I was recently tasked with completing a comprehensive Social Media SWOT for one of our new clients. Before going through the analysis of the various competitor social media venues, I knew I had to have consistent standards and measurement tools in place. I wanted to share my best practices for professional Social Media usage as a result of my analysis and experience:
- Before creating a social media strategy, determine which venues your customers and clients are using (if any). We recently completed research for one of our clients and found that their customers were only using LinkedIn, so we didn’t bother developing a strategy for Facebook or Twitter.
- If you’re going to move forward with enhancing your web presence, start with your main website. Ideally, your social media posts will drive traffic to your main site for more detailed information on your offerings.
- Remember, social media is NOT free. There is always a time commitment involved with whoever is managing the social media strategy. And time is money.
- Once you decide on a commitment, stick with it. If research has told you that your customers would like to see daily posts, schedule the time up-front so you don’t slip to once per week and fall short of customer expectations.
- Your overall social media strategy doesn’t mean anything unless it’s for a purpose. Be sure that all posts are written for a specific reason and remain in line with the company’s values and writing style:
- Most of your posts should be revenue-generating, including a clear call-to-action without sounding too ‘salesy’ (i.e. “Busy day at the shop! Stop in before 4 pm this afternoon and grab an Americano for only $2!”).
- Your remaining posts can be value-adding without direct revenue-generation, but always make sure you are consistent with the overall company values and ‘style’ (i.e. “Did you know that we only use fair-trade coffee beans? More info here: http://www.com”)
- If using multiple social media venues, keep them synchronized and efficient by writing a database of posts ahead of time and using tools like HootSuite.
- Consistently monitor all social media venues:
- On Twitter, make a habit of thanking new followers or users who re-tweet your content, at least once per week. Remember – some of these may be current or potential customers.
- On Facebook, keep an eye on anyone ‘tagging’ your organization in photos or locations, and be sure to report any that are inappropriate or incorrect
- Respond to any customer service comments promptly, while directing conversations off-line for resolution.
What are some of your best tips for social media management? Do you have any examples of social media gone wrong (or right)? Comment below!
-Michelle Clarke, Account Coordinator