Straightforward social media plans do not have to cost a lot of money. You can certainly spend a lot of money, but more expensive does not necessarily equate to more successful.
The largest component of any social media plan is time. Whether it’s your time, a team member’s time or a freelancer’s time, it takes time and lots of it.
There are a number of automation programs that can make social media more efficient: Hoot Suite, Hubspot, and Wildfire are three of the most popular. However, you don’t want to sacrifice engagement and building relationships for greater efficiency. Even the best automation plans require time spent on interaction with your community.
If you are one of the many companies that have been holding back from social media, here are the most important rules to optimize your investment of time. >
- Make it consistent. Once you decide which of the many social media platforms are right for your product, create a schedule. A simple spreadsheet or calendar can help you schedule and monitor some of your posts. You might want to start small on one or two platforms. In order to build a community around your product or service, your future customers need to count on regular and predictable updates. You can do this manually or you can use an automation program to help with the heavy lifting.
- Make it valuable. Everybody is pressed for time. In order to build and sustain a viable community, you need to make those posts full of content that help people solve real problems. The more you can do that, the “stickier” your content will be and the larger your community.
- Make it easy. You don’t want to make it hard work to get access to your content. Be descriptive enough that folks will understand what they’re getting but enticing enough that they’re curious enough to click through. Also, test your URLs – nothing turns people off faster than dead links. If you’re linking to your website content, make sure you have social media share buttons for easy distribution of your content.
Don’t think that you are the last company to include social media in your marketing and customer communications plans. You are not. It’s a tried and true business strategy to hang back and see how other companies use new tactics before jumping in. If you’re still unsure, start small with either Facebook or Twitter. These are the two most common social media platforms with the largest number of users.
Fortunately, as you plan your campaign, there are plenty of great examples to follow. You can short cut your learning curve by studying competitor practices or checking out other market segments.
But, in the end, the only way to understand social media is to get in there and start. There’s no better time than today.
What other rules of the social media road would be helpful to companies just launching a social media strategy?
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