Spring cleaning isn’t just for closets, and New Year’s resolutions aren’t just about numbers on a scale – the first few months of each year are as good a time as any to take a step back, catch up on the changes that have occurred in the ever-evolving world of social media, and re-assess your methods. Here’s how exactly to do that:
1. Decide what you want
As with any other part of your business’ operations, it’s hard to succeed if you don’t know exactly what you want to accomplish. If you’re keen to give your brand’s social media presence a little springtime face lift, start with listing clear goals and work backwards.
2. Identify which platforms meet your needs
The biggest waste of marketing energy comes from the misguided notion that every brand needs to be present on every social media platform. So completely untrue. That’s not to say that you should discount a presence on sites that don’t immediately seem to naturally fit your services and audience; finding creative ways to represent your company to fit different platforms can not only be a great exercise, it can result in the development of a more nuanced and well-developed brand. But definitely go with your gut – wherever you’re seeing the strongest engagement, that’s where you should focus the bulk of your attention. Go where your audience is.
3. Focus on crafting content and attracting followers
It’s not a matter of just doing one or the other. If you want a strong social media presence, you must be concerned with both creating content that caters to the preferences of the platform it’s being pushed on and the users who follow you, and you should always have your eye on ways to recruit more fans and followers. That might mean gearing your efforts towards creating viral content that will promote your page or account organically, or coming up with a strategic marketing plan that involves paid advertising – it really depends on what your company does and what kind of content makes sense. Do your research: Identify competitors in your industry that you feel are doing a more successful job on social media than you are, and observe what they’re doing. Don’t copy it – build on it. Do better.
4. Measure your progress
This – for some reason – is the most commonly skipped step by small businesses in the social media realm. You can be doing everything correctly in your outreach, but if you don’t have a system in place for tracking your progress and quantifying your success, you’ll always essentially be stuck shooting in the dark. There are a ton of tools to aid you in this – find the one that works for you and watch your social media efforts become endlessly more focused and effective.
5. Tell people what you want
Depending on which platform you’re on – Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Instagram – there could be any number of different ways for your followers to engage with your posts. Don’t be afraid to tell them what you would prefer for them to do. If you want a certain post to be circulated far and wide, literally tell your followers to share, retweet or repin it. If you’re looking for feedback, tell them to comment. Calls to action are your friend – especially as social media becomes more varied in its engagement options.
6. Be present and engage
More than anything, having your social media accounts manned by an actual human – whether that’s you or someone else in your company – will give you more substantial returns than just about anything else you can do. Increasingly, social media platforms are developing newer, better ways to figure out which accounts and pages are automated and which are more dynamic and human. Not to mention your followers can easily and intuitively detect when there’s a real person driving your company account – and it makes them way more likely to engage and share with you. Being present and interacting with users from your social media accounts will not only give you stronger algorithmic standing in the eyes of the Social Media Powers That Be, but it will make your brand more relatable and personable to your audience.