing and potential customers – if you know who they are. Here is some of the information you need to have available:
- Age Group
- Location (local, national, international?)
- Income level
- Common Interests
2. Choose the Right Platform
With over a billion accounts, Facebook may be the biggest social network, but it may not be where your customers hang out. Once you know who your target customers are, it is important to pick the network where the greatest proportion of that audience are spending most of their time. You can find lots of statistics about who is using each social network at Socialbakers.
3. Start Small
If you have a small to medium sized business, resource may well be at a premium. So be honest about the time you have to spend on social media within the business. Choose one or two networks and do them well in the time that you have, before you move onto others.
4. Have a Goal – and Know How to Measure Success
Many businesses start out on social media without having a clear idea of what they want to achieve. Is it to:
- Drive more traffic to your website?
- Improve your reputation?
- Provide customer service?
- Generate more sales?
It is important to set clear aims for all your social media campaigns, and put measurements in place that will tell you if your efforts are successful.
5. Plan, Plan, Plan!
Prepare a content calendar, and identify sources of information that your customers will find really interesting, and want to engage with. Build in key events within your business, and ways in which you will build up the promotion of these on your social media accounts. Check out content curation sites such as Feedly.com, and use a tool such as Hootsuite to help manage Twitter.
I hope these tips will help you achieve great success from your social media campaigns. Are there other things you think are important to consider before you start?
Written by Liz Melville