Among the hustle and bustle of your growing business, it’s easy to forget the little things. A mere 140 characters feels so unimportant compared to that big meeting and looming deadlines. Social media can drive brand awareness and generate leads, but keeping the machine running takes up your valuable time and resources.
Outside the office though, we’re all experts at social media. Think of the last time you talked to a friend through Facebook, or posted a comment on Twitter or Instagram.
Those habits can serve you well when promoting your business on social media, and in an era where 81% of the U.S. population has a social media profile, social media is imperative to reaching your audience.
We’ve found that the key to a strong, consistent social media program is taking a little time to set up systems, which actually reduces the overall time spent on social media. Here are our tried-and-tested steps for a weekly social media plan:
1. Identify Your Target Audience and Set Your Goals
You can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been. Take stock of your current audience (current and past clients, ideal customers, current followers) and write down what they have in common. These demographics will be what you will base your content around and engagement goals around. Aim for a certain number of new followers, shares, or likes each week.
2. Schedule Your Updates, Then Sit Back and Relax
Scheduling your updates is the biggest timesaver for social media. Uploading all your posts to places like Hootsuite, Buffer, or HubSpot will allow you to post all your content across channels whenever you like. This fixes that nagging feeling in the back of your brain you get when you can’t remember if you posted today. Just remember to stagger your updates so your feed doesn’t look like it’s managed by a robot.
3. Set Up Alerts for Daily Mentions
Measuring how much your audience is responding to your message is as easy as setting up a Google Alert. Monitoring your channels, like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, will allow you to get instant feedback whenever your content is shared or your company is mentioned. Use tools like TweetDeck and check into your channels at least once a day. Also, keep an eye on Quora, Google+, and RSS subscriptions. You never know how your audience will engage with you.
4. Respond and Reach Out
Some reports, like this one from Sprout Social, found that 5 in 6 messages that need responses are not answered by companies. These means there are thousands of customers who never get the attention they need. You can reduce this number among your own audience by taking at least five minutes a day to respond to the mentions you found in the previous step. Also, follow back people who have followed your channels and engage in chats, hangouts, and other interactive online activities. These will build up your network, which will produce more engagement with your content.
5. Do a Weekly Check-In
Every week you should look back on how your channels performed, see where they shined and where they need a little polish. Check your statistics. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have their own dashboards where you can check how each post performed. Other sites like SumAll will also aggregate your statistics into one dashboard for you. Once you can see how well you did, compare it to your weekly goals to see if anything needs tweaking. This is also a good time to update any social media ads, as you now know if they resulted in any clicks.
Our personal one-on-one style of social media is quite different than a business style, but automating the basics will allow you to be free to cultivate a more personal (and familiar) social media presence.
To help you prepare your own weekly social media plan, SKC has created a simple, efficient checklist with space to create goals and our favorite social media tips. Click the button below to download your free checklist.