So, you want to start social media?

Social media is fun! Your customers are using it! Your business should be on it, right?

Maybe.

You see, social media is a powerful tool that can be used in your business’ favor or against it. And, once you start it, you need to maintain it. If you’re interested in using social media for business purposes, here are some considerations:

  1. Make a plan.
    Believe it or not, setting up the pages is the easy part. You’ll want to think through who will have responsibility for content creation, publishing and fan engagement. Once the pages are live, there will be considerable maintenance and response required. Before you get started, make a plan that outlines what you want to accomplish by joining social media, the responsible parties in your organization, how often and when you want to post, whether you’ll create organic and/or paid content, and more. It’s also a good idea to draft standard responses to common questions to save yourself time later.
  2. Know your channels.
    Just because Instagram or Pinterest seem interesting doesn’t mean they will pay off. For maximum ROI, think carefully through who your customer base is and which channels are the best to reach them. Maximize your efforts by selecting only the most useful sites.
  3. Quality is important.
    Don’t post just to post. Sure, it’s a bummer to have days without content, but quality is more important. It’s always better to push out meaningful content less often than to use filler, low-impact posts. Tone, grammar and relevance can also make or break a page. Be sure whoever is managing your page can help you relate to your audience.
  4. Coordinate content.
    If you publish content to one page, be sure to coordinate it to publish around the same time on the other social pages you own. A coordinated effort across channels looks professional and provides the clearest communication possible.
  5. It’s not always free.
    Sure, posting a photo of your people, products or services is free. But, know that promotions (often called “boosted posts”) will cost you. The pricing depends on the size of the audience you’re targeting and the length of each campaign. Paid advertising campaigns are not only great for promoting your services, but can also help to grow your fan base — which will later help your organic content.
  6. Analytics and tracking matter.
    Look at you boosting content! Way to go. Is it working? At the end of your digital marketing campaign, you need to know which channels or ads drove the most business — or didn’t. Set up your ads, then direct clickers to custom landing pages with tracked contact methods for optimal insight later. Also, be sure to use tracked URLs for any links you post. (Tip: Providers like bit.ly offer free services.)
  7. Promote your web content.
    This seems really basic, but when you publish content (press releases, blogs, etc.) to your website, promote it across your social channels. Not only does this keep your channels full of quality information, but it drives web traffic. Be sure to use a tracked URL.
  8. Get help.
    Don’t be afraid to outsource. If you understand the power of social media, but don’t have the bandwidth to manage it, get help from a reputable provider, such as A.WordSmith. Once you’re live, learn how to increase your social following here.

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