We all know that having a robust social media presence is crucial for running a successful business or nonprofit organization in the 21st century. Social media creates a direct line of communication between you and your customers. Social media is essential for advertising, it helps build a loyal community around your services, and it provides a channel for people to send feedback directly back to you. And, best of all, it’s free!
But we also know that social media can be difficult and time-consuming. The fast-changing nature of the internet can be difficult to keep up with. And it takes a lot of time and effort to write compelling copy and pick out the right images to put online. We all want to have successful social media, but how can we be sure that we’re doing it right? Here are 5 tips for getting the most out of your social media and doing it in the most efficient way possible.
1. Plan Ahead
The secret to a successful social media strategy is to plan out as much as you can ahead of time. Decide how often you want to post and generate ideas about what your posts can say. Whenever possible, write your copy and pick your images ahead of time, and build a calendar of exactly when you want to post. Then, schedule a large batch of posts all at one time. A good benchmark that many businesses use is to plan and schedule one month’s worth of posts at a time. It saves a lot of time to spend an hour scheduling twenty posts all at once rather than spending 10 minutes on twenty individual posts throughout the month.
Of course, sometimes social media involves reacting to things that you can’t predict. Who can forget Oreo’s “Dunking in the Dark” tweet during Super Bowl XLVII? But having a good plan actually enables you to have more flexibility for spontaneous posting. If you have all of your planned postings scheduled, you have more time, energy, and attention to focus on identifying and reacting to moments that will make for compelling spontaneous posts.
2. Develop Routines
Another time-saving strategy is to create routines for yourself that guide your social media use. Routines can help direct both the way you approach social media from one day to the next and how you schedule postings as part of a coherent, long-term strategy.
One of the important functions of social media is the way it documents the fast-changing culture of the internet. No doubt, your followers are watching and participating in trends, memes, topics, and digital practices that constantly wax and wane over social media. The most successful social media accounts know how to surf those trends, and your audience will notice and respond positively if your accounts seem to understand this complicated culture. But therein lies the problem: it’s complicated, and social media is a vast landscape that undergoes constant transformation. As a business owner, you probably have much better uses of your time than tracking what weird thing is happening today online.
Routines can help. Rather than trolling through social media aimlessly, utilize saved searches, lists, and influencers in your industry to quickly gauge the state of social media. If you develop a routine of spending ten minutes each day glancing through bellwether social media accounts and keeping tabs on the topics important your business, you can efficiently and surgically get a sense of the day’s culture, and react accordingly.
And, of course, routines are handy for the rote mechanics of social media. Routines help build muscle-memory so you can post standard material more quickly. Routines in your posting schedule can also help you decide on content more easily. If you have a routine of posting your restaurant’s menu on the first day of each month, then you don’t have to spend time or energy thinking of what you’re going to post for that day.
3. Engage with Your Audience
The internet—and social media especially—is the first communications technology in human history that enables one-to-many and one-to-one communication simultaneously. Using social media, you can reach a broad audience all at once, but you can also hear from individual customers and address their needs in an intimate and personalized way. While social media may feel like a very impersonal and anonymous platform, the best social media accounts succeed at engaging directly with their audience as much as possible.
Keep track of personal messages, comments, and replies that your accounts receives, and respond as much as you can. Of course, remember to always be polite, professional, and helpful. However, you probably shouldn’t engage with comments directed at your account that are vulgar or inappropriate, and you should definitely never respond in kind! But when people have questions, compliments, or complaints, be sure to acknowledge, engage, and follow up. You might win over a potential customer, win back a disgruntled one, or cement the loyalty of a satisfied one. As a bonus, much of this communication is public, so many others might see your helpful engagement and feel endeared.
You can also take one step further and proactively encourage engagement on your page. Encourage followers to share or ask for them to comment about how your post relates to them. Create contests that get people liking, sharing, and commenting on your content. And be sure to follow up when people engage with your page the way you want. At its best, social media isn’t just about content, it’s about community. When you make your page an involved member of the digital community, your social media page will be a success.
Once you’ve got a good strategy in place, it’s important to keep track of how well that strategy is paying off. You don’t want to spend all this time and thought on how to get the most out of your social media, only to get a lukewarm response from your followers. Make use of the analytics tools on your social media accounts to keep track of which posts succeed and which don’t. Track how many people are seeing your posts and how many people are interacting with them by clicking, liking, commenting, retweeting, etc. Then, adjust accordingly, by emulating your successful posts in your future plans.
And, set goals. Give yourself a target of how much reach you want in a week or how many likes or favorites you want an average post to earn. Tracking analytics is one thing, but tracking analytics against concrete, achievable goals is the best way to keep track of your social media success and motivate you into making important changes.
5. Ask for Help
Still not satisfied with the state of your social media? That’s ok! None of this is easy, and even the best time-saving strategies might not be enough for a busy business owner. Headline Marketing and Communications is proud to offer social media as one of the many specialties of our full-service firm. Take a look at our social media services page, send us an email, or give us a call at 814-946-7499 to learn more about what we can do to help build a robust and successful social media presence for your business or nonprofit organization!