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You probably don’t need telling that social media is huge. It’s got so big that it’s everywhere. Not just confined to the computers at desks social media has got into just about everyone’s lives in some way. It’s right under our noses wherever you go whatever you do. It’s so portable it’s sitting happily on our phones and has a ringside seat of our daily lives.  So with so much choice it’s worth taking a bit of time to work out which social media platform you want to target before you dive in. It’s also a good idea if you’ve been plodding along for awhile to see what else is out there and which could work better for you.

 

First up it’s a good idea to work out which social media network will work best for you as you won’t have the time, energy or resources to master them all. Pick one or two and start there. You can always add more if you’re finding it a breeze. So you need to start with finding out where your target audience hangs out . You can simply ask your audience which social network they all prefer or do a bit of digging into stats if you already have some social media set up. There are some general guides, for example, more women use Facebook than men. If you want to read more of those sort of figures I have a post here that has more nerdy stats on social media . If you already have some social media presence and just want to work on what you already have, write down your stats so you can see where things are improving as you learn and implement ideas.

Have an idea of what you want to achieve with your social media. This helps to build a plan instead of posting every now and then and winging it. If you’re a bit unsure how often you should post or what you should be posting have a look around and see what others in your niche are doing. Look at what they are posting, how often and when as in a time of day they are posting. You are not looking to copy them as this is a real no-no.

Reply and be social. Just being on a social network and posting your own stuff isn’t going to cut it. Because social media is so successful in people’s pockets or in their lounges etc, customers will find it easier to ask you a question. This means they will want an answer. Social media accounts that are full of people being social by asking questions and getting replies etc attract more customers and give out a positive image. The style of the conversation should be consistent with your brand. If your business is very serious in nature this should carry through and would sound out of place if you hold constant jokes on your feed.

Under deliver on the sell but over deliver on being helpful. But isn’t the idea for businesses being on social media to sell to more customers? No. If you go in all guns blazing with the sell patter on every social media opportunity you won’t get more sales. If you go over and beyond on being helpful and genuinely caring about your customers, you will get the sales. Think ‘how can I help my reader’ instead of ‘how can I make money out of my reader’. Trust me thinking how you can help will win you more custom.

Before you click publish on a status, tweet or whatever…stop and think. Is what you’re about to send not just helpful but really helpful to your target audiences problems. Is it helping someone ? Is it something you would love to see in your feed. Is it not only good quality but top notch stellar quality. Is it eye catching. Spelled correctly? Links work? Picture engaging?

Be prepared to be in it for the long haul as social media success doesn’t happen overnight. It’s only a rare few who can announce they are on Facebook and suddenly get millions of Facebook fans. Gaining trust and building friendships on social media takes weeks, months or even dare I say its years.

When you have studied your options and decided which social media is right for your business and you are ready to take the plunge, be all in. Don’t have a half-hearted attempt which slowly dies off when you don’t see the return you thought you would get and then all your readers see on your social media account is tumbleweed. Plan it out. Get a calendar either paper or online and plan it out. Even better use something like Coschedule which is an online social media calendar and schedule and when used correctly is a real game changer.

Be prepared also for the time it takes. It can take up to 12-15 hours a week to plan, create and schedule content. Then there is the time it takes to engage with customers when you start to get results and also measuring results too.