Setting up and managing social media channels for SMBs
If you’re not a marketing guru and haven’t really got the first idea how to set up and manage a new social media marketing campaign for your business, then the process can seem a little daunting.
However, it’s really not and with the help of your staff and some great content, you will soon be up and running. It’s important to do it properly though – too many businesses set themselves up on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest and then go on to ‘forget’ to use them, making the objective damaging to the business, rather than complementary.
Before you plunge into the world of social networking, it’s important to plan effectively. Think about which platform is best suited to your company and whether you need to use them all; consider what content you will be using on the social media sites you choose and what value it has to potential customers.
Facebook is a great platform for eTailers, for example, as you can drive traffic to your site with special offers and blog posts that are relevant to your business. This also works with Twitter and Pinterest but isn’t much use for LinkedIn, which is more of a B2B platform and most useful for networking with others in the same industry as you, or those who will value your products or services professionally.
Once you have the initial planning in place remember that in order to gain the most from social media channels, branding is your best friend. Whilst many people groan and fail to accept that they need a ‘brand’ as such, this is as much (if not more) of your ‘shop window’ as your website or premises are.
As such, choose a great Timeline cover, personalise your Twitter background and use company colours and logos throughout. This will ensure that you come across as a professional outfit that customers will want to deal with – you’re now ready for the next phase …
Everything’s in place, you have a shiny new Facebook page, your Twitter account is connected so that all your posts are tweeted automatically and you’ve invited as many people as you can to give it a kick-start. However, days later and you feel downhearted as, no matter how many friendly questions you post, nobody answers and worse, no new likes.
This is normal, this is really the ‘testing phase’ where you can begin to introduce content and work out what people who like your page want to see. It’s important that you post content often, but not too often – about 3-4 blog posts per day is the maximum people will want to see before they become annoyed and dislike you for filling their news feed.
This is the perfect time to experiment and see how people engage with the posts that you put up.
What kind of content will my customers engage with?
Obviously this depends on the type of business you have, but just as people like things or comment on Facebook in general, so they will on your content if it’s what they want to see. Using industry trends is always a good way of getting people to engage with your page, so keep your customers up-to-date on what is happening within your industry.
If you’re a retailer, look at ways you can interest lots of customers with one product or post – for example, the environment is a hugely popular topic right now and looks set to continue. As such, look at why your company is more environmentally friendly than the competition and write a blog on it, include any certifications or awards, promote your reasons and so forth.
Don’t talk too much about your specific product or service though, let your content lead people to it by being informative, something that they want to read. So if you sell wallpaper or paints, write a ‘how to’ blog or some home decorating tips – this will drive traffic to your blog and therefore your site, which often converts to sales. On Pinterest you can post pictures of wonderful interiors, alongside a link to your ‘how to’ blog – everything helps.
How long will this all take?
It certainly won’t happen overnight, a good social media campaign takes daily commitment and quality content, all which is fed in a loop from your website (don’t forget to include social sharing buttons), through Twitter and if appropriate, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
We’ve mentioned before that it’s imperative to ensure that you realise that social media is a two-way conversation, so monitor it closely for customer questions and so forth to help you build a reputation. Just like the development of a website, a social media campaign takes time to propagate and build, with a lot of flexibility and fluidity built in as a bonus.
See the below infographic on the best times to post in the day and throughout the week.