Where has the time gone? We’re almost halfway through the all important TRANSFORM blogs, having already discussed how to think about your business social media needs, how to build relationships, and how to analyse the competition. So here we are, how to transform your business with social media, up to the letter ‘N’ in the ‘TRANSFORM’ system. This is quite an important one, too. Not that the others aren’t, of course, but we need to discuss what you need – a plan!
Here’s a reminder of TRANSFORM:
T = Think
R = Relationships
A = Analyse
N = Need A Plan
S = Set It Up
F = Fresh, Fun information
O = Organisation
R = Roll It Out
M = Measure and Review
But if you don’t have the time to spend on social media business development, read on to find out what should be done so that you can outsource it. Then simply call or email us to ask for some magical Mushroom Soufflé social media support!
N – what do you need? A plan! Some strategy! And knowing your goals!
You already know that when it comes to business you need a clear marketing strategy in place. Well, it’s the same for social media!
Now imagine trying to do your weekly food shop without a strategy … in other words, without knowing where the supermarket is. In this analogy, you’re not allowed to use your satnav or do online shopping! You’re driving around for ages, not daring to miss a turn, wondering where the nearest supermarket is. Eventually you find one, go in and realise you’ve left your shopping list at home. You struggle to find a trolley, then get shopping. You’re grabbing items randomly as you navigate each and every aisle, just in case seeing something will remind you of what you need. By the time you’re home, it has taken twice as long as normal and you’ve forgotten vital things.
This is what doing social media without a plan looks like! Chaotic, random, and likely to fail to capture and retain your customers.
How you want it to work…
You cruise to the nearest supermarket with your satnav, no traffic, and find a parking space close to the door. You have your shopping list and reusable bags. A trolley awaits close to the door and you swoosh effortlessly down the aisles finding everything you need. With no checkout queues, you’re back home in no time. Better still, your other half offers to put away the shopping while you have a cuppa. Bliss! Quick and easy! No stress! This is how your social media should run.
It just takes a bit of forethought creating a Plan for it all to go smoothly. Here’s how:
Create your social media calendar for the next six months. Much like writing your shopping list, write down some crucial things to use in your social media for your plan to flow smoothly, such as:
- which subjects you wish to talk about
- the titles of the blogs you are going to create
- the competitions you will run
- what seasonal hints and tips you can provide
- what events you can share
- What do you want to achieve with your social media activity?
You need goals to measure your social media success. So do you want to increase your community? Are you looking to generate interaction? Do you want to tap your community’s thoughts for market research? Are you promoting an event or raising awareness of a charity? Simply having increasing sales as a goal is not feasible on its own! How about receiving more customer reviews?
- What social media networks are you going to use?
Check where your target markets are hanging out. If they include mums on maternity leave, then they’re unlikely to spend much time on LinkedIn – Facebook is a better bet! Are you a visual based business, or do you sell products that can easily be photographed? If so, Instagram and Pinterest need serious consideration. But if you are in investments or insurance, LinkedIn would be a better option.
Choosing the right social media platforms for your business is essential. Don’t feel obliged to do them all. That would be like buying lots of different types of tea and biscuits, when actually you only ever drink English Breakfast Tea and eat Hob Nobs – wasteful, of your time!
- Do you understand the functionality of the social media networks you need? If not, how will you acquire this knowledge?
Knowing how your chosen networks function makes this a whole lot easier! For instance, do you know how to use hashtags to attract your Twitter customers? Understanding the full functionality means you can proactively build a great strategy. If you’re not sure, just ask us!
- Are you going to do all of it yourself?
Who in your team can help you? How can you break it down to delegate it? Do you need to outsource?
- Who do you need to attract and connect with? Who is your ideal customer?
As this is Basic Marketing 101 that we all should have done when first going into business, we’re certain we don’t need to help you here!
- How will you track and measure the success of your social media campaigns?
Tracking and measuring is vital to see what is working in order to do more of that. When you notice what is not working, ditch it! I recommend doing a monthly report to measure how it’s going against your specific goals.
- Methods for creating new content
This is important, and quite a weighty topic. So watch this space – I’ll be covering this in a future blog!
- What tools will you use to schedule in advance and make it more streamlined?
For time saving and optimum productivity, scheduling in advance is a no-brainer. I’m a massive HootSuite fan, but we use also use Edgar (a cute little octopus). Here’s a helpful article about the two.
I compare scheduling our social media activity to doing the weekly shop online – once you have your favourite products listed (much like having a library of content in Edgar), you can quickly click on what you want, select a delivery date, and Bob’s your uncle! The groceries are delivered to your door! Saves so much time. Except Edgar and HootSuite are even quicker than your local supermarket…
There are many tools out there that can make your social media more effective. Tweriod will tell you when your tweets get most exposure. Bit.ly and HootSuite will give you analytics on your activity. And WooBox adds tabs to your Facebook Business Page.
Every quarter it’s good practice to do the following two things:
- Plan for the next three months.
- Figure out what topics, themes and events you are going to use.
Every month, schedule a couple of days to do these essential activities:
- Check what research needs doing before creating the content for next month. Gather it all together, collate the facts, stats and photos, so that you have all the info you need at your fingertips ready to include.
- Get that content created. If you’re not doing it, brief the person who is, forward on the information you’ve researched and collated, and give deadlines! Awesome content needs to be planned in advance – more to come on that soon.
- Then schedule the content for the next month. Having content scheduled in advance, using the tools mentioned above, will be bliss. All that social media awareness happening while you get on with the day job!
Whether you do this manually yourself, use scheduling tools, or outsource, these are important points to consider:
- How often will you post to the various networks? Each platform is different; you can tweet numerous times a day because Twitter is very fast moving and perfect for repetition. But post too often on LinkedIn or Facebook and you are likely to annoy people. Find the happy medium that works for you and your audience.
- Do some days of the week work better than others?
- At what times of day will you post? This will depend on who you are trying to reach. If your customers are parents, then how do they work round their children? If you are only interested in businesses in the UK, then GMT work hours could be for you. If you target those who are working shifts, then what hours do they work?
- Get into the habit of spending a small amount of time every day saying “Hi!” to new followers, thanking people for sharing your posts, finding interesting things to share with your community, and making conversation. People feel valued and recognised when you respond to them, making them more likely to become loyal to your brand. 15 minutes is all you need!
There’s a lot here to help you create the perfect social media plan for your business. Do refer to your research that you did based on the information provided in our Analyse post as you create this plan. But that’s not all! Check in next time to learn how to set up your accounts.
My next TRANSFORM blog, Part 5, will focus on Set It Up – actually creating your social media accounts with some tips on how to use them. But if you can’t wait for that and need to get your social media marketing working right now, please drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 07958 463689. Mushroom Soufflé will be delighted to show you how magical social media can be – used consistently and concisely, it really can transform your business!