Have you dipped your toe in the world of social media? Have you set up a Twitter account for your firm, but then perhaps forgotten about it? Is social media something you think your business should do, but haven’t really yet figured out how it all works or what the benefits can be?
If the answer to the those questions is mainly ‘yes’, then you’ve come to the right place. The good news is that it can be a relatively straightforward process to get something workable in place, the bad news is that you may have to do a quick audit first – don’t worry, we’ll keep it short and sweet.
Effective social media requires time and effort, so the last thing you’re going to want is a lengthy, will-sapping audit of your current activity, it’s best to keep it brief, make it a process than can be done regularly with no great headache.
The steps laid out below are aimed at those firms that may have already established a handful of social media accounts – some of which are possibly dormant – but haven’t really embarked on anything you’d call a coherent social media strategy.
Conducting a straightforward social media audit is simply a process of asking yourself a set of straightforward questions and putting a plan in place that will help get you up and running. Then, once you’re established with the basics, you can perhaps start to look a bit more scientifically at the whole process and go for something that might have to spend a bit of cash on.
So, if you have slipped – or are generally useless at social media – and want to build some presence without spending a fortune, read on…
Ask yourself what you’re trying to achieve through social media. Is it:
- Brand or product awareness?
- Lead generation?
- Bringing traffic to your website?
- Sales, special offers, and promotions?
- Is it a customer support channel?
- Is it a content marketing push?
- Or is it all of these things?
- Where do they hang out online? Twitter? LinkedIn? Facebook?
- Are you following the right people through your existing social channels?
- Are you getting the right people to follow you?
When you have worked out what you want to use social media channels to do for you, and established where your natural audience is, it’s time to think about how your competition shapes up.
- Find key influencers/competition amongst those you want to target
- How do those people or brands manage their profiles?
- What does their branding say about them?
- How do they use imagery across different networks?
- What is the frequency at which they post across different networks?
- What sort of content do they post to Twitter? How is that different from what they post on LinkedIn, YouTube, Vine, Facebook, Instagram?
- Do they use cartoons, funnies, infographics, charts, videos, vines, gifs, useful links, chat updates to build communities, beautiful imagery, retweets, do they re-post suitable content from their social communities?
- Who do they follow and who/how many follows them?
- What is their engagement like? Lots of ‘likes’, ‘retweets’, and ‘regrams’?
- What can you learn from them? What do they do that could help you improve also?
Once you’ve asked all these questions of your competitors, ask yourself the same questions.
Now it’s time to get busy…
Locate all your official and unofficial profiles (spam, employees, fans sites, old accounts you have forgotten about…) and do some benchmarking
- How many accounts?
- When was the last activity on each of those profiles?
- How many followers/fans to each?
- What is the posting frequency?
- What’s the engagement like?
- Make a record of all profile names and which social networks you’re across
- Put it all in spreadsheet to make it easy to update and track
Benchmark your competitors in the same way:
- What are the types of posts that are working well for them?
- What do they link to, discuss, what kind of media are they using across their networks, how does their approach vary network to network?
- What’s their posting frequency?
- What’s their popularity like?
- Do they have an easily understandable brand identity across their different networks?
- What level of engagement do they enjoy?
Now you have made a list, it’s time to make those accounts – official and unofficial – work for you. Ask yourself these questions about each profile:
- Why are we using this account?
- Does it meet our goals or is our targeted audience missed with this profile?
- Can we get rid of it without losing anything?
Tidy up yourself:
- Get rid of the accounts you can’t fill regularly, that don’t serve your target audience
- Make you business details consistent on all profiles that remain (names, links, definitions)
- Make sure all details are filled out and there is no blank space
- Put consistent brand imaging across all your accounts – and in all the possible locations
- Think about the different moods on each network (Twitter is link sharing, informal chat, good customer service, while LinkedIn is more serious, po-faced business channel) and adapt your tone so that it is right for each place (this doesn’t mean become inconsistent, you can promote the same brand values by just vary the tone so that it’s appropriate for each network)
Now that you’ve assessed your profiles, tidied them up, and worked out who the competition is, and what they do well, it’s time to work on your strategy:
- Establish primary and secondary goals (is this a branding exercise or a promotional push?)
- What sort of content will you use across various networks to meet a common goal?
- Decide on your targeting across various networks – perhaps you’ll push branding on Instagram with some beautiful imagery (like the Adidas profile at the top of this page), customer service and community building on Twitter, then feature helpful videos on YouTube, then more fun videos on Vine?
- Decide what your post frequency will be
- Set expectations
- Set budgets
At first experiment, vary the type of content you post, the times and days you put stuff live, and the frequency with which you engage across your networks.
It’s as simple as that…
After a certain time period has lapsed (a week, a month) do another round of benchmarking to find out how your numbers compare with the first time you did it.
- How are your profiles performing?
- Any patterns developing?
- What’s the correlation between your posting and the way you’re developing followers?
- What types of posts are working well?
- What kind of engagement are your flowers responding to?
- What level of post frequency gets the best results?
- What time of the day or week gets the best results for you?
- Set new goals based on your early assessment of what content works, at what times, how often you post…
Then do it all again… only better.