Social media management is a key aspect of any digital marketing strategy. In fact, if I have to choose only one digital marketing channel for any business today, that would definitely be social media. Of course, you should take advantage of all the digital marketing channels if you can. But to make the best out of your limited time and budget, using social media is the go-to!
You might be wondering what makes social media so unique? And I understand your curiosity since social media’s role is often confusing. Social media is unique because you can prospect for potential customers, make new sales, interact with existing customers, increase their loyalty. Moreover, you can even do customer service thanks to advanced messaging tools.
As you can see, managing social media is like managing your business. That’s pretty fancy, isn’t it? If you see my point here, we can proceed with your next concern. How do you exactly do all these? I mean, how do you use social media to reach those business goals?
Here are the core social media activities:
- Creating image, video, audio, and text content,
- Interacting with your audience and potential customers,
- Running digital advertising campaigns,
It looks pretty straight forward, right? That’s only three things to do in social media to reach your business goals. And as a business owner, you can do these activities yourself to some extent or hire professionals to do so.
In my upcoming articles, I will teach you exactly how to do these, such as how to interact with your audience, reach potential customers, run simple ad campaigns, and to create social media content.
But for our purposes now, let’s move on and take a look at social media management best practices and common mistakes. So before you do any work in social media, you roughly know the do’s and don’t and understand the big picture here.
Social Media Management – 7 Best Practices
1- Know Your Buyer Persona / Target Group
If you know who you are selling to, you can be more efficient with your social media efforts as well. That’s why you have to get to know your target audience very well so you can address their needs and emotions better. So how do you know who is your potential customers?
For an ongoing business with a lot of current customers, it’s not such a big problem to understand who their key customers are. But even so, your existing customers gained through a traditional channel might not precisely reflect your digital customers.
So when your social media efforts are just starting, try to share lots of informative content about your industry along with your products and services. If you are planning to sell sports shoes, for instance, you have to start attracting the fitness industry as well as your end customer.
You can do that by sharing your own best knowledge and by sharing great content created by others as long as you provide value to your community. When you execute this kind of strategy, you are going to start building an organic audience for your social networking sites. That means no cheating and great success in the long term.
Once you got a certain amount of following, you can reach more of that by using advanced digital advertising methods such as using lookalike audiences. You could also target the friends of your Facebook followers when you do digital ads.
These are so powerful, and you can hit the jackpot, but you are going to have to hustle for a certain period of time to get those first batch of organic followers.
When it comes to a new business or a brand, there won’t be a transformation from traditional to digital customers, which might actually be quite an advantage. Compare a new brand that reached 20K Facebook followers and a 20 years old business that has the same amount of followers on Facebook.
The new business acquired all those followers digitally so they can use that as a great example to earn new business. In the 20 years old business’ case, I would doubt that they can do such a thing because that follower base is not a very good example of their new customer profile.
2- Put Together a Social Media Strategy
If you are not a business geek, the word strategy might already sound a bit scary. Well, the good news is that for most businesses, in terms of social media, less is more. Your social media strategy means that you are going to discover a few tactics working really well for your target group. You can continue using the same tactics over and over until it’s not working anymore.
Here are a few core social media strategy examples:
- Leveraging user-generated content by frequently reposting them. (my personal favorite)
- Creating segment-specific content and share them by tagging the potential target group members.
- Creating customer review videos and frequently serving them to potential new customers.
- Interact with a certain number of profiles on a daily basis by comments, likes, and direct messages.
- Boost brand awareness by using social media influencers and affiliation programs.
3- Find the Social Media Channel That Works For You
Back in 2016, when I was working in a tech startup, we were doing great in terms of our SEO (search engine optimization) campaigns, conversion optimization, and UI/UX matters. One thing we struggled has been business growth with social media.
Well, it wasn’t so surprising. We knew that social media wasn’t going to be our most reliable digital marketing channel. Our target audience was consisting of technical people. Whatever content we shared, we just got a couple of reactions. In other words, the engagement was very low.
Digital ads we ran on social media also were not performing very well. We tried sending people to our website; bounce rates were high. We ran webinar funnel type Facebook Ads; no one seemed to care. I have been attempting putting extensive education purpose videos on YouTube based on-screen recordings. That wasn’t so bad. The best channel for that particular business turned out to be Quora.com! Who would have thought?
Luckily, there are a lot of social media platforms that would be suitable for any kind of business. How to find out which social media channel is the best for you?
The quickest way is making your best guess and trying out a couple of them. Checking your competitors would be a practical solution, as well. There they find the goldmine you can start digging too. Once you find your channel start concentrating on your content for that channel and start developing good relations with your community.
4- Understand What Content Your Persona is Consuming
Try to find out what your audience likes in terms of content. There is no one for all recipes here.
Think of a target group that’s heavily composed of literature lovers. These people love to read, right? So, would it be an excellent strategy to serve video to this kind of audience? Maybe not. Similarly, when you have an audience full of passionate music people, would it make sense to care too much about photography or text? Perhaps, it’s best to include some sound in your content. What I try to say is; take time to prepare tailor-made content for your audience’s taste.
If I told you a couple of years ago that audio would become a critical content type, you would probably laugh at me. But now, podcast business and audio content are booming. When it comes to content creation, don’t hesitate to think outside the box.
You can take beautiful photos with your customers and serve them to your potential buyers. Show others how you treat your current customers. That’s a great content idea that fits for almost any business.
5- Proactively Engage With Your Followers
Proactively engaging or interacting with people in social media gives you a superpower. In my experience, most social media teams are not leveraging these powers and doing inactive, if not reactive, sort of social media management. Below are a few scenarios I see every day when it comes to managing social media handling:
- Not replying to messages, comments, and reviews,
- Only responding to messages but not to comments and reviews,
- Only getting back to negative or positive feedback,
- Using templated answers in messages & comments that have no soul,
- Making tons of grammar mistakes, not having a particular style & tone.
If you are falling into one of the above categories like the other 90 percent of the businesses, you better lower your expectations from the social media channels. Even if you are very good at reacting to comments and reviews, that’s only good for your reputation, but that’s not going to bring you a lot of new business. If you want to develop your business using social media, you have to proactively reach out to new people that are somehow related to your business. If I were you, I would add a reach out to new customers’ routine to my social media strategy.
6- Have a Great Style & Tone That Reflects Your Brand
In most cases, being repetitive is not a good thing, but when it comes to your brand, being consistent in terms of style & tone is absolutely a winning strategy. Treat your brand like a person. No one likes a constantly changing character, right?
- Get yourself a logo that reflects your brand.
- Prepare a simple yet visually appealing website to showcase your business.
- Pick your brand a color palette and start using these in your graphic and video content.
- Choose yourself a font or two and stick to it in your marketing materials and digital content.
- Decide on how your brand is going to look like to customers and make that voice company-wide.
Social Media Management – 5 Common Mistakes
1- Underestimating The Big Impact of Social Media Management
Most people or businesses think of managing social media as routine work instead of a business growth strategy. I tell you this: if you are proactive, connecting with people, and being super kind to them, you can even grow a business with an average product/service.
As we started to live in an artificial world, having a warm conversation and consistently doing that can mean a lot. The moment you start seeing social media management as an essential tool to grow your business, you will begin benefiting the significant impact of social media and start to get excellent visibility and brand awareness.
2- Failing the Reputation Management in Social Media Channels
You will face positive & negative comments and reviews on social media and how you treat them matters. It matters because most of these are publicly available, and other people can also see them. Your answers often tell a lot about you, so pay extra attention to how you respond to these threads.
Think of a person who is only communicating with you when there is a problem! When things are great in between the two of you, though, you never hear a good old thank you! How annoying is that and how much it tells you about that person, right? It’s the same for a brand or a business because they also have a character, so don’t forget to behave yourself and also communicate with your audience when there is no crisis.
3- Interacting with Your Audience Only When You Have To
What I mean here is you only share content when you have to boost sales, there are holidays, or there is a crisis. Wouldn’t that be so boring for your audience?
Which one is better? Getting flowers on Valentine’s day or on a regular day? Or both? If you are only getting the flowers on valentine’s day, that would mean you are getting them due to formality. A better approach would be to mix things up. So always be there for your audience and consistently interact with them, not only on their birthdays!
4- Focusing On Too Many Social Media Channels
There are +65 social media platforms. If you are a social media agency, you might want to learn their names. But, for regular business, unless you have a large social media team or you can assign a channel for a guy, it’s not a good idea to try dominating numerous social media channels at once. Besides, not all channels would be suitable for your business. So, I would suggest you stop wasting your time in irrelevant places and focus on just 1-2 channels at once.
5- Having a Posting Schedule That’s Not Based On Research
Most offices run on a 9-5 basis, covering 8-9 hours daily, but most people are available 16-18 hours. So if you only post when you are in the office and when you are available, you are missing a lot of opportunities. To avoid this, you should research the best time to share for each social media channel for your business.
Once you know when to exactly share for maximum engagement, you can start using social media scheduler tools. It’s a social media management best practice to share at appropriate times, so try to be strict with this. When you optimize this process, you will that with less effort; you can actually get more out of your social media content.
Social Media Management Do’s & Don’ts Summary
Let’s wrap things all up now. I started this article by saying that social media management is a vital aspect of any digital marketing strategy. As a small business owner, you should prioritize social media management over other digital activities because in social media:
- You can build & grow your brand digitally,
- Find potential customers and new business opportunities,
- Connect with existing customers and leverage their references,
- Run digital ads and even chat with your audience.
Social Media Do’s
- Know Your Buyer Persona / Target Group
- Put Together a Social Media Strategy
- Find the Social Media Channel That Works For You
- Understand What Content Your Persona is Consuming
- Proactively Engage With Your Followers
- Have a Great Style & Tone That Reflects Your Brand
Social Media Don’ts
- Underestimating The Big Impact of Social Media Management
- Failing the Reputation Management in Social Media Channels
- Interacting with Your Audience Only When You Have To
- Focusing On Too Many Social Media Channels
- Having a Posting Schedule, That’s Not Based On Research