11 Jun #TipTuesday – The basics of social media management
Five tips to get you started!
Running a small business with no or little staff to delegate tasks to is a huge undertaking in itself. The constant demands from clients, suppliers, the tax man – it’s a wonder how anything actually gets done! Having considered all of that, your business may still be lucrative and turning over a successful profit. However, your marketing (and in this case, your social media) shouldn’t be ignored as with any business, there may be times when you’re not generating that income you need due to seasonal climates, supply/demand, and a whole host of other reasons. Maintaining a steady stream of engaging content on your social channels has been proven to account for increased sales/business due to a growth in the build up of trust and recognition from your following. But, how does any business owner get the time to even think up good ideas for content, let alone plan, curate, schedule and monitor it? Sure, you do need to dedicate time to focus on your social media but with my top 5 tips, you will at least be able to get started before you consider hiring a social media specialist to take over the reins.
So, as a small business owner, what should you be doing to lay the foundations of a healthy content feed across your platforms?
1) Know your audience
You may have been advised in the past to have a presence on every channel out there, but when time is tight, it’s vital you do a little research and get inside the heads of your customers/clients. What social channels would they use the most and where would they go to find/be introduced to your products/services? For example – if you run an interior design business for homeowners, Instagram and Pinterest should be your first port of call. These platforms rely solely on content containing images. A Facebook page for visual based businesses is also a must; live video content is prioritised on Facebook algorithms (although these change all the time) so if you think your audience would engage with that, crack on!
LinkedIn pages are targeted to a B2B audience, so if your business also provides interior design for offices and the workplace as well, for example, then consider setting up a LinkedIn Business Page to service these clients.
2) Brainstorm RELEVANT messages to share
Once you have your platforms chosen and set up, and you’ve started collecting a small network of followers with whom you wish to share content, have a think about the type of content you would like to broadcast to them. The main points I aim to stick to when creating new content fall under these categories:
- Useful (can your audience take knowledge away/learn something new from your post?)
- Helpful (are you providing answers to common problems?)
- Relevant (perhaps the most important. Content should remain focussed on your business, the industry, any insights/research that your following might be interested in etc)
- Timely (more about this later in the blog, but I find using a content calendar the only way to effectively schedule time-critical messaging)
- Define your call to action (what action do you want your followers to take after receiving your post? Sign up, download here, read this, contact me here, share this post, etc?)
3) Plan, curate, schedule!
Mentioned within the previous point, a good content planner will immediately elevate your posting regime to dizzy heights. I am a huge advocate of the social media content planners from Heart and Soul Digital Marketing by Lea Rice. I’ve been using her planner for the last 2 years and I can safely say that the quality and frequency of my content has improved massively since switching across. Lea has painstakingly researched every UK holiday, national day, awareness days/months and even events like full moons, new moons, seasonal changes and sporting events. These insights open up a whole new world of fresh content ideas for business owners (and digital marketers). Using a play on words to tie a sporting event with your business, for example, using a trending hashtag to boost its reach is made easy with these content planners. With different types to choose from at a very affordable cost, browse through the options on the Heart and Soul website to see how you can benefit.
Once you’ve planned your content, written the copy and gathered/designed the images (Canva is a great tool for those who aren’t proficient enough on design packages such as Illustrator or Photoshop), it’s time to schedule your posts. I use Hootsuite, but there are plenty of others on the market such as Buffer, eClincher, Loomly and Sprout Social. Hootsuite gives you 3 social platforms on their free service which jumps up to 10 on their lower tier paid subscription, which is roughly £30 a month. By using a scheduling tool, you can upload all of your content once a week, for example, and the tool automatically fires out your content on the days and times you have selected. There used to be some resistance amongst digital marketers in using these tools a while back, as platforms such as Facebook announced that they would de-prioritise content posted by schedulers. This was never actually the case, and in fact studies show that using scheduling tools does not affect the reach of your posts as opposed to posting natively.
4) Interaction & Community Management
So, now your content is generating some interest, it’s crucial to respond to any public posts, tweets, private messages and express your gratitude to those who share your content. Platforms tend to prioritise posts which have generated certain levels of interaction, so the more you respond to comments on your posts, the higher the organic reach becomes. This is where community management steps in; this is your online ‘voice’ which spans across all of your social media platforms, blogs, forum and group posts. It’s partly taking care of your customer service (handling any complaints, questions, feedback and praise) publicly on your channels, and partly being active in discussions that could promote your brand. The latter requires time dedicated to effectively make this happen, so this might be something to hand over to a social media or community management specialist when budget allows.
5) Analyse and recycle!
All of the main platforms compile your engagement stats on organic (non-paid for promotions) and sponsored/paid content. Use them to your advantage! Just by running your eye down the engagement stats on your previous posts, you can quickly detect the type of posts your following loves to consume. It might be video, it might be when you crack jokes, it could be industry intelligence – whatever it is, if it works, keep doing it! Be clever about recycling content; whilst it might be tempting to share old posts without rewriting them to bring them up to date, your brand reputation will not thank you for doing this. Original, thought-leadership content is always received well, so do take the time to extract as many content opportunities from your research findings, white papers, blogs, documents and downloads as you can. The internet is out there poised and eager to love your brand! Go get ‘em!
Sometimes, though, what you really need is an extra pair of hands to manage this stuff for you. I get it, completely! That’s where hiring a specialist social media manager will really benefit you. If content just isn’t your thing, and you want to hand the reins to someone else, I will happily do this for you! Just get in touch via my website or email me at Charlie@redalertcomms.co.uk.
I hope you found this blog useful! Please let me know your thoughts by leaving them in the box below.