Social media is hard to ignore, especially if you run a business. But with so many different platforms and options, it can be difficult to decipher where your time and money are best spent. Experts on the subject CEO and Co-Founder of Diaz & Cooper Advertising Omi Diaz-Cooper, Chief Marketing Officer at Perry Ellis International Lisa Kaufman, and EVP and Partner at RBB Communications Tina Elmowitz weigh in to help you make sense of it all.
1. Choose Your Channels Wisely
There are now far too many social media channels to be able to effectively master them all, but the good news is that you don’t need to be on every single one to get your voice and brand out there. Choose one or two channels to focus on—you can always add more as you see fit or as your company grows.
Lisa Kaufman warns against trying to keep too many irons in the fire, so to speak. “You don’t want to have a channel where you only half-do it. Pick one channel and give it 100%. Don’t do several halfway, because that’s your reputation you’re putting out there and your audience is going to see.”
2. Understand Your Core Customer
One of the first steps to creating a successful social media strategy is to paint a picture for yourself of who your core customer really is. “Draw yourself an imaginary persona for that person,” Omi Diaz-Cooper suggests. “Are they male or female? What age range? What industry? Then look at different social media channels and figure out which one is best for you. Start with one.”
In the same vein, you want to have a good understanding of your brand personality. “People like to do business with people they like,” says Tina Elmowitz. “You have the opportunity, with the tone and content you share, to showcase the type of company you are.”
3. Use the Right Tools
Managing your own social media pages, especially for small businesses, can take a lot of time if you don’t have the money to hire a third-party to manage them for you. Take advantage of tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Google Analytics, and Google’s free online training courses to help you plan, schedule and analyze your posts.
Omi also suggests making a calendar for yourself every month. “Pre-research topics in advance to see what’s trending,” she says. “Do no more than four posts per week on Facebook, and make sure that for every one that is about you and your company, have at least four that are informal, valuable and not about sales.”
4. Develop Posting Guidelines
When you’re first starting out, sit down and get a few posting guidelines on paper. That way, when employees or others are posting on your company’s behalf, there are tangible guidelines in place.
Omi shares this example: We’re here to share valuable information and don’t allow spam posts, adult content, or bad language.
“Really reinforce brand guidelines when employees are posting or speaking on behalf of the company,” Omi says. “All employees should be given a copy of the guidelines and should sign off on them.”
5. Get on Board with Video Content
Social media is now trending towards video content over still images. “Video is the next wave,” Lisa says. “Everyone loves video. But remember that most people are looking at videos with no sound on. Have subtitles so you don’t need to have the sound on to understand what’s going on. Gifs and motion animation are also good choices.”
6. Set Aside a Budget
“There’s no free social media anymore,” Lisa says. Set aside a budget, however small, for things like post boosts and bringing influencers on board.
“Influencers can help spread your word faster to more people,” Tina explains. “Have some budget set aside for that, as 90% of them want to be paid. Just make sure the influencers you choose match who your brand is.”
If you don’t have a very large budget to spend on influencers, consider seeking out a “microinfluencer” to target a very specific niche. “Sometimes you can have influencers who only reach 4,000 people for $2,000, but those people are really interested in you and your brand,” says Tina.
No matter the size of your company, having a social media presence is a must. Start with one channel, take advantage of free tools, and cater to your core audience.
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