It has to be said that 20 tips doesn’t really seem enough for what is now such a vast arena – but here’s the first instalment of what we think are some of the most vital things to get right and help you get a real return on your financial and time investment:
- Take your place. If you’ve done nothing in social media thus far, immediately check what already exists in terms of your brand name on Facebook, Twitter and any other networks you want to use. If your name hasn’t been taken by someone already, grab it quickly.
- Before you start out actually using social media for your business, get clear about your goals. Why do you want to be active in this arena? What do you want to accomplish? Is your aim to do some great PR, establish a channel for Customer Service, receive feedback on new product releases, generate leads or direct sales?
- Ensure you have defined your audience. Are they using social media? If so, which networks do they prefer? How often do they engage? Do a quick, manual review of the sorts of things they’re talking about.
- Review, and do a SWOT Analysis on your known competition. Follow/Like them – observe them over time. Measure what you can of their activity. It may not be good to simply mimic them, however. Seek to do something that really stands out whilst remaining true to your brand. Utilise every field in your profile. Ensure you add an image (usually your brandmark or logo) and do customise the appearance where possible to something that reflects your brand. Ensure your web address is visible there too. Decide how personal you want to present yourself – as the whole company or just one Person, e.g. CEO?
- Complete the bio or description by first identifying the top 3, then the top 10 keywords that sum up what your brand or business is all about. Then build around these with something inspiring, enticing and compelling.
- Start to identify your primary content sources. This must clearly relate to a) Your target audience and b) Your goals. Give people multiple reasons to become fans or followers of yours.
- Establish your team and define your Content Strategy: who will get what content from where, when? Who will act as editor? Get people involved who are gifted at listening (first) and then responding to others; helpful and informative, thick skinned, genuine in their tone, able to manage both the praises and the criticisms positively.
- Do establish a system for proper governance. Will you have teams of people posting on your behalf? Who needs to approve what content or responses before they are posted?
- Identify the specific KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) you will use to assess your success numerically, e.g. number of followers/fans, number of clicks on posted links, number of ReTweets, etc.
- Ensure you have a reliable method to measure the results, so that you can regularly (at least weekly) check on how things are going. Measuring the outcome is crucial. With Social Media it is often hard to do and it is unlikely to be 100% accurate, but some form of measurement should be established from the off. Bear in mind that at the start it is likely to be a high effort low ROI channel, but it will grow with effort…
by Patrick Bray, Senior Consultant