You know that you should do some social media marketing (SMM) tasks every day. That is what all the experts say is best, right? (For several years now, experts like Neil Patel have been expressing how important SMM is!)
In fact, you have it handled. Your social profiles are all set up and you know what you need to do to keep it going. Or, at the least, you have hired the right team that also knows how to get the job done. You know that they can handle it. So, you are confident.
Or, are you?
What is Needed? >> A Plan
Let’s back up just a tad and look at this social media marketing thing afresh. We are doing this even though we all know what it is. Sometimes it is helpful to take a fresh look to ensure we haven’t missed anything.
So, here we go…
Developing a strong social media presence is the hallmark of a successful startup business. This is the case whether the startup is online or offline or both (which is best, to have a foot in both realms).
Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are essential for maintaining a competitive edge. Some of the other sites, like Pinterest and Instagram, are coming up the ladder and becoming almost synonymous with their predecessors. Sites like Google Plus, though not mentioned as often, have still not given up their spot in importance when it comes to social media marketing.
So, back to those accounts… Let’s face it… Startups that do not have active social media profiles (accounts) miss out on far too many marketing opportunities. Social media marketing is where it is at, in this day and age of online or internet marketing. Do you think?
An example of making a difference with social media marketing…
Starting a hashtag testimonial on Twitter is an excellent way to gain exposure. If you create a hashtag that’s specifically for testimonial purposes, as your startup flourishes, so will the visibility of your hashtag. In turn, you gain free publicity simply by tweeting.
The same holds true for other social media platforms, but in order to be successful, you need to know where your target audience spends most of their time. For example, if their favorite hangout is Instagram, it doesn’t make sense to post on Facebook.
This is why it is so important to have a social media marketing plan. That means that we also need to have an idea of what we are doing and what is needed. Without it, we could have burn-out and that isn’t good for anyone.
But even before you choose the right channel, you need to define your business goals and objectives. Spend some time defining what it is that you want to accomplish this year, or what is left of any given year. Remember, it doesn’t have to be January 1st for you to sit down and perform these exercises in an analysis. It is like a regrouping.
The key is that you allow yourself to assess where you have been, where you are, and where you are going anytime that you feel that your brand (personal or business) needs a regrouping. However, at the same time, ensure that you are not doing this assessment so often that you are not getting anything done. There is a happy balance between the two and one of the most helpful ways to stay balanced is to ensure that you are consulting with other members of your team and getting their feedback and input.
Now, back to our goals and objectives…
- How will social media help you achieve these goals?
- How can social media marketing help you to be the company that you want to be and continue on that path?
- Will your company take a no-nonsense approach or are you easygoing in your social media marketing endeavors? (Your social media presence must be consistent with your company culture.)
- What other questions will help you to define where you are going and how social media marketing can help you get there?
After creating your social media accounts and profiles, there is the overall social media plan. That is what the questions, above, help you to define. Then, under that umbrella, are the social media marketing campaigns, which may help you to focus on more granular goals or more short-terms goals or agendas for your brand.
When creating your daily social media strategy, it should be inspired by the following task list:
- Creating budgets for social media activity;
- Planning social media campaigns;
- Creating and uploading videos and other media components;
- Building brand loyalty.
Buyer Personas and Customer Service
Buyer personas are like creating images (profiles) of what your target audience looks like, based on your assessment (where you were) as well as what is going on with your brand currently (where you are). By understanding and defining those buyer personas, you are able to help direct where you will be going and using social media marketing to manage that directing.
Creating buyer personas and researching where this specific group spends most of their time is vital when measuring key performance indicators (KPI).
For example, you may ask yourself,
- “When are they (the buyers) usually online?” Or,
- “Is it before or after work?”
- “Do they post more during the week or on the weekends?”
All of these variables play a part when developing your social media marketing calendar because they help you to define who it is that benefits from your social media marketing. The more defined you are, the less likely you are to aimlessly spend time in places where time should not be spent.
Above all else, you need to listen. Social media listening will help you define your daily tasks.
Customer service is another place where social media listening is helpful. Using social media makes customer service easy. It also makes social listening a mandatory task every day, in order to maintain that high standard of customer service. Use social media management tools to track brand mentions in real time. Analytic tools can help you isolate negative mentions, so you can address them as quickly as possible, demonstrating how much you truly care for your customers.
Managing the Content
The following list of content was pulled from the “Social Media Planner” that is available as a free download. This is a comprehensive list of the type of content for any social media marketing plan/campaign.
- Timely content you create (your blog, videos, podcasts, etc);
- Archived content that still has value to your visitors (and you);
- Other people’s content;
- Inspirational messages and quotes;
- Funny memes and images;
- Events and offers;
- Personal stories;
Rapid growth overwhelms Many startup companies. Also, what may seem exciting on day one can become a drudgery by day eight. We don’t want to get to this point because we don’t want to head toward burnout.
Keeping Burnout Out of the Mix
In order to ensure that burnout does not peep its head, start with the plan. That is where it is important to analyze, assess, define (i.e. buyer personas), and develop the SMM plan. This planning goes from a global to a granular view.
Once the larger pieces of the pie are defined, break it down into the daily tasks. Use whatever means are available to you, to help to manage that. That includes understanding the types of content (above), as well as how you can post it (i.e. social media marketing tools). Also, incorporate how often you will check (social media listening) your social accounts, doing it frequently enough, but not too frequent.
Once you set up your social media accounts and develop a management routine, schedule regular checks on all channels to maintain a steady presence.
Last, but not least, don’t be afraid to experiment with your social media strategy. While it’s a good idea to maintain strategies that work, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. After all, the essence of a startup is to solve problems in an innovative and efficient way. Just keep those eyes open and if there is a risk of burnout, step back, reassess, get feedback from the team, and find ways to automate, using those wonderful social media marketing tools!
Keep the daily to a minimum, with a view of the overall social media marketing plan, consistent with branding success, from a top-down global view. That keeps you on target while managing the load.
Featured image: 123RF