It’s amazing how many entrepreneurs, small businesses, and not-for-profit associations treat social media differently than other marketing channels. They believe that winging it works best because they feel it creates an easy-going environment, and if they post something controversial or offensive to a segment of their customer base, a few more postings should bury the matter. But there’s a better way to work with social media platforms.
Don’t treat it as an after-thought
Social media platforms are popular, whether you’re talking about Facebook or Twitter, Google+ or Tumblr, Instagram or any other platform that’s out there these days. Businesses who make use of social media platforms can’t afford to treat them as mainstream marketing’s ugly cousin. They are real marketing channels and deserve to be treated as such. So how do you go about treating social media the same way you treat your other marketing channels?
Have a plan
Just because you have a plan doesn’t mean you can’t add to it or remove something from it. It doesn’t mean you can’t supplement it either.
There are certain events throughout the year that are constant: nationally recognized holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, state or provincially recognized holidays such as Family Day and Remembrance Day (Canada) or Veterans’ Day (U.S.A.), and locally recognized holidays. Everyone acknowledges Valentine’s Day and April Fool’s Day even if they don’t take part in those celebrations.
Tie all your marketing channels together to form a cohesive marketing front that reaches out and catches the attention of your marketplace.
Draft and schedule updates
With a plan in place, drafting and scheduling updates as well as cross-linking the channels requires a lot of front-end effort with considerable back-end benefits. Create a spreadsheet for each marketing campaign where various marketing channels can be tracked to identify which channels are most effective. This will allow you to fine-tune your marketing efforts and streamline your marketing efforts. In other words, know where you’re investing your time and be aware of how it’s paying off for you. Refine your efforts. Repeat as necessary.
Budget time for human engagement
Human engagement is simply responding to social media replies and comments in a timely fashion. Social media platforms can be set up to send messages directly to users via email and most email programs can be set up to send messages to specific folders. A quick review of each folder on a daily basis will allow for human engagement without tying you up all day on one platform or another. The added bonus is that your customer and potential customer base sees that you value social media as more than just a marketing tool to hook them.
Be grateful and appreciative
Acknowledging people on social media doesn’t need to be long and involved. A daily thank you to new followers makes them feel welcome and appreciated. When they pass your business name along to others and tag you on that action, show your gratitude. You’ll be amazed at how far a sincere thank you goes.
Anything you do in business is only as effective as the effort you put into it. If you put in a half-hearted effort, don’t be surprised it the results are just as tepid. If you put in little to no effort, you’ll quickly learn that social media ignores you. And if you put in too much effort, you’ll create an imbalance in your marketing. A few well-thought out concept for your social media marketing plan, and you’ll find customers and potential customers reacting positively to what you and your business share on social media.