Building a Social Media Game PlanIt seems like every business thinks they have to be on social media because of all the buzz circulating on the web. The problem is they jump in too quickly without doing enough research because their competitors are on every social channel available and think they have to compete.
Well there are many factors that go into determining when social media is a viable option for your business and we are happy to provide you with some questions to ask yourself before you dive in and even if your currently knee deep into the social media game currently.
Before we get to the questions let me explain one thing. There is no right or wrong way to approach social media, but you must have a purpose and goals set to successful.
If you have listened to the social media experts and shaped your plan around what they have preached then you are not being true to your personality, your companies culture, and your customers. So, be unique and do it your way (as long as it is not spammy).
Here are the 8 Questions to Ask yourself about your social media plan...
1. What do I want to get out of social media for my business?
Setting a purpose and goals is critical for every business and the same applies to social media. Define your goals, time frame, and execution with whomever is going to manage your social and write them down so you can evaluate. You need to be a specific as possible when determining your goals and then be prepared to iterate them based on failures and success.
Changing your goals may seem crazy, but you will learn how and when your community and customers are going to interactive with your brand and need to adapt. Your Twitter goal may be to generate more site traffic by sharing lots of your own blog content, but you might learn that your customers prefer to use Twitter as a real-time customer service tool.
2. Do you have a plan?
The game plan should include your purpose and goals for each social media channel you are using or plan to implement. Each social channel is different in the benefits it can provide, how to obtain these benefits, and how the platform should be used. You wouldn't start a new company without a business plan so don't tackle social media without a game plan.
3. Who are you targeting?
This is a big one that is often forgotten as most businesses default to Facebook because it is the biggest. You need to identify who your three primary targets are. We call them Buyer Personas (A fictional representation of your ideal customer based on real historical data). Take the time to build out your Buyer Personas and identify which social media channels they are using the most to effectively connect with them.
If you are trying to connect with young millennials between the ages of 18-24 then LinkedIn is probably not the best channel and you may want to consider Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter. If your a corporate recruiter then LinkedIn will be your best platform. The platforms should be listed on your Buyer Persona profile when delivered to the person that will handle your social and then measured monthly.
4. What channels will you utilize?
This answer goes right back to the Buyer Personas. You must choose the channels that your Buyer Personas are on and not just the largest or most popular. Social media is not about just being present and active to cast a large net. It is about being targeted and engaging with valuable content. Focus on your top three platforms and dominate them before you branch out and try to take on world with everything under the sun. All too often we see companies trying to utilize as many platforms as possible just to be everywhere, but they not doing a very good job because they spread themselves way too thin.
5. How much time are will you invest?
Many small and medium sized businesses don't hire a professional social media manager or an agency and elect to allocate the responsibility to a current staff member that uses social media personally. The problem here is that using social personally is different then professionally and it is a big time commitment to run correctly. The questions here is it costing you more to use in-house staff member based on the time allocation and the results that are being delivered. The key here is measuring the results and the time investment.
6. How will you measure success?
In your game plan you should have defined your goals now it is time to determine what are realistic time frames to obtain these goals. The measure of success should incremental. If you only have 500 Twitter followers and 125 Facebook Likes then you shouldn't expect to generate 1,000 leads per month or increase website traffic by 5,000 visitors especially if they are NOT engaged.
You must determine where you are at currently and what the first target is. This may be increasing engagement to get your existing community active which is a good strategy if your community is small and needs to grow or disengage. The strategy to grow your community is different than trying to monetize them and you need to know the difference.
7. Can I automate postings to save time?
Yes, but you still need to monitor and engage. Automating posts will save a lot of time, but the benefits will vary depending on if these posts are curated or coming from your own blog. If you are going to tweet 10 times per day then we recommend that you automate 5-6 posts and organically post 4-5 posts per day.
There are a plethora of free and paid social media marketing platforms available today to help automated posts. We are partial to Buffer, Hootsuite, and Sprout Social as they all three have great free plans to get started.
8. How do I monitor conversations?
This all depends on your purpose and how your community uses each channel. You do need to reply to comments and shares as quickly as possible, but the volume of community engagement sometimes limits the availability to reply to everyone.
You will need to determine if your going to monitor and engage in real-time or set a schedule to check your accounts and then reply and comment in blocks. Streamlining and efficient process for this is critical.
Here is a great article to help you figure this out - Social Media Monitoring In Less Than 20 Mins Per Day.
To effectively monitor in a timely fashion you will need some help and not want to use each individual platform. We use Hootsuite and Sprout Social along with HubSpot's Social Inbox and they are all great and each of them have apps for your smart phone. Facebook Pages is the only native app that we use via smart phones because we need to monitor up to 20 accounts at one time.
Once you have answered all of these questions then you can really start building your social media game plan. Knowing your customers and where to connect with them along with setting goals and creating efficiency is really the secret sauce to being effective with social media.
If you have been using social media for awhile and need a Social Media Tune Up then check our free ebook below to help you evaluate and improve your process.