Planning your company social media is hard, purely because of content and you can never be sure of what to say or how to write it or where to post it etc etc. We’ve come up with the main factors you need to consider when you are choosing your social media tools and channels for your business so it makes your content posting that little bit more easier.
- Your Audience (WHO): – This can be everything from their age range to what platforms are they using. 60% of 50 – 64 year olds are now active on social media so if they are your target audience, focus your content on them and the sites you would find them on whether it be Facebook or even Pinterest.
- Your Audience Location (WHERE): – Where is your audience based? Are they living in Birmingham, if they are – what can you do to target and engage with other locations such as Edinburgh and Cardiff. Make use of business analytic tools like Google Analytics.
- HOW are you planning on posting to social media: – Will you do this on your own or do you have a dedicated team of minions around to help you out? Are you going to outsource and use marketing agencies or will it all stay inside the company and you take it on yourselves?
- WHAT are you sharing on Social Media: – Which social media channels and tools are you planning to use? Are you planning on sharing posts that you want to maximise your reach? Could you use platforms like LinkedIn for marketing children’s playgroup services? Think about what your business is, where your target market is and what channels they are using.
- WHY are you posting on social media: – Stick to your marketing plan and focus only on your target market! They are the reason you are integrating social media platforms into your initial marketing plan. Most businesses no matter how big or small tend to lose out on potential customers because they are not communicating with the users of their products or services on-line – and not just on social media. Welcome to the world of engagement. This is your chance to find out about your customer/user likes and dislikes, their opinions. This is a platform for you to turn negatives into positives, a way for you to increase traffic to your website (especially valuable for e-commerce websites). People on social media naturally presume they will get fast responses which is why taking on social media is such a big step for any business. Within a matter of minutes a purchase can go through or boycotted because of a recommendation or somebody else complaining about your brand and products. Remember, social media and digital marketing is about increasing awareness of your brand!
- Think about the TYPE & SIZE of your business: – How big is your business? How many employees do you have? What do you initially sell? How are your products and services benefitting your customers? What makes you stand out? Every single question you first asked yourself when starting your business is what you need to keep in mind when setting up a social media account and page. You are initially re-starting up but just on sociable platforms, therefore, you need to go back to the beginning. Bring out the very reasons why you started your business again and bring them to the world online. This is what will help keep you on track and figure out what platforms are right for you.
- Your BUSINESS VISION: – What is your business vision? What’s your mission statement? Your ultimate and most desirable (and completely achievable) goal? These are the things you have to think about. Customers want to see a budding business. They will buy and use the companies who know what they are talking about, are stable and can communicate.
- AIMS & OBJECTIVES:– What are your aims and who are you targeting? These are the 2 main questions you absolutely have to ask yourself. Are you looking to grow and expand through the likes of social media? Always stick to your company goals – this is the best way to achieve them.
- Your BRAND & VALUES:– Keep in mind at all times what your mission statement is and what your brand values are. Keep all profiles looking consistent and professional to ensure your company is being presented well across all accounts. Are you running to provide purely exceptional customer service? If you aren’t – do it! Make your presence known. Scream it out to the world that you’re there and talking to your audience. Nothing is ever as effective then companies replying back through social media – everything goes viral. Good customer service tweets (as well as bad) can be favourited and shared across Twitter, Facebook, even YouTube if they provide information – it’s about reach and amplification.
- RESOURCES & STAFF: – What resources are available for you to use? Do you have a set budget – if yes, how small/big is it? If no – do you need to use free channels and tools or will you pay for extra services like Adwords, Copywriting services and PPC (pay per click)? How many staff members will manage social media accounts? Resources are always a common issue and some people may not have a large enough budget to do everything in house, or simply enough time. Ask yourself how much time do you have, if it’s a little amount – consider hiring someone who knows their stuff.
- WILL YOUR STAFF NEED TRAINING: – Following on from the previous point, are you going to to hire a person to manage your social media for you? If you are then ask yourself – will they require training? Do you have facilities on-site to train them or will they be required to travel – if so, will they be reimbursed etc.? Some people may only know the basics and even so may require a small amount of training just to brush up on their existing knowledge – like a refresher course if you like to think of it like that.
- CONTENT:– Content is the best seller. It’s KING! We’ve all seen the hashtag #ContentIsKing – well it is there for this very reason. It describes the brand, product and services provided. It’s essentially everything – without this, imagine just a blank piece of paper for a website – images, videos, infographics, rich media is all considered as content. So ponder over: what will any promo information say? Who will write this up? Will you have graphics to add to this or any other rich media formats? But ultimately – will it suit and be beneficial for your target audience?
- What are your TIMESCALES: – Look at the timescales you are aiming for and how much time you have to dedicate to posting and sharing – especially if you are doing this single handed-ly. Remember, the time that goes into this should be to make positive conversion rates, so post quality content – don’t focus too much on quantity, people tend to unfollow due to ‘spam’ posts. Don’t forget people are worldwide. Make use of tools like Hootsuite and TweetDeck to schedule messages so when you are out of the office or sleeping, your social media is still awake as ever – time-zones are different and someone is always on-line. You shouldn’t have to be on-line in person round the clock to do this.
- PERCEPTION & REPUTATION:– People have their own opinion and they are not obliged to listen to everybody’s opinions. They like to voice this on their own social media so if they have a bad experience and they tag you – be prepared to answer back to them ASAP. All people want is good customer service and nothing less. Remember to keep it professional – we have all seen brands get slated for replying with a rude comment or something that others may find really offensive (eg. Aldi on Twitter) so stick it in your mind that what you say is public and on-line and once it’s out there – there is no taking it back. Avoid doing anything that will lower your brands’ reputation. People just want someone they can trust.
- MANAGEMENT SUPPORT: – Who will support your social media? Will you have a form of hierarchy to help manage posting or someone to oversee that content is safe and clear to post for the company profile? How much time is it going to take and mainly – will it be worth it? Everything you do to post on social media has to be worth it for your company.
- IT SUPPORT & COST: – Leading back to budget – what is your company budget? Will you pay for the research of content and posts or for personalised blog URLs? Will you have an on-site IT company to help with any technical issues or will you use tools that will minimise this effect? Many social media platforms are as apps now too, so everything you post can be viewed on the go and you need to make sure all of your content is mobile device friendly too.
- ARE YOU INTEGRATING OTHER MARKETING TOOLS: – With your marketing plan, have you focused just purely on social media or are you using other elements of traditional marketing too such as the mailshots, leaflets and posters. Social media may not always be for everyone but it is always good to have an online presence, particularly for those looking to move up the ranks in Google for SEO* Always keep your options open and use the ‘trial and error’ technique – if one method doesn’t work, try the next one and so forth and keep monitoring the success rates through web measurement tools such as Google Webmaster Tools (WMT) and Google Analytics.
- TONE & COMPANY LINE: -What will your online presence sound like? Will you come across really friendly and quite informal and chatty or really corporate or advice-like? Usually the best way to do this is to get everybody to write posts and keep it in a similar tone or, create an individual profile for each employee who is posting on social media so users know it’s them and give them specific roles or topics to talk about. It’s always nicer for a customer or user to know that they are talking to a variety of members in the team and not just one behind a device or scheduled posting platform. However you choose to decide this tone, it must stay consistent across all platforms.
There are so many things to consider, this list is just a small part of it all but we can help. The main thing is to focus on what social media channels will suit your business – if it is small, many people suggest using free channels like Twitter and Facebook as your basics and build it up from there.
User research is forever key. Great ways to do this are to create customer profile blueprints for the typical buyer of your company and work out what it is they are on and use. Ensure you are choosing the right tools and channels for your target audience and age range or this will just become a wasted effort.
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