How to Do Social Media Management the Right Way

Today, social media is a critical element of digital marketing.

Conversations regarding a brand take place online with or without its involvement.

Social media management allows businesses to connect with their prospects and existing customers, influence public perceptions, build and manage brand reputation, and develop thought leadership.

Social media eases interaction, listening, engagement, and collaboration between brands and their target audiences. It is a perfect way to augment campaigns based on traditional marketing and enhance SEO.

Furthermore, as conversations on various social platforms increase, it becomes labor- and time- intensive to engage, track, monitor, and even manage social activities.

With the right solutions for social media management, businesses should be able to take charge of inbound and outbound interactions on different social platforms. Management of other critical marketing activities also becomes easier and more efficient.

Social media management tools, strategies and solutions consolidate and streamline the manner in which brands listen to and engage in relevant conversations. These take place on private web sites and communities, social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and blogs, among other social platforms.

In addition to amplification of a brand’s social presence on different platforms, social management tools also allow integration of activities on social networks with other marketing programs run by a company.

White papers, offline events, websites, email marketing, content management systems, and search engine marketing campaigns can all be linked to social networks through social media management tools.

So why should your company care?

Many companies invest a lot of resources and time into social media marketing, but get nothing in return.

No business deserves such poor outcomes!

The key to successfully managing social media accounts and engaging a business audience for increased sales and revenue lies in doing social media management the right way.

Here’s how to effectively manage social media accounts for success!

Top 7 Effective and Proper Ways of Doing Social Media Management

1. Analysis/ Research

The first step to doing social media management the right way is analysis or research.

A social media manager should conduct an analysis of the business and research into the market at large. As a result of the analysis, the business will gain information on the competition, ideal customers, identify business goals, and even be able to come up with social marketing goals.

Identification of Business Goals

Every journey has a destination and so should businesses.

Social media strategies should be designed to meet set business goals. Marketing efforts can only move forward when marketers know where they are headed.

Social media marketing should help meet the general needs of a business. Every company looking to exploit social networks must know its needs and come up with goals to meet them.

Although some goals are specific to businesses, others should be featured in all social media marketing strategies. Retaining customers, increasing brand awareness, and reducing costs of marketing apply to all businesses.

It is important to set a few goals to work with; two major and two secondary goals should make for a good starting point.

Effective goals are specific, timely, measurable, achievable, realistic, ethical, and reachable (SMART goals).

Setting Up of Marketing Goals/Objectives

Business goals become useful when particular parameters are defined to indicate how each will be achieved. These parameters are marketing objectives.

For instance, generating leads online is a primary business goal. However, it is important to determine the number of leads to be generated for a goal to be a success.

Marketing objectives clearly define how an unachieved business goal can be successfully attained.

The SMART approach is a great way of defining marketing objectives. The S stands for specific, the M for measurable, the A for achievable, the R for relevant and T for time-bound.

Increasing leads by 60% is a specific marketing objective. It can help attain the primary goal of generating leads online.

Analytical and tracking tools can be used to measure the progress towards attaining the marketing objective and business goal at large.

The objective should be realistic and achievable, given available resources. Setting an objective of increasing leads or sales by 1000% is clearly unrealistic.

Just like business goals, marketing objectives must be relevant to the business or company in question. Top level management can only support objectives relevant to their firm’s general vision and mission.

The objectives should have a timeline within which they should be attained. When should the goals and/or objectives be attained? Could it be within the next 6 months, or at the end of the next one year?

Working with a timeline ensures that social marketing efforts are directed in the right direction with maximum use of available resources and efforts. The SMART aspects of a goal are dependent on each other and none can work alone.

Identification of Ideal Customers

Businesses without an accurate profile of their ideal customers usually experience low engagement on their social media accounts.

There’s need for the right buyer personas to define the right audience to target, at the right time, in the right place, and with the right messages relevant to them.

It is easier for businesses to identify their audiences on social media platforms if they know the problems, occupation, age, motivations, obstacles, problems, income, pains, habits, interests, dislikes, objections, and likes of their target customers.

Success can be attained on every social site used to promote a brand with increased conversions if a brand targets a specific audience or segment of the market.

Research of Competitors

Researching competition enables a business to keep abreast with the activities of its competitors. It gives an idea of working social tactics for integration into the brand’s social marketing efforts.

Create a profile list of 3 to 5 to competitors. Search and find the social sites used by the competitors for analysis of content strategy. Note each competitor’s number of followers or fans, and frequency and time of making posts each day.

The context (promotional, fun, etc.) and type of content posted and how the competition responds to followers and fans should also be noted.

Engagement level of competition on their social sites should also be assessed for a general overview. For instance, dividing the total number of engagement activities spanning the last 20 to 30 posts on Facebook with a competitor’s total number of fans should provide an overview of the rate of engagement. Engagement activities like comments, likes, and shares should also be assessed.

This formula should work across all social platforms used by the competitors. It can give the general overview of how the competition is performing on social media. A quick comparison can help pick out working tactics to deploy.

2. Selection of Platforms

There are many social media sites in the market to choose from. Although they all fall under social networks, each comes with a unique style, best practices and even audience.

This means that what works for one social network might not work for another. Therefore, it’s important to select the right platforms for any particular kind of business.

A good social network is one that best fits a brand’s social strategy and the business goals to be met through social sites.

A business doesn’t have to be on all social media sites, but only the ones that matter to the firm and its audience.

When selecting platforms, businesses should consider time, available resources, and target audience to pick the right number and type of social networks to join.

  • Time — Determine the amount of time a brand can devote to a social site. For starters, allocating an hour to each platform on a daily basis should work. As the business grows, social media managers can make use of time management tools like Buffer to optimize social marketing efforts.
  • Resources — Businesses should find out the resources needed to work with a social network in terms of skills and personnel.

There’s need for photos and images to work with visual social platforms like Instagram and Pinterest. Quality content is required to use Google+. The question businesses must ask is, ‘Do we have the resources needed to work with this social site?’

Internet research firms like Pew Research are good sources of data on audience demographics for different platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Social Networks that Add Value

  • Facebook — Facebook has over 23 billion active users who visit the site every month. It offers businesses the opportunity to reach a wide range of prospects and customers. Businesses can take advantage of the news feed feature to distribute content or make social posts. The feature can drive traffic to business websites, increase brand awareness, and set a brand a apart as a thought leader. The site also has targeting capabilities to enable businesses to customize messages for specific users with certain interests.
  • Twitter — Over 500 million tweets are sent on Twitter every single day. Amongst all the messages, no specific company can fail to find mentions of its brand or interesting conversations relevant to its niche and worth joining. This makes Twitter a perfect channel for business development and customer service. Businesses can use this platform to find prospective customers. They can also interact with unhappy customers to make them happy once more.
  • LinkedIn — LinkedIn has over 332 million professional users, making it a perfect platform for B2B social media marketers. Whereas users on Facebook and Twitter spend their personal time to engage on the platforms, those on LinkedIn use it mainly for work-related reasons. Brands can meet future customers on this professional social network.
  • Google+ — A search for a business on Google+ results in the display of a profile snippet on the results page. It is also possible to hyper-target prospects on this social network based on communities. Relevant content that interests a particular brand audience in a certain community can be posted in the group by a business for engagement purposes.

Creation of Accounts and Profiles

Upon selection of social media platforms, accounts should be created on each site and profiles filled.

Each social profile should be complete and up-to-date. A complete profile indicates a brand’s cohesiveness, professionalism and seriousness to engage its audience.

It is important for visuals used on different platforms to be consistent. Tools like Canva can help pick prebuilt visual templates in proper sizes suitable for different social platforms.

Bio info should be professional yet personal, fresh, have keywords written for the audience and let prospects know what’s in it for them.

3. Creation of Engaging Content

With social media accounts set up and ready, it is important to have the content to post and share with a brand’s target audience. Share useful and fun content with target audiences on social media.

Content comes in the form of videos, articles, graphics and audio files.

How-to videos can help answer common questions asked by customers. Audiences get a sense of brand personality and company culture through behind-the-scenes videos.

Guides can add value and cater to target audiences. They are also a perfect way for brands to speak to their audiences through engaging content, elevating them as thought leaders in the industry.

Infographics can be insightful to audiences. Since they’re highly engaging and resourceful, infographics can easily go viral over the internet.

A social media editorial calendar can help organize and plan content for posting on social media platforms.

Businesses can discover content in a number of ways to share with target audiences on social networks.

Content Discovery

Traditionally, content discovery was mainly based on user input through simple queries. Today, content discovery is personalized, automated, and more contextual than ever.

Content discovery is ever evolving. It allows businesses to explore new information and topics without making searches for the same.

Discovering new content is now possible through algorithms designed to utilize artificial intelligence. The algorithms are personalized to discover the specific kind of content that interests a business based on what is sought at any one time.

Social media platforms like Yahoo, Facebook, Google and Flipora are perfect for content discovery.

Content discovery solutions help businesses find the right content to post on their social networks and share with their fans and followers. The solutions also help save time.

Some content discovery tools to consider for a social marketing campaign include: Klout, Spundge, Feedly, Buffer, Swayy and Scoop.it.

Content Curation

Content curation is all about sifting through large content databases like blogs and sites on the web, selecting the best in an organized and useful manner and sharing with followers on social media networks.

The discovered content is sifted, sorted, organized and arranged in particular themes for publishing on social platforms.

Unlike content marketing, content curation doesn’t involve developing new content from scratch. It’s all about discovering, compiling, and sharing content already in existence on the web with target audiences on social media.

Content curation is a marketing tactic that businesses can deploy to successfully develop and maintain an online presence. Audiences also gain value from content curation, an aspect critical to developing long-term relationships between brands and prospects and existing customers.

Through social curation, businesses remain relevant to their audiences or social followers. It also promotes the growth of social following.

According to Hootsuite, businesses should follow the rule of thirds of social media.

So, why share content created and published by outside thought leaders and businesses?

It indicates that a brand is knowledgeable about the industry, it’s collegial, and very much aware of its competitors. Sharing content by another brand showcases that the given business is confident in its own skin atop being collaborative.

Moreover, it heightens a brand’s exposure, possibly linking it to the online community or audience of the other company whose content is curated.

Content selected for curation should be of value, quality and a true reflection of the brand’s voice. The content should also be personal and promotional yet humane.

Content Curation Tools

Businesses should not spend the whole day curating content.

Several content curation tools exist in the market to help streamline the process.

Storify, Feedly, Scoop.it, Swayy, Sniply, Curata, PublishThis, etc. are some content curation tools to consider.

4. Publishing / Scheduling / Sharing

With the right content at hand, it should be published on social platforms to initiate conversations with prospects.

Social media and content go hand in hand. The former is where a business audience hangs out and the latter keeps customers informed about a brand.

The type of content to be posted on social media and the time and frequency of posting are critical elements of an effective social media strategy.

The manner in which information is presented (form — images, video, text only, links, etc.) and its context determine the kind of social network on which it can be posted.

Content context is all about the trends on the platform and company voice. It can be humorous, highly-detailed, informative, educational or even serious.

Every target audience is unique and thus there’s no specific formula to follow for the best time to schedule content posting.

The content to be posted is as good as the frequency and scheduled times for posting.

You wouldn’t want to offend your followers, or would you?

Finding the right frequency to post content is crucial to keep an audience engaged. Facebook Insights can help businesses know when their audience gets online and engage with the posts.

The essence of planning a sharing schedule cannot be ignored.

This posting guideline should help a business started:

  • Facebook — It is important to make posts on this social site twice a day, 7 days a week. 10am and 3pm or 1 to 4pm are perfect times. Professional posts can be made on Thursdays and Fridays each week, and fun, personal updates over the weekends.
  • Twitter — Posts should be made seven times in a day on Saturdays and Sundays, and 14 times every single week day. Most posts should be made between 12 and 3pm. B2B companies have 17% likelihood to perform if posts are made over the weekends, according to CoSchedule, and B2B firms have a 16% chance of performing if posts are made during business hours.
  • LinkedIn — Make posts once daily and mainly in the middle of the week from 1.30 to 8.30am or 5 to 6pm daily, except weekends when no posts should be made.
  • Google+ — Make posts twice daily from 9am to 7pm, except over the weekends when no posts should be made.

However, businesses should track engagement and experiment with different posts to find out the best times to publish content for a particular audience.

A well-optimized posting schedule is the key to gaining optimal exposure to a brand’s target audience.

5. Promoting

Social media platforms also allow businesses to promote content posted on different channels.

Once content is posted on a social platform, businesses should encourage users to share with their friends and networks.

For instance, Twitter allows tweets to be retweeted or pinned on timelines. Facebook allows posts to be shared and even liked through the friends-of-friends hierarchical structure that creates a large network of connections.

Promoting content or posts through sharing is the key to having viral posts in no time.

Tools like Tsu and Ello can help promote posts on social sites over the internet.

6. Reporting

Social media reporting of KPIs and metrics can provide an overview of the social media campaign performance.

The numbers of followers or fans, traffic and conversions, conversation participation, and social reach performance are key metrics to be reported in a social report to gauge the performance of social marketing campaigns.

Buffer and Followerwonk are some social media management tools that can help automate the reporting process.

The reports have to be shared with the management.

7. Performance Tracking

Performance tracking helps business owners and marketers know what’s working and what’s not.

Google Analytics is a perfect tool that helps track performance to find out the posts driving traffic, conversion and sales, and the ones not working.

The information on the working posts and strategies or tactics can help drive success.

Share the success with the business audience and competition!

You can use Start A Fire as part of your social media management to increase your content’s reach.

Take action now!


Originally published at blog.startafire.com on August 29, 2016.