Social media can be a handful. Especially if you’re running a start-up and the marketing, social media and other duties are being handled by me, myself and I. While I do believe that social media is a valuable asset that should be invested in, we all have to start somewhere.
You don’t need mega bucks to be successful on social really, you don’t. Some of the best campaigns are those that have spent sparsely but wisely. If this is your current situation, what you need is a plan.
So for all of those who have just started to build their empire, this one is for you.
Have a Strategy in Place
Creating a strategy can be the first step to saving a serious amount of time and money. You must know what you want to gain and accomplish from your social media endeavours. This will allow you to hone in on the resources that you do have and use them to your advantage. For example, if you want to get more engagement from your posts, decide what social channels you need to be on to reach the right demographic, the types of content that will engage them & how their engagement will be valuable.
Imagine that you’re hosting an event and want to spread the word. You know that the most engaged members of your community are on Twitter. Your aim is for as many people as possible to share the message (so that it has a greater reach) and people sign up via Twitter.
If you don’t have a lot of time, planning will also be key so that none goes to waste. Keeping up with several social channels will be a challenge but it is possible! Having a clear set of goals means that you will be able to prioritize efficiently. It also pays to remember that you don’t have to be everywhere. You just need to be on the networks that matter most. Being in the right places will indefinitely save you time and allows you to channel your energy into something productive. If you’re a visual brand, for example, you may want to be active on Pinterest, Instagram or Tumblr. It’s far better to handle three channels exceptionally well, than to be mediocre across six.
Having trouble determining what social networks your demographic is likely to be using? Check out this study by Sprout Social. Hopefully this will provide you with all of the information that you need!
Have a set of tools & processes
It’s so easy to just fall into the trap of using social media when you have a moment. No routine. No plan. Just post as you go along.
Let’s change that.
The easiest way to do this is to have a schedule & set of tools in place. You’re trying to create habits that are ingrained into your daily routine. Social media will no longer be an afterthought! Here are some tools that can help you do this.
Scheduling – Buffer
Posting content and streamlining you social presence should be a priority. Buffer can help you to do just that! With the individual plan, you can connect to up to one profile per network (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ Pages). Additional bonus – Buffer has just included a neat tool that creates a schedule for you based on the level of engagement that past posts have received. Meaning that you can now post content at the best times, when it will be seen by your audience.
Analytics – SumAll
Keeping track of your activity is the first step to ensuring that social media is helping you to achieve wider business goals. Once you have connected SumAll to your accounts, you will receive a daily and weekly progress report. Use this to measure your success and address any weaknesses.
Reputation Management – Mention
Listening to your community will enable you to build a credible reputation. By using Mention you will be alerted whenever your brand, company, or person is ‘mentioned’ online giving you the perfect opportunity to follow-up with those who are already talking about you.
Graphics – Canva
As we can process visuals x6000 faster than text, it’s no wonder that visual content can gain up to 94% more views online. That being said, you’ll need to have a go-to place to create your own. Canva is for everyone from the newbie to experienced designer. From their network specific templates to the selection of stock images and fonts, you have everything you need to create engaging visuals in one place for free.
User generated content
Creating your own content takes time – especially if you want to focus on producing quality above quantity. Doing that on top of managing several social channels might feel a bit overwhelming. If you combine every blog post, tweet and Facebook update, you may have written a couple of novels in six months!
Why not alleviate some of this stress by collecting and show casing user-generated content? Running a hashtag campaign can really get your online community involved and engaged with any relevant topic. This generates a degree of publicity for your brand while allowing you to gather some great content that your audience has shared. It really is a win/win situation. Show your community the love they deserve while having the time to focus on creating insightful quality content of your own. Try using either Tagboard or Storify to collect and present the content from your community.
Spread the Word
The best way to build a following is to start from within. Yes, you can spend money on paid ads and get some likes, follows and shares. But that isn’t necessarily the way to build a long-lasting and loyal customer base. The first people you should turn to are your employees. It really doesn’t matter how big or small a team is. Each and every one of you has the potential to be a brand advocate and amplify the company’s social media presence.
Building your own online community from the group up will take some time. A great way to begin connecting with people (from potential collaborators to customers) is to join existing communities. Quora is a great place to start as you can provide answers to questions in your industry. You can even answer any questions that have been asked about your own products or brand!
Also remember to update your current customers of any additional social profiles. If you’ve just created an Instagram page, for example, let them know in your next newsletter. Keep everyone as up-to-date as possible so that your current fans can find you.
Now it’s over to you. No matter the size of your budget or team, you can use social media effectively to your advantage. Utilize your strengths and work with what you have. If you can generate some success without a budget then imagine the possibilities when you do have a bigger budget!