Social media has opened up a huge avenue for startups and small businesses to reach their target audiences. It’s not that large companies can’t reach them via social media. But they already have the budget and means to reach them via traditional advertising methods. So in essence social media has leveled the playing field to a certain extent.
But most startup and small businesses struggle to make the best use of social media channels available to them. This article will focus on how effective social media management can help you reach the right audience with little effort.
Identify the most suitable social media channel
The first mistake done by most small businesses is to jump right in and start creating profiles in every known social media site. This means creating an account for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and the lot. Then they try to maintain all of them and wonder why they feel overwhelmed.
First spend some time to identify the most effective channels. A good question to ask yourself is “What are the social media sites used by my customers ?“.
Sometime the answer is clear. For example if you’re a location based business, marking it in Google maps and creating a Google+ page is a must. If you’re selling custom made jewelry then Pinterest seems like sensible choice with almost 75% women users.
But sometimes the answer is not clear cut. The safe option might be to go for Facebook and Twitter because of their huge user base. Keep in mind that these huge user bases attract other companies to these social networks, including your competitors. This is one of the main reasons why organic reach of Facebook has declined over the years.
Make sure to do some research on the demographics of each social network. For example if you’re in Europe Pinterest might be a poor choice since the adaptation is about 8%.
Start with 2-3 social networks and monitor the results. Social media is about engagement so it takes time to see some traction. If you’re not seeing any results in 6 months then it might be time to try out another social network.
Use tools to save your time
As I mentioned before even managing 2-3 social media channels can be overwhelming for a small business. Especially if it’s done by the owner who has other responsibilities. Fortunately there are tools to simplify management and automate some tasks as well.
There are hundreds of social media management tools, with each having their pros and cons. Some allow you to manage only one social network while others allow you to manage multiple social networks.
Most support Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and to some extent Google+ since they are the most popular ones. If you’re using another social network then you might have to reply on dashboards provided by the service itself.
If you’re looking to simply manage the social network and schedule updates from time to time then HootSuite is a good option. The free plan supports 3 social media profiles and good for personal use. There are paid options if you want to scale further by adding team members, more social profiles etc.
But if you want to advance to the next level and do social selling then Oktopost is a popular choice. If you’re data driven decision maker then Oktopost is a perfect fit for you. The platform allows you to schedule content as campaigns and provides you with all the tools to measure the performance and impact of your campaigns.
Another big benefit of Oktopost is it provides tools to track conversions. Most social media tools only allow you track engagement metrics like clicks, retweets, shares etc,whereas Oktopost is a social media platform designed specifically for B2B marketing. Therefore, if you’re using social media to sell stuff this is definitely a worthy investment.
Set up processes to increase productivity
As I’ve mentioned a few times before social media is about engagement. You can’t post 10 updates in an hour and forget about it for a week. You need to setup processes so you’ll know exactly what you want to do and how much time it will take to do those things.
Content curation is a big part of any social media strategy. So you need to set aside few minutes a day to find great content and schedule them. Most social media management tools provide you browser extensions to organize interesting content you find when browsing. Make use of them to queue interesting content for your channels.
For your own content you might want a more comprehensive process. For example you might want to submit to other social bookmarking sites other than the ones you manage. You can create a mind map or use a flowchart to simplify that process.
Then you need a clear method to find followers and fans. Well curated content will get you some fans. But to significantly grow your following you need to aggressively pursue followers. Social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn allow paid advertising. Depending on your location this might be the cheapest option.
If you’re using Twitter then you can start by following relevant people. Stick to a comfortable number, like 10 per day and expand from there.
It is important that you have some mechanism to measure the time spend on these activities so you’ll know which strategy is more effective. As the saying goes, “a goal without a plan is just a dream“.
Got more social media management tips ?
This is by no means a comprehensive list of actions that you can take to effectively manage social media campaigns. There can be hundreds of more tips specific to each social channel as well. So feel free to chip in with your social media management tip and you just might get features in the article 🙂 .