If you don’t know the first thing about social media but think your business needs a social media presence then this article is for you. We are going to look at whether your business actually needs a Facebook page or Twitter account. If we determine you do we will point you in the right direction to get you started.
Do I really need to do the social media thing?
Here are a few questions to get you thinking and see where you land on the “need social media” spectrum.
Let’s start off with an easy question is your business B2C (for consumers) or B2B (for other businesses)?
For B2C businesses social media is a great way to grow awareness of your business, create a loyal fan base, and engage your customers in conversation. Social media helps your business seem transparent. Followers can check-in, make comments, and discuss topics with each other on your posts. One word of caution though, be prepared to police your accounts often to watch for negative comments and followers getting out of control. Don’t be afraid of the delete and ban options, within reason.
We go by a 3 strike rule here. If a social media user raises trouble once we delete the post and let it go. If it happens a second time we let them know they need to stop and delete the post. If it happens a third time their posts are deleted and they are banned from the page.
One word of caution: What I mean by “raising trouble” is causing arguments with users, posts that are meant to incite a user “riot,” and/or use of vulgar language. Granted, these are my personal guidelines when it comes to monitoring my social media pages. Feel free to set your own, but remember that not all negative comments about your business should be deleted. If you get negative feedback from a user reach out to them and see what you can do to change their mind about your business.
Overall, social media is a great and inexpensive promotions tool for B2C businesses.
B2B businesses are a little tougher. You may have to dig for some further research or even send out a survey to your current clients to see what their social media use is like before diving in.
If you work with businesses that are online a lot and use social media regularly you will be smart to promote some posts that pertain to them, especially customers in the design, web, or tech fields. Businesses that work with lots of entrepreneurs are also a good fit for social media since entrepreneurs constantly think of their business and can make direct connections with products or services that may help them build, grow, or sustain their business. For example, I found the project management service I use from an ad that showed up on my Facebook feed.
A good rule of thumb is when you are conducting your market and audience research to add in questions about social media use to ensure you are reaching potential customers with your content.
Does your business have physical location(s) or is it only online?
- Physical Location(s)
- Online Only
Social media users can check-in to your physical locations for their friends and followers to see. This is useful on all social media platforms. You should look into Facebook, Swarm, Foursquare, and Yelp. These platforms allow users to check in at your location and you can also entice them to use it by setting up discounts that can only be unlocked by checking in through the chosen application.
If your business is online only you can really push your products and services to a wider audience. Many online store offerings or websites offer seamless ability to promote your products or services through social media. You can also run special discounts for your social media followers with coupon codes or exclusive flash sales.
Do you sponsor any local events or athletic teams?
If you answered yes to this question look at how the event or team promotes itself. Does it use social media? If so, set up accounts on those platforms so the event can tag your business when they post. It’s a great way to drive traffic to your social media while building your community reputation and showing the good things your company supports.
Do you create your own content or is there content readily available for you to share?
- Create my own
- Available from other places to share
If you exclusively create your own content, do you create enough content to post up to three times per day on social media? There are multiple ways that you can spin the post to make it seem like different headlines (Article from the-matic.com: 24 Social Media Posts from One Blog Article), but if you have to rely on your own content you need to make sure you have enough time to create a high volume of content for regular posting.
If there is content already available that you can share you will have to set aside a few hours a week to scour the web for some content, but you should be able to do get to a point where you can schedule posts days in advance after only taking an hour or two to search for content.
Ideally you will have a combination of both exclusive content and shareable things from around the web. This is the best way to keep your page prolific without having to spend too much time finding or creating content.
Do you have a website? How often is it updated?
- Yes, often
- Yes, not often
- Yes, never
A dynamic website that has regular content changes is a great way to get content for your social media accounts. It also provides you a chance to put a call to action, such as “purchase now,” on your social media and drive traffic to your website.
Using social media for your business can be helpful if you have a website that is lower in the search engine rankings as your social media accounts will be at the top of the search.
If you do have a website but your content is stagnant using social media may give you some content to also put on your site. Using social media along with your website will build your online brand.
If you don’t have a website a Facebook page is a free and easy way to get the most important information out there about your business from how to contact you and business hours to sharing photos and notes about your products or services.
Do you currently use social media for personal use? Do you like it?
- Yes, Love it
- Yes, necessary evil
- Yes, hate it
If you answered “No” or “Yes, hate it” to this question then please DO NOT set up any social media accounts for your business. Social media is only as good as the user and the user has to want to do it. If you know that you really don’t want to explore social media then don’t.
If you answered “Yes, love it” why isn’t your business already on social media? Create your pages now and get connecting with your customers! Just remember that you need to share information relevant to your target customers. It may take some getting used to and learning what people respond to. Here’s a big hint – photos and videos are where it is at. You will also have to get into the habit of checking your business’s social media accounts regularly.
If you answered “Yes, necessary evil” try creating just one account for your business on the platform that is easiest for you to use, the lesser evil. Make it a part of your daily routine at work. Focusing on one account won’t make the social media leap seem overwhelming and allows you to continue to your exploration of social media. To start getting in the habit of using social media for business block off 15 minutes a day dedicated to posting or finding content to post and scheduling posts in advance. Once you make this part of your daily routine managing your social media will become as easy as checking your e-mail.
How did your answers stack up to the explanations? If a majority of the questions pushed you to think you need to be on social media get an account set up and start posting. Don’t forget to add your social media links to your website (if you have one), e-mail signature, letterhead, business cards, and marketing materials. If you think you are ready to take the social leap keep reading. If you aren’t ready or still aren’t sure let’s have a conversation to discuss your needs and concerns.
So you decided to take the leap here are some tips on managing your social media presence:
- Use the scheduling feature and/or service – To start getting used to scheduling posts just start doing it. If there are times that you have high engagement stick with those times.
- Dive into the analytics – Don’t be afraid to look at your analytics and keep an open mind about the results. All social media these days have analytics pulled for you that are easy to digest and understand. Some of my personal favorites to use are what types of posts get the most interaction and any that show when your page has the most users interact with it.
- Make it part of your daily work schedule – Start getting used to social media by dedicating 15 minutes per day to looking over and scheduling posts on your pages. As you get more comfortable increase the time you spend with social media. Never exceed more than one hour managing your social media unless you have an active campaign that needs constant monitoring.
- Be responsive – Don’t forget to check AND respond to the messages both public and private your page receives. The whole point of social media is to get you conversing with your customers. Facebook now tracks how quickly you respond to fans’ messages and if you respond quickly Facebook places a badge under your cover photo letting fans know your response time.
- Keep a 3 strike rule – 3 strikes and they are out…or in this case banned from your page. If a troll or customer starts posting disparaging remarks about your company first see if there is something that you can address for them. If they continue a second time tell them you are removing their post and will be watching if they make another post like that. If they do it a 3rd time they get the boot from your page. Is that clear?
- Go with your gut – When it comes to posts it’s not always clear if a post is good or not. My advice is go with your gut if you think it’s too risqué don’t post. Keep in mind your social media reflects directly on your company, post accordingly.
- Experiment with posts – Try different types of posts, different times, different days, different wording…just try new things and see how your audience responds. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
- Delete every negative comment about your business – Know when a post is just a negative review or an outright attack. All negative comments, as long as they are respectful, are allowed to stay on your page. If the tone is aggressive or the language is offensive see my remarks about the 3 strike rule above.
- Flood users’ timelines on Facebook – This is what scheduling is for. No one wants to see 10 posts from a page they follow before the photo of their new niece. No more than 5 posts a day and spread the posts out over the 24 hours. The only exception to this rule is if you are throwing or participating in an event, but still be conscious of the number of times you are posting. If you want to do a play-by-play head to Twitter and tell your Facebook fans to follow you there.
- Fall for “trolls” – Guess what…there are people out there who will do and say anything to start an Internet fight and your post may be targeted. Know when someone is trolling you, looking to pick a fight with you or your followers. If it happens get rid of the comment ASAP and stay alert. I know I have written this many times in this article, but do not be afraid to use the ban option when things get out of hand.
- Allow too many people to become an admin – Too many cooks in the kitchen is never a good thing. Maybe social media is new to you and your daughter/grandson/intern/token millennial/youngest person on staff is more savvy than you are at social media. Unless you also think that they have a clear understanding of the types of posts you want representing your company, do not add them as admin. Also the same goes for those people who don’t have a lot of time to focus on social media and have other people who can help…please only add one or two and let them know when they can post. If you are actively on the account no one else should need to be unless you are unable to.
- Randomly post – Social media is marketing, and posting willy-nilly about things with no plan in place is never a good idea. Sit down, make a list of topics you want to cover, grab a calendar, make an editorial calendar of social media post themes, and then schedule the posts you want. If you are a solopreneur, it is fine to share your life online but not all of your customers will respond to that and make sure you’re still putting forward a professional appearance.
- Let social media become your website – Social media is not a replacement for or something you use in lieu of a website. If your company needs an online presence on social media it also needs a website. It’s really that simple. Please don’t forget to show some love to your website.
- Let mistakes upset you – My grandmother always told me that the only people who never make mistakes are the people who aren’t doing anything, and I have to say she is right. You are going to mess up. You will have typos or grammatical errors. You will accidentally post twice or on the wrong account. If it needs to be deleted or edited do it…if it’s ok to let it go then LET IT GO!
If you are still struggling to decide whether you should jump into the social media world contact FOND for a free one hour consultation and we can figure it out together.