There is no question that social media is growing rapidly, and it is more important for small businesses than ever.
According to a social media marketing industry report, 93 percent of respondents saw an increase in exposure, 87 percent noted an increase in website traffic, and 71 percent reported an increase in customer loyalty from using social media.
There are several key steps to take if you want your social media to be successful. But, like all aspects of your business, social media requires time and resources. In fact, 91 percent of businesses surveyed reported that dedicating six or more hours a week to social media produced the best results.
If you can’t dedicate the time and resources necessary to manage your social media effectively, consider outsourcing the job to an external social media manager instead. This will give you the ability to focus on growing your business, while still leaving your social media in good hands.
Here are some important steps for social media success, and how an external social media manager can help you out.
1. Have a social media plan
Having a strategy and goals is key to keeping your social media on track. Determine what you want to accomplish - whether it’s increasing engagement, ROI, exposure, or customer loyalty - and set objectives for how you’re going to achieve it. Create a social media calendar with intended dates and times to post and the content you want to share.
Social media is a learning process. You should be constantly adjusting your strategy to determine what works and where you can improve.
If you don’t have time, let an external social media manager do the planning for you. They can help you set specific goals for your platforms, such as how much original versus curated content to post, how much to engage with customers, and how many new followers or new users your business should acquire. They can then determine the best social media strategy for meeting your goals, including which content, keywords, and platforms to focus on.
2. Understand your audience
In order to accomplish your goals, you need to determine the traits of your target audience. Where are they located? What are they interested in? What are their pain points? By understanding who your audience is and what they want, you can produce content that they will want to engage with.
If you don’t have the bandwidth to conduct the analysis necessary to understand your audience, let someone else do it for you. An external social media manager can perform an audit of your social media accounts in order to see who you already connect with, which networks your target audience uses, and what characteristics they share.
3. Manage your accounts effectively
Because you are connecting with your users digitally through a screen, it is important to humanize your brand and make it consistent and memorable.
You should interact with users on your platforms in addition to engaging with other content that is relevant to your brand. Do you offer a service targeted towards other entrepreneurs? Share content to your page - articles, blogs, videos - that other small businesses would also find interesting.
An external social media manager can help you with set-up and branding so that you maintain a unique but consistent voice across your channels. They can develop relationships with your customers on your platforms, whether it is conversing with potential users, or responding to questions and complaints. Additionally, they can spend time researching, commenting on, and sharing other industry-related content.
4. Create engaging content
According to Lewis’ State of Visual Communications, 67 percent of marketing decision-makers reported that they use visual content on social media. By posting images, videos, and graphics, you will encourage your followers to connect and engage with your brand.
Don’t want to add content marketing to your to-do list? An external social media manager can develop original images, articles, memes, blog posts, and other resources that can be posted on your channels for you.
To Outsource or Not to Outsource
Not all small businesses should outsource their social media. Although it can save you time, hiring an external manager can be costly, and for many small businesses, those resources could be better spent elsewhere.
If you choose to take charge of your own social media, consider using these management tools to help you streamline the process.
- Handling several accounts across multiple platforms? With Hootsuite, you can schedule up to 350 posts across platforms in advance, monitor conversations across networks from one dashboard, and respond quickly to customers’ comments, mentions, and messages.
- Want to focus on Instagram? Try Owlmetrics, an Instagram analytics tool that provides information about optimal posting time and follower engagement and growth.
- Need some help with content marketing? Adobe Spark Post provides the tools needed to produce high-quality images and master the art of graphic design.
Determine what your business goals are and how much time and resources you have available to dedicate to social media. Make the decision about whether or not to outsource based on what your business specifically needs.