People still ask me and I still love to have this conversation, although the method behind the social media madness has changed over the years, my suggestions, from years as a PR professional and as a consultant that has managed brands for over 100 clients, are generally the same.
Have a social media strategy.
Don’t just jump in and splash around like a newbie, even if you are a newbie. But also, do not be afraid to make mistakes. Take the time to build a strategy. It does not need to be complicated, but you need to spend the time. You need to ask a lot of WHY questions and probably some HOW questions. Sit down and write out a plan – this is crucial. Those large blank pages are telling you something. If you cannot define it in words, it will not come to life in your business. Perhaps you should start with a PR plan and see where your social media fits within all of your communications. Decide if you are targeting media or customers – or both.
Outsource it or learn it.
You need to understand the platforms, know when to vary your content, and how to create a voice that is appropriate for each particular platform. LinkedIn varies greatly from SnapChat. A one-size-fits-all approach will limit engagement and results. I need to say this again because I still see lots of bad examples of social media via intern gone wrong. You need to do yourself or hire a professional. Yes, a marketing intern may do a great job, but vet them like an employee on other core competencies, do not just pick someone young. Hire a consultant and let someone who has the expertise and natural inclination do it. Just like you probably are not doing your own taxes, remember outsourcing can be a valuable time saver.
Use an editorial or topic calendar.
It’s never comfortable to sit, staring at a laptop, wondering what to post. Find topics that are relevant and plan when you are going to post. Using a dashboard like Hootsuite is helpful, but there should be some organic posts as well. For example, you can pre-plan many posts leading up to a national trade show, but you are going to want to real-time photos of employees, product demos and customers at the show. So the strategy needs to be well-planned, but flexible. Don’t hire your young niece because she is always on Facebook. A social media consumer, which anyone under 25 is, does not make a business communicator (see above.)
Lastly, and so many people forget this: enjoy it! If you hate social media, then don’t force yourself to do it. We are in a relationship economy. Show a bit of personality and be authentic. If you are struggling to ‘get’ social media it will come through. If you do not love it then there are other ways to promote your business.
I would love to chat more. Message me with any questions. ~ Jules