Last Friday, this question came to me from a member of my Facebook Page community:
“What can you tell me about social media strategy for companies. How do you play yet not lose control?”
Most organizations understand the value of social media marketing, but either don’t have the time to implement it, or fear that they will lose control of the conversation, or the brand perception.
Here are some suggestions on how to use social media without losing control:
1. Prepare a Strategy
Just as you wouldn’t go fishing without planning adequately for your adventure, make sure you prepare diligently for your social media adventure. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Who do I want to reach (audience)? – be specific and jot down as many details about your ideal reader as you possibly can – gender, age, profession, income bracket, education, lifestyle, what social media profiles they use, etc.
- Do I have something interesting to say to them (message)? Understand that social media is a crowded space. You must have something compelling to say in order to attract attention. If you offer a common service and aren’t quite sure how to present yourself in a unique way, try these tips.
- What is my goal for my social media efforts? Is it to generate brand awareness, to create conversation, to generate quality leads or to increase sales? It’s important to be very clear about what you want before you start because you will use this criteria later on, to measure your success (or lack thereof).
2. Prepare An Editorial Calendar
A calendar may be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. It might be just a list of dates and topics that you wish to discuss on your blog or social media channel. At the very least your editorial calendar should illustrate:
- how often to post content on your social media channels (according to Facebook expert Mari Smith for example, there is a direct relationship between the number of fans on your Facebook page and the frequency of your posts – but one should still use wisdom to decided how much is too much).
- what type of content you will post i.e. a link to your blog article, an engaging question, a video, pictures, contests, freebies and giveaways etc.
3. Use social media aggregator tools to simplify your social media campaign
Even with a carefully planned strategy, the dizzying speed of communication on social media can be overwhelming and may quickly lead to burnout. Fortunately there are online tools that can help manage and simplify your life. Tools such as Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Ping and others, help condense your live updates and shares by providing a single location to broadcast multiple updates to.
4. Invite others to contribute to your social media campaign
If you’re a manager in your organization, try to identify employees who have a passion and the skills for social media. Ask them where they would be most comfortable contributing their efforts and then give them simple guidelines to adhere to. If you run a smaller organization and don’t have the human resources to work your campaign, consider outsourcing parts or all of your social media function to an expert.
Tweets, diggs, updates, feeds, comments, etc – for sure this social media stuff can challenge your sanity. But it can also be enjoyable and profitable if you take control of the situation. If you have felt overwhelmed in the past, don’t worry – you’re not alone. There are many people who feel the same way but have made a decision to understand and take control of their social media environment. What about you – are you ready to take control?