Social media is a must for any business, no matter the size. Customers today are different than they were ten years ago; instead of looking for the best commercial or the most economic service, today’s buyers are a tech-savvy group searching for a company that knows how to communicate with their users easily and openly in a public forum. Offering transparency via social media is a great way to build rapport and customer loyalty, but it doesn’t happen overnight. Like any marketing effort, your social media management should be approached from the perspective of a marketing strategy.
The National Law Review has a long list of things to consider. Here are a few things that apply to any industry working toward a viable social media strategy:
- Establish why you want to utilize social media. What do you hope to achieve?
- Define your target audience. Which social media platform is most appropriate for this audience?
- Scope out the competition. What kind of content are they using in their social media marketing?
- Figure out a schedule. How often should you post to each platform?
- Determine how to measure success. What metrics will you use to measure your ROI?
These are just five of the many things that you can and should work out before you start on a social media venture, but probably the most important.
Remember that social media is like a never ending marketing campaign; you will most certainly have smaller marketing efforts during the course of your social media strategy, your goals and target may even change over time, but it should be treated as a single cohesive effort. Because social media can vary dramatically from platform to platform, this is one place where many social media strategies fail. Your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even Youtube accounts should all complement one another, not compete with each other. You may even be using other platforms depending upon your target audience, such as Tumblr and Vine, which come with their own standards and unspoken rules. If the social guidelines for a giving platform don’t mesh with your brand identity or don’t work well with your existing social media accounts, don’t utilize that platform.
Just as important as figuring out how to make your various pages work together is deciding how you’re going to measure your success. There’s no way to tell if your social media strategy is working unless you have something that can be tracked and quantified, new figures to compare to the old and see how well your efforts are paying off. According to Business2Community, the first metric to track when it comes to measuring social media success is audience development—this would be the number of Facebook “likes” and Twitter followers your page builds over time. Another popular metric to measure is traffic to your site from the given social media platforms. This can not only show you where your target it audience is really coming from, but also help you figure out what kind of content gets your the most leads.
As long as you know where to start and where you want to end up, figuring out the in between shouldn’t be too difficult. If you want to take it off your plate, of course, you can always get some professional input! Social media specialists have more than enough expertise to share.