Have you been given the responsibility of running social media for your business? It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with this task – most of us will have a good familiarity with Facebook but other networks can be less intuitive for beginners.
That’s ok – it takes time to learn the nuances of the various platforms, but there is a dangerous path that you should avoid, and it is always worth pausing before getting stuck in.
What is this danger? Obsession with fan numbers!
The initial reaction most people may have is to start a Facebook page, a Twitter account, maybe also get on Google+ and then work on gaining as many fans and followers as possible.
Before you go down this path, ask yourself – what do I achieve by doing this? How will this help my business?
Of course there are plenty of people and case studies that will tell you how amazing social media can be, and working for a social media agency means that I would be one of them! The difference here, though, is that you should consider what resources you can allocate to social media, and what you aim to get out of it.
Image – Glitch_Nitch
Look at your overall business strategy first
Your social media strategy should start off with a business objective – what aspect of your business do you see social media helping with?
Maybe internal communication could be improved with a shift away from email? How about using it for market research purposes? You could also use social media for improved customer support, and even as a recruitment tool!
Quality is just as important as quantity
Clearly you need to have targets for your social media accounts, but think beyond raw numbers.
If you have identified an audience then you can also determine where to best place your resources – if you are B2B then Facebook might not be the place for you, and LinkedIn could be a more fruitful destination.
Ask yourself if you would prefer to deal with 200 people who are engaged and interested in your offering, or 2,000 who are indifferent at best but have followed or “liked” you for some promotion or other reason. What happens to the 200 who may be ignored or passed over in the chatter? If they have a negative experience or you fail to respond to their message, they will feel alienated.
As well as choosing which networks you are going to focus your time on, there will certainly be a significant number of tool providers who can make your social media life easier. The important thing to consider here is to try tools that are free (either “lite” versions, or 30-day trials) while you get used to how they work and what theirs strengths and weaknesses are – the reason to try as much as possible for free is that not all tools work or feel the same, and inegration with your other systems may differ. Definitely try before you buy, as some of them do require a bit of investment in time to learn them even if they aren’t too expensive.
Stop, collaborate and listen
There are so many things that social media can help with, but they are not necessarily “free”, or even cheap. There is a real need to dedicate resources, either internally or through a social media agency, to provide the time, care and attention necessary.
If you clearly define the goals you have in mind for social media, you can then work backwards from there to make sure you achieve it, and analyse that what you are doing is actually having an impact.
- Think what area of your business can be helped with social media, not the other way round
- Research the audience you are after, where to find them and how to engage them
- Research the tools that are available, start with free ones to test the water and get a feel
- Define metrics for success that don’t rely entirely on the number of fans/followers etc.
- Review these metrics and analyse the success of social media this way.