All aboard the social media revolution

WORTH LEARNING: It takes more than a couple of hours to learn how to make social media work for your business.
WORTH LEARNING: It takes more than a couple of hours to learn how to make social media work for your business. Contributed

LATELY we have been getting a few inquiries from people who have been realising that social media is here to stay, and how far behind the eight ball they really are.

They are then requesting a consult with us, in the hope that inside a couple of hours we can give them a crash course in all the social networks so that they will be on top of it and ready to go.

I'm sorry to shatter any illusions here, but I need to let you know that a two-hour sit-down is not going to make you a master in these extensive and constantly growing social networks. What you can achieve inside a couple of hours however, with the help of an experienced social media specialist, is the start of a social media strategy. Here are five key steps our specialist will lead you through.

Once you are clear on these steps we can create the social networks that are likely to assist you most.

Step 1 - Business objectives

First thing's first - you need to consider what you are trying to achieve with your social media. To help you narrow it down, for most businesses it is one of the following:

  • A: Information - You are trying to create and provide content to others to position yourself as an obvious expert and share the specialist knowledge you may have;
  • B: Leads - You are trying to get people into your sales funnel so you can sell to them. This is likely to be direction back to your website or blog, but it could be a web form which has been integrated direct on your Facebook page too. You may look to entice them with an eBook, free item or other incentive i.e. you'll ask them to give you their details and you'll reward them with something for doing so;
  • C: Sales - You are gunning for cold hard cash (and fair enough too).

Step 2 - Target market

Once you have defined your business objectives in relation to social media, you need to define who your target market is.

Narrowing it down to your ideal client is a pretty important piece of the marketing puzzle.

Consider the ideal target market's age, gender, geographic location, educational level, marital status, interests i.e. what they like to do in their leisure time and what are their day to day problems.

Step 3 - Look and feel

If you know what you're trying to do and who you're trying to connect with, you should be starting to have an idea of the look and feel or branding that will connect with them.

Will you use the existing branding for your company and keep a consistent flow, or is the project at hand for a sub brand or specific campaign and therefore does it need its own treatment? Do you have .ai and .eps versions of your logo or can you get them? Or will you need a professional graphic designer who understands social media to develop social media graphics in line with recommended dimensions and in line with the rules of the social media network in question (yes, there are rules and not abiding them can see your account shut down.)

Step 4 - Who will get it started, and who will manage it?

An important part of considering getting started in social media is who will look after it? What skills do they have? Will they require training?

Don't make the mistake of hiring someone as this may be unnecessary, or costly to the business.

Step 5 - Monitoring and measuring

Finally, when getting started with social media, it's a good idea to put in place some methods to monitor and manage what is being said, which may also require the establishment of some social media tools and perhaps some training in them too.

Additionally it's important to establish how you will measure how effective your social media activities are and whether you will use any tools such as Google Analytics, Facebook Insights or third party tools (there are many) to measure your social media activities' effectiveness.

Topics:  facebook opinion small business social media twitter

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