Congratulations! You’ve decided to start using social media for your business. Mark Zuckerberg will give you a high five! Oprah loves you! Ashton Kutcher thinks you’re rad! Bloggers will lie to you about celebrities!
Believe it or not, a lot of our clients come to us with existing social media accounts. The problem is they’re in disarray, which is nicer than saying complete anarchy. So here I’m going to outline the 6 steps to keeping your social media accounts in order.
Step 1: register all of them. I know this sounds obvious, but you have to create the accounts before you can use them. But this extends beyond that, you need to be a bit territorial like the noble sugar beet root aphid (also known as Pemphigus beta, it’s my personal favorite Hemiptera). It’s important for you to stake out a claim early. This means signing up for Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and any other flavor of the month sites that pop up. Even if some of them aren’t important right now, it’s better to be safe than be sorry.
Sub step 1: Don’t sign up for a Facebook as a personal account. It causes lots of problems. It might be tempting to create an account with the first name being “your” and the last name being “business”. Don’t do this. It means that in order for someone to see Facebook updates from your company they have to send you a friend request, and then you have to approve it. It also makes promoting your account harder. You can convert a personal account to a business account, but it’s a pain and you can lose a lot of content. Finally, Facebook caps the number of friends that you have at 5000, while that seems like a lot, you’d be surprised how often they get filled up.
Step 2: Collate: Now you have a pile of social media accounts, let’s get them all in order. Sign up for a social media management program like HootSuite and get your accounts linked up. Luckily, this is really easy thanks to the magic of web API’s. For the most part you’ll just have to set these accounts up once.
Step 3: Put someone in charge. Social media works best when it’s working with one voice. That means the fewer cooks in the kitchen, the tastier your social stew.
Step 4: Quality control. Use spell check. Don’t use swear words (I can’t believe how often I see businesses break this rule). Read your messages through before you send them, and check if their are any grammar errors (extra credit points if you caught my irony).
Step 5: Engage. Talk to people but use your common sense. If someone writes something ugly on your page think before you speak. Is it just some nasty spam? Then delete it. But if it’s a complaint, pause before you send a reply. It’s a good idea to apologize and ask to speak with the grumpy customer on a separate forum. Never get into an argument with anyone on social media. Believe me, I know how difficult it can be, but cooler heads will prevail.
Step 6: Pay attention. Hopefully you’re going to be posting a lot of good stuff. Some of it will do well, you’ll get a lot of comments and feedback, but the truth is most of it won’t get noticed. Cheer up. It’s ok. These things take time. First start looking at your successful posts and observe what seems to work, and try to duplicate that magic. Remember that this is an art and not a science.
If you follow these steps your social media campaign should kick off strong. Remember to always think about your target audience and ask yourself “would I want to read this if I was my customer?” before you post.