On a weekly basis I receive a number of calls from start-up businesses or businesses looking to take those initial steps into the social world. Some callers understand the requirement to be active in social and the benefits that it can bring, others just see it as a 'must do' in today's marketing mix that they just need to get on with.
The thing is, you don't need to have a successful social presence to have a successful business, but I think it certainly can help. Whether your business reaches out to a local audience on the high street or does all of its trade online, having a presence on the correct social channels can provide benefits. Most businesses have a loose understanding that this is the case and therefore get off and running. Social is after-all easy to do, everybody has a Facebook right?!?
Fast forward a few months and we get the call.
So, back to the start, how do you get 'properly' started in social.
When we work with clients to get off and running with their new social presence, we always prescribe the exact same staged process:
Goals: The starting point for us is always to ask our clients 'why?'. Without setting out clear goals for the exercise, we can't determine success and we can't establish a plan. Understanding what your goals are, whether it's hitting 1 million followers (not a good plan...) or increasing click-throughs to your your site, will vastly change the way that you approach your social presence.
Insight: Once the plan is set, we need to look at what is already happening out there, are there any lessons we can learn, are there any gaps that we can see? There are a multitude of tools that we use to create our insight reports but a good starting point is always to analyse your competitors to see what has worked for them and what has received negative press.
Audience: Your current client base and your social client base don't need to be the same people. It's therefore important that we establish who your social audience is and we set out the tone of voice for speaking to them. This ToV will represent your brand socially so we must ensure that it is a tone that is easily understood by the team developing the content.
Strategy: Once we understand the audience, marketplace and our goals we can build a plan. This plan must include looking at each channel and deciding whether it is appropriate for the brand to have a presence on that channel. A common mistake is to try and get coverage on every social space without having the audience or content to justify being there.
Content: The final step before starting is to establish a content plan for the initial weeks. We'd recommend that you develop a loose plan for content stretching out to at least 3 months to ensure that content coverage is in place for that time. This content plan should detail content themes, daily content posts, real-time marketing opportunities and future content topics.
Review: Once you are up and running it's important that we constantly review and review again. Within the world of social, it is easy to get instantaneous results and it's therefore easy to understand what is working and what is not. Don't just plough on regardless with things that your audience clearly aren't responding to, learn from what works and repeat to increase engagement and community size.
All of the above may seem pretty obvious but it's amazing how often it's not followed and companies find themselves with dead-end social presences that reflect badly on them.
Hopefully you have found our post insightful and it provides some guidance for your own business. If you still find yourself in the dark though, feel free to get in touch and we'd be happy to chat you through things.