Social media is a tremendous opportunity to build your company’s brand, exposure, sales, and customer-loyalty…not necessarily in that order! But regardless, it’s an incredibly important aspect of your overall Online Marketing mix that needs to be handled and looked after by people who are going to take pride in the management and strategy that’s implemented. You need a real rock star running your social media strategy or it won’t be as effective as it should be. Lame people just don’t work for social media! I personally don’t think this aspect of your corporate strategy should be outsourced to an agency (except ours) because the staff they put on the project isn’t likely proactive enough, friendly enough, or customer service oriented enough to do a great job. You social media management is just that important! I have seen countless examples in the past year or so where companies are outsourcing social media when they could do it much better internally with the right people and principles in place. I have put together some social media management principles which should take no more than an hour a day to accomplish and do a tremendous job!
1. First you have to decide what staff you can allocate to the project. Who will be posting and who will be monitoring. You want to coordinate your efforts and ideas. You should meet weekly for a ½ hour and discuss what the strategy is. Make sure they are friendly and outgoing with a really positive, up-beat attitude. Once you have a great social media strategy in place you can start running it like a rock star!
2. Sign up for a Ping.fm account and set-up your Facebook Fan Page and Twitter account to receive the posts. That way you can post once and it will go on multiple social networks. Ping.fm holds over 30 social networks but only a few are really necessary in my opinion. But you should make sure your company is signed up for most of the social networks out there that Ping.fm posts to.
3. Decide how many posts per day and who will be posting them. I recommend 5 a day, but you can do more if you have enough valuable content to share and it’s working well getting people to interact. Posting suggestions:
– 1 unique article a day focusing on tips from your blog (outsource your article writing or write internally). Link to suggested products from the blog post with a special offer or coupon promotion.
– Poll your Fans once a day, ie “What is your favorite thing to do in the Summer?” or “where do you like to travel during your summer vacation?”..stuff like that related to your company niche or in general. Then monitor for replies and Likes. Answer replies and thank for likes immediately. Keep the conversation going every time.
– 1 Featured product post per day from your site or on a service you provide, with a special offer included.
– 1 quote per day from a respected authority in your field. Always ask, “What does everyone think about that?”
– Posting an article from a respected 3rd party source is OK too, as long as it’s not a competitor obviously.
4. Use Hootsuite to monitor the responses to your posts and to respond quicker. It’s a great tool for managing multiple social networking accounts and staying completely on top of all the conversations going on. Response-time is everything! Don’t wait to respond, do it immediately! People love that.
5. Answer all posts by Fans to your wall immediately, including nights and weekend! (It usually take a couple seconds) If you aren’t committed to being there whenever you need to be then find someone that will. It takes 2 seconds to respond to a wall comment or tweet response, so make sure your phone is set-up to notify you of them as they happen so you can be as responsive as possible. Agencies surely won’t be working nights and weekends monitoring and responding. The Internet never sleeps, so don’t put a typical 9 to 5’er on it. Or you can put a few people on monitoring the responses and wall posts, including customer service agents once they are trained how to respond.
6. Run Monthly contests using tools like Wild Fire App and Woobox to build your fans and increase viral sharing. Choose a monthly sweepstakes or contest budget and plan ahead of time to roll it out and do it professionally. Sweepstakes can be sent to all your customers with a nice HTML email stating, “Enter the [companname] May Sweepstakes for a chance to win a $500 shopping spree!” Or whatever prize you think will get people’s attention like an iPad. This should be promoted to your customers via email and on your Order Confirmation page and confirmation email. You can also design a graphic and promote it on your site to capture more visitor information into the sweepstakes or contest. Wild Fire App has a really cool website footer bar that all your site visitors will see so they can enter the sweepstakes or contest. Woobox is nice because people can gain more entries into the sweepstakes by having their friends enter, which makes it go more viral. Sweepstakes and contests are an absolute MUST to build your fans and go viral, otherwise it will grow painfully slowly.
7. Social sharing of blog posts – once a new blog post is added to the site’s blog, set about syndicating it socially. Here is a an article of mine with some content syndication and sharing tips.
8. Facebook Advertising – run a small, controlled Facebook Fan advertising campaign targeting your demographic and competitors companies in Likes and Interests. See how many fans it builds and then scale accordingly. You can NEVER have too many targeted fans. Quality is everything with fans.
9. Interact and Engage – be very proactive your your social media management using every opportunity to interact with fan and engage with them. This is how loyalty is built! Keep up the hype and excitement, there is nothing worse than boring fan page postings.
10. Join Fan Pages – your social media managers should be fans of 100’s of other company’s fan pages themselves so they can get good posting and interacting ideas. Join some of your biggest competitors fan pages and other big brands, since they are usually on the cutting-edge because they have staff and resources to put behind it.
Social media management should be handled in-house by caring, friendly, proactive staff that want to do a great job and represent your company to the fullest. If you outsource this, you are at the mercy of whomever the agency puts on the task and that person may or may not be any good or have a good strategy in place. An internal staff member can definitely do a phenomenal job at managing your social media with a few great strategies in place and a willingness to do a good job for the company. Make sure they have some writing skills and keep tabs on their posts so they are consistently excellent. If you just don’t have the internal resources then you might have to outsource, but otherwise allocate some of your resources to focusing on your social media and watch it grow and be fruitful for you! Thanks and let me know if you have any comments or suggestions. Thanks!