Social media can be exciting and confusing for new businesses. There is this tremendous opportunity to connect with people and increase your customer base, but the sheer number of social media outlets, each with their own quirks, can be overwhelming.
Here are some of the most common challenges that new businesses face when it comes to social media, along with our suggestions on how to tackle them.
Choosing your social networks
While being active on social media can be beneficial to your business, it is important to keep in mind that this can be a time-consuming task. It’s neither practical nor advisable for a small business to be on all social media sites. Also, not all platforms are suited to all businesses. For example, Facebook works well for B2C businesses while Pinterest and Instagram are more useful to industries that rely on imagery, such as photography.
Determining which social media sites are best for your business depends on what you are selling and the people you are targeting. Where does your target audience spend most of its time? That is where you need to be too. The most popular sites for business are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, so it’s best to start there.
Developing a social media management plan
How you create a social media management plan depends on the goals of your social media presence.
Generally speaking, your social efforts should:
- Spread brand awareness
- Engage with customers
- Promote content
- Track the performance of marketing efforts
- Generate leads
Your strategy should reflect your goals. A useful plan would be site-specific and should tell you:
- How often to post on your chosen sites
- What your posts will be about
- What time of day you will post
- How often to share your content
- Whether your posts will be a mix of images, articles, and videos
- The ratio of old to new content
It’s also helpful to appoint a dedicated person to manage you social media accounts. People expect continuous engagement on these sites as well as prompt responses to queries.
An efficient strategy will drastically cut down the time you spend on social networks and streamline your efforts to help you achieve your goals. Here is what a helpful day-to-day plan may look like:
- Start your day by checking all your accounts. This is important regardless of whether you are still building a following or if you already established your base. Time is of the essence on social media, and you do not want any comments (negative or not) to be left unaddressed for long.
- Check messages and acknowledge/respond to them.
- Thank new followers.
- Respond to comments made to your posts.
- Like favorable comments or tweets.
- Retweet comments that show your business in a positive light.
- Like posts of your followers/people you follow.
- Update your status/share content for the day.
- Monitor the Web for trending topics and relevant keywords.
- Participate in industry-related discussions.
- Analyze your performance with the help of an analytics tool.
Increasing your followers
We have dedicated an entire post to discussing how startups can acquire followers on social media, so be sure to check it out.
Building your following will be site-specific, and tied to your business goals. Acquiring follows on Twitter, for example, is vastly different from gaining followers on Facebook and Pinterest.
It’s important to remain active on all social platforms that you choose to promote your business. Be sure to keep your profile and contact information up to date, post regularly, share great content and start conversations with your followers. The principles of engagement essentially remain the same though the protocol varies from site to site.
Analyzing performance on social media
How do you know if you are going in the right direction with your social media management? Social media metrics can be confusing if you do not have the right tools. Thankfully, this is a long list of applications that help decode the performance of your social media strategy. Here are a few that can help you.
You can manage all your social networks with the help of this one tool. You can schedule messages to be published in the future, analyze your social media efforts, and monitor the conversation surrounding your business.
This helps you get all your social media messages in one place so that you do not have to go to different sites to access them. As a result you save time and do not miss any messages/comments. It also helps you generate leads and start quizzes and contests on Facebook.
Similar to the programs above, you can schedule messages and access all your social network-related updates from a central inbox to save time and energy. You can also create content calendars to share with your team. You can further track keywords and marketing campaigns, and also source sales leads with Sprout Social.
These are only a few and there are many more in the market. All tools offer free trials so it would be worth the time to experiment to find an application that is perfect for your business. The information gleaned from these will refine your social media strategy and better direct your overall efforts.
Anyone who owns a website must set up Google Analytics to better understand what brings visitors to their site and what keeps them engaged. Ultimately, this is also the goal of social media – to direct traffic to your website.
Over to you
What specific challenges are you facing when it comes to social media, and how have you been dealing with them? Leave a comment and let us know!