Taming the Social Media Marketing Beast

8/28/2012

Bea Halstead, Social Media Marketing Manager

In some cases, clients contact us to help them clean up a social media program that has started to spiral out of control. The most common feedback we receive is that clients aren't able to complete the tasks needed to maintain their social networks effectively. If you struggle with any of the issues listed below, this article may help to shed some light on why you feel behind the social media marketing curve and what you can do to get back on track.

Are any of these problem areas for you?

  • Not responding to audience comments or questions in a timely manner
  • Brand voice is becoming less consistent across channels
  • Posting to channels is becoming more sporadic
  • Complaints from executive's that ROI and tracking isn't being done
  • Need to update website and blog with newest social sharing plugins
  • Not sure when or where to start a presence in a new channel
  • Not sure how to promote an upcoming event in social media
  • Not using a content calendar
  • Not using automation tools for posting
  • Unclear on how many hours are being dedicated to current efforts

If any of the above sounds familiar, then it's time to take a deep breath and learn how to take control of your social media marketing program.

1. Make a Plan.  First, you need a roadmap. Create a project list with the updates you need to make to your website, blog, and social media channels, and make sure your updates are optimized for exposure, sharing, and content. Use an editorial calendar for the blog, each network, and any other digital marketing campaigns. Then, start posting through an automated tool like Hootsuite; this method will be more efficient, and prove more consistent when speaking with the brand's voice and producing content for each audience. Create a marketing strategy that encompasses company goals and satisfies your target audience's needs.

2. Learn Your Audience.  It's best to create a unique content strategy for each channel in order to resonate with your audience in that channel. Because each channel differs, you will need to spend time understanding how the user interacts with the channel's features to create a better user experience. Add time to your schedule to listen, and watch conversations happening amongst your fans by searching for key terms, competitors, etc.  Evaluate the performance of your content by tracking clicks and shares. You will want to note which topics or types of media are working to engage and grow your fan base. Implement a content strategy specific to each channel using the editorial calendar to organize all communications in a single spreadsheet.

3.  Create A Response Sheet. Establishing an escalation plan in advance of receiving negative feedback will improve customer service and your ability to address comments in a timely and efficient manner. Record the users who provide positive feedback and respond to them with appreciation. These are potentially your best brand advocates, so nurturing these relationships can be impactful. Train your team on using this response sheet, this will also aid in keeping the brand voice consistent across all channels.

4. Create ways to track and measure.  One of the most important things for social media is avoiding efforts that have no feasible measurement. Learn what measurements are most insightful for aiding the overall goals of the company. Capture data on referral traffic behaviors from social media networks within your website. Are they spending more time than an average visitor, do they download resources or give contact information more frequently than traditional organic traffic? Use tools, create spreadsheets, and document channel growth and activity in order to provide rationale for further investment in social media marketing.

5. Continue to Educate. This particular form of marketing changes on a daily basis. If you want to stay at the top of your game, you will have to encourage your team members to learn about the newest trends, functionality, and strategies published online by social media marketing experts and organizations.  A good way to start is by setting up daily Google Alerts for keywords related to your business, competitors, and the channels you participate in. This will further your knowledge about what users are exposed to in regard to your company, your competitors, and the networks they belong to.

 6. Outsource tasks you can not do yourself.  If you know that you are going to need help with creating a strategy, building campaigns, producing content for the channels, or getting design work completed and are unable to tackle them internally, then reach out for help. Social media marketing organizations, including MoreVisibility, offer consultative services, implementation, or daily management. There will also be many opportunities to gain insight and ideas while working with someone adept in the social media marketing realm.

This first step to gaining control over your company's social media presence means acknowledging that weaknesses exist. Identify your own pain points and goals to build your social media plan and content strategy around.  Once you have identified the issues, prioritize where to make improvements, and decide which tasks may require outsourcing.  Getting a handle on your social media efforts will not only boost overall confidence in the work produced, but also help individuals within your organization see the value in what you've accomplished.

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