The “Spaghetti method” – randomly throwing spaghetti on the wall and seeing what sticks – is not a great approach to use in the kitchen and to be honest, doesn’t really have a great success rate anywhere. But all too often, that’s the approach that gets used when it comes to social media strategies.
Who can blame businesses, burgeoning brands and entrepreneurs who are open to trying just about anything to help their business succeed? Social media is a fast-evolving online environment that can be capitalized on, if you can keep up. That means knowing how to reach your target market in a meaningful way. It’s a lot to ask of a person who regularly works 60+ hour weeks already.
If you’re using the “Spaghetti Method” for social media it’s time to get more strategic and make sure what you’re doing is driving results.
What’s the ONE Thing for Your Social Media
Since you’re a busy professional that’s trying to squeeze in social media, why not cut right to the chase? Social media is a process where the 80/20 Rule definitely applies. The focusing question can help you prioritize the most important tasks that move the needle in the right direction and filter out all the unnecessary busy work.
There are so many approaches that you can take to boost your brand through social media, but many of them tend to be a waste of precious time. You have to find the key activities that drive the results you want, which requires a purposeful strategy. Common social media goals include increasing brand awareness, reputation management and building a base of leads. Figure out what your objective is and shape your strategy around that.
Create a Social Media Calendar
Many things in life turn out better when we take the time to plan ahead. Too often social media is haphazardly handled with very little forethought. You wouldn’t take such a lax approach with your web pages, content strategy or other marketing campaigns and the same should hold true for social media.
Set aside a few hours once a quarter for a brainstorming meeting with key personnel. Line up your goals, topics, cross promotions, schedule and designate tasks. Most importantly establish the parameters for how you plan to measure results based on the objective you’re trying to reach.
Once you have all of the tasks laid out start time blocking. Adding social media tasks to your calendar will help establish it as a priority rather than an afterthought.
Establish a Brand Voice for Social Media
The tone, vernacular and character of your writing come through to create a persona on social media. Developing your unique voice is a huge plus. The voice may be exactly the same as your website and other marketing materials or a close variation. The more personal you can make the writing seem the easier it is to connect with others.
While you’re at it, make sure your social media accounts reflect your brand as well. Colors, logos and imagery should be cohesive so a follower can seamlessly go from a social media platform to your website.
Spend Time Getting to Know Your Social Media Audience
The people who create, use and influence social media are a unique set. Their motivation is totally different than someone who’s using a search engine or review site. You have to spend just as much time researching your target market on social media as you would a potential buyer – because with the right strategy that’s what they could become.
It’s best to speak to a small segment of the social media population that can relate to your business. Find your community that has the same needs and values. You could also use your social media outlets to establish a community if one doesn’t already exist.
There’s a give and take nature to social media. It’s interactive, which means someone on your team needs to maintain a presence on social media for your business. It’s about the only way to connect with social media influencers and establish a relationship you can both leverage.
Finding Time for Social Media
One of the few drawbacks of social media is it needs constant management. You have to be generating content, replying to the comments of others and facilitating conversations. There’s no set it and forget it with social media.
There are few times when you can double book a time block, but social media presents the opportunity. Now a days it’s easy to grab pictures off your phone and make a post that simultaneously goes out to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. It’s so simple you can create a simulcast post in a matter of minutes while you wait in line.
Plan to go to that busy pho restaurant for lunch on Wednesday – then plan to do a post while you wait to place an order. Know that you’ll be waiting at the DMV at least an hour on Monday morning – line up a few social media posts. Search your calendar for times when you can layer social media tasks on top of other to-dos with downtime.
Social media management largely comes down to the systems you have in place. You can use a variety of tools to connect many of your social media accounts so that you can monitor them all from a single place. Hootsuite Insights is one of the most popular tools for tracking metrics, analytics and content across social media platforms. Hootesuite, HubSpot, SproutSocial and more also have automation tools for social media. Have a blog? Then use a plugin to sync your blog with your social media accounts.
Social media doesn’t have to be a scary vortex that does little more than distract you from other business operations. However, it does have to be taken seriously as an outlet for connecting with customers and expanding your brand. Approach it with the same time, energy and attention you give your other marketing campaigns and you’ll start to see the benefits of being social.