Very often when I talk to prospective clients or peers about their company’s social media strategy, I am met with a look of shame that speaks louder than any status update ever could. To put it simply, many of the people I speak with are insecure, overwhelmed and just plain apathetic about their social media channels.
Even after years of proven marketing potential and the adoption of Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin into nearly every company’s marketing ecosystem, social media remains an elusive and untamed beast for many of them. From a lack of resources, to a lack of understanding about how it works, the business owners and companies I’ve encountered cite a number of reasons why they are ashamed of their social media presence.
Let Go of the Shame
I say, let go of the shame. Whether you haven’t updated your Facebook page in a month or simply have run out of things to say on Twitter, embrace where you are with social media and do the best job you can. Stop reading expert articles that make you feel like a social media loser and stop comparing your Facebook page to Starbucks’.
For many businesses, succeeding at social media marketing should be about setting realistic goals and expectations, achieving the basics, striving to improve and best of all, feeling good about it. I know – it’s crazy!
This post will help you come to terms with what you are capable of, set realistic expectations and give you an idea of the bare minimum that you should be putting into your social media presence. There is one non-negotiable here, however – you must have a presence on social media.
Set Realistic Goals
Depending on your industry and the context of your business, your company will have varying quantities of content to share over your social media channels. For example – a niche B2B company – such as a paint additive manufacturer that’s been in business for 25 years – might not have as much to say as a 24-hour coffee shop that features a new type of homemade pie every day.
Find your sweet spot (pun intended). Pin point how you want to use social media for your business and stick to it. If you want to post about your pies every day, do it! If you only want to talk about your pies when you have the time (once-a-month), do that on the first of every month. Whatever you do, make sure it is realistic and consistent. The most important thing is that it works for you and that it works toward a larger goal of growth, be that fast or slow. Remember – no shame
Enact a Simple Strategy
Once you come to terms with the fact that you are only going to do what you are capable of doing (and not feel bad about it), enact a simple strategy that helps you stay the course. For example, streamline your approach to social media by dedicating one hour a week to schedule all of your status updates for the following week.
If you blog, dedicate a regular date and time to commit to that – say, every Friday. Create a weekly calendar for yourself that includes your blog posts and social media status updates, even if those updates are only once a week. Small organizational tactics will save you time and allow you to more consistently manage your profiles. Again, keep it simple and manageable.
Whatever it is you do, make sure you remember what your core motivation is – only doing what you are capable of. And doing that well.
What is the Minimum?
The first thing to think about here is your customers. Which social media channels do they rely on? What platform will give you the closest access to them online? Hone in on whatever platform that is. If it’s Facebook and you know how to use it, start there. If it’s Twitter, learn the basics. If you’re a local business, your focus should also include Google+ (It recently merged with Google Places and became Google+ Local.)
After you find out what that profile is, complete all of the basic information in the mindset of a customer who is finding you there for the first time. Is your phone number visible? Is there a link to your website? If you’re a local business, are your hours on your Facebook page? Your address? Treat your profile like it’s the only thing your potential customer will see before they decide to give you their business.
Again – the next step is to set an expectation. If you plan on posting a status update once a week, then make sure you stick to that schedule. If you only update your Facebook page once a month (though it’s not much) make sure you are explicit about it. Here’s an example, say you’re a bookstore that receives inventory on the 5th of every month. Why not use Facebook to list the new items you have in stock once a month? Your customers will find that valuable – even if it’s only once a month. But remember, if you set an expectation, then you should consistently follow through. The most important part of this is committing to your efforts, even though they may be small. Your customers will come to rely on that.
There is Always Room to Grow
Part of the process of growing your social media presence is coming to terms with where you are at every given step. You don’t have to do everything all at once. Though you may feel an overwhelming amount of pressure to have 2,000 followers, Likes, Pins – or what have you – overnight, it’s time to stop feeling sorry about the fact that you don’t, and work toward a realistic goal over a period of time.
When leveraged to its fullest potential, social media can be one of the single most powerful tools in your marketing arsenal. However, it can be detrimental to your self-esteem and your confidence when you expect more of social media than you should. Setting realistic goals for growth and succeeding at the level in which you are engaging at each step, will help you stop feeling shame and begin the slow ascent to evolving your social media presence into a well-qualified marketing channel.
We help both large and small clients set goals and objectives for their social presence. Combining realistic expectations with a tailored content strategy, our marketing team sets measurable objectives that boost our clients’ social presence and their morale.
Don’t know where to begin with a social strategy? Contact us and we’d love to give you a no strings attached consultation.
Photo by Hans Gerwitz, and licensed through Creative Commons.
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