Are you one of the many, many business owners who’s been lured by the new, shiny promise of opportunity that those who rave about social media have dangled in front of you? And have you too jumped in and created Twitter, Facebook and maybe LinkedIn accounts without really thinking about it?
And are you now finding that maybe you aren’t seeing the results or success that you were led to believe would happen almost overnight?
Well, sorry to break it to you, but social media is very rarely a silver bullet and it’s not to do with instant sales (although, having said that, I did just generate at least £2,000’s worth of business for one client using only 3 tweets!).
To get the best out of social media (and it can offer a LOT) you need to get comfortable, very quickly, with 2 concepts:
- It’s about communication, not selling, or even marketing.
- Like anything else in business, what you get out relates directly to what you put in.
To take point 2 a little further, you very rarely get anywhere in business if you haven’t properly planned for it … and social media is no exception.
You (I) could easily fill the best part of a book talking about how to put together a social media plan and, in fact, if you visit my website at www.bramblebuzz.co.uk, you can download my free, in-depth guide to doing exactly that.
However, to get you started thinking in a way that will help you to achieve more – here are the elements of creating a social media plan in a nutshell.
What do you want to get out of your social media acitivity? It’s not all about marketing, it’s about communication, so social media naturally lends itself to expanding your network, even if it’s just among local business owners. Used in the right way, social platforms can also:
- help position you as an expert or the ‘go-to’ solution,
- help you provide amazing customer service,
- help you find JV or strategic partners, and
- help you carry out market and competitor research, to name but a few.
The first part of your planning will be to decide which are the top 3 priorities for you.
Now you’ve identified what you want to achieve, you can work out who you need to find and connect with in order to make these things happen. Is it new leads, other business owners, bloggers or journalists, or customers?
Think a little more deeply about what you know about them – their age, family, where they live, interests, etc. Once you know or have deduced information about the human behind the social media presence, you’ll be well-placed to know how to get their interest.
Once you have a picture of the people you want to connect with, you will also have a good indicator as to what social media networks they are likely to use. If you know any examples of the type of people you want to connect with, check out your best-guesses by searching for their presence on say Twiiter, Facebook and LinkedIn. While you’re there, you can also research what stuff they seem to like reading, sharing, and re-tweeting. Really get under their skin as much as you can.
Now comes the exciting bit – planning what stuff you can post on which networks to attract the right kind of people to you and to start the conversation. You now have a good idea of what interests them, what makes them get out of bed in the morning, what challenges they have and how you can potentially help with those.
Think about what content you’ve got in terms of blogs, copy on your website and other marketing matrials, vidoes, testimonials, behind the scenes, event and professional photos … the works. Plan what to post, how to phrase things and what additional content you might need. Go searching for good sources of this. As a rule of thumb, you can probably post about 20% stuff about your business : 80% other stuff. So be outward- looking in your approach.
- Do a bit of research as to what times your potential audience is on Twitter and Facebook. If you post a tweet at 4am don’t be surprised if you get little response from this country!
- Rinse and repeat.
- Use monitoring tools such as Follerwonk, Facebook Insights, TwentyFeet and Hootsuite analytics in conjunction with offline tools such as tracking phone number to establish how well you have met your goals. Be prepared to tweak your approach to get more of the results you want … and carry on.
And there you have it – the basics of a well-thought-out social media plan in a nutshell! Hope it’s helpful – please raise any queries or additional points in the comments below.
How could you improve and develop your social media plan for 2013? Take some time to consider it today.