Here are some tactics to make social media "less scary".
By Liz Lemarchand, MediaDev
I recently posted an article about Inbound vs Outbound Marketing where I discussed the benefits of combining tactics when designing a holistic marketing and communication strategy. But some of our clients (and potential clients) are worried that if they start implementing social media management, it’s something they’ll never be able to stop; the worry is that it will take time and resources to continually “feed the beast,” and that they’ll run out of things to say.
It’s true that social media management needs to be well thought out and planned. And you can’t take a year between postings if you want to create a buzz around your brand. However, there are some tactics to help make social media less scary.
Here are a few:
Delegate social media management to an expert
We don’t hesitate to go to a doctor when we’re sick, or take our car to a mechanic when it breaks down. So why do people hesitate to let marketing experts handle social media? Probably because the nature of social media is that it’s accessible to everyone, so many think you don’t need to be an expert to make relevant posts.
What few realize is that social media is a very important communications vector that requires strong public relations skills to diplomatically handle criticism, potential complaints or other comments that could otherwise pose a threat to the image of your brand. In the social media context, you need dedicated people that can react quickly, and who can also proactively get your key marketing messages across in creative and innovative ways.
Planning is everything — Conduct a thorough audit before you start
In order to know what online channels need to be tapped into, it’s a good idea to take stock of where you need to be present, what content you already have, and what needs to be created. Understanding where your main competitors are will also help you plan, and could help you develop your strategy to win back market share.
Follow blogs and forums, join industry groups, and get to know them to ensure that they’re the right “place to be” before you start actively participating.
Create a content calendar with achievable goals
Don’t be overambitious when you’re starting out with social media. Giving yourself a goal of posting something every hour will lead you straight to a burn-out. Going from nothing to overload is not needed; starting out slow and building overtime is a more manageable way to handle getting your feet wet with social media management.
The first step is to create a content calendar overviewing where you want to be, and what content you want to promote where.
Remember that being sales-subtle is key
When starting out with social media management, it’s easy to get carried away. You love your brand, and you want other people to love it too. But the idea of social media management is to create awareness for your products in relevant channels, and promote trust for your brand. This won’t happen if you get too sales-pushy with your messaging.
Recycle content with a twist
No-one likes to see a resurgence of archived posts over and over again. The challenge is to take the content you have and spin it in a way that it seems new. Informing yourself on what your competitors are doing, as well as being present in groups or industry forums can help inspire ideas to keep your content fresh.
Commenting and opening up discussions on other people’s content (agreeing or disagreeing with news articles, blogs, product reviews or opinion pages etc) can also bring attention to your own social media pages.
Don’t be afraid to learn as you go
Little by little, step by step, social media management will become easier over time as you get used to the norms, and “the do’s and the don’ts.” Watching what other people do, imitating what you like, and avoiding what you don’t, is a great way to get started.
Remember that there’s no rush and there’s no quick way to establish lasting trust for your brand.