A phrase like, “I understand what social media can do for our business and we’re ready to get started” is like music to my ears! But there’s a difference between deciding to implement social media as part of your marketing mix and being ready to implement social media. Before I get started with any client, I like to discuss these following questions with them.
6 Questions to Answer Before ‘Going Social’
- Have you set social media goals? The only way to know if your time and efforts are paying off is to first set specific social media goals. Brand awareness and growing your presence are good starts, but what about increased pageviews, new business leads or conversions through your online store? Whatever your goals are for social media, it’s important to lay those out before getting started.
- Have you established a set of guidelines? Even if you are the only person in your company, you will benefit from spending time deciding how you will interact on social media. Are any topics off limits? What tone and word choice in your language is acceptable? How will you determine what accounts to follow and follow back?
- Are you ready to respond? Social media doesn’t wait! Be prepared to spend a regular, consistent time on your social accounts. Reading and responding to a question or problem someone asked a week ago isn’t much different than not responding to it at all. If someone else is handling your social media for you, consider building an FAQ sheet for them to use as a reference.
- Who is your designated contact to answer questions on the fly? If it’s not you, decide who in your company is the “go to” person to answer questions or requests in the moment. Customers expect a quick response from social brands, so you need to be ready to (re)act.
- What’s your social media plan? There are platforms to be used and content to be shared. But which? For what amounts of time? And what types of stuff? Creating a posting schedule and content calendar will maximize your effectiveness and help you to feel organized with your social efforts. Start a list of websites to visit for content ideas, and consider what days and times during the week you’re customers are most likely to be online.
- Have you added linked social media icons to your website? The best way for your customers to become aware of your social media presence and follow you there is by adding social media icons to your website or blog.
Working through these questions ahead of time will ensure you have a solid plan in place. It also greatly increases the chances that your efforts will be effective, organized and worthwhile. There’s nothing more risky than diving into the deep section of the pool without knowing how to swim.
I think you’ve made a great point. A lot of small businesses jump head first into social media without having a very good idea of what is involved and what they’d like to get out of it. This makes it hard weeks and months later when it’s time to assess if social is “working” for them and whether or not its a worthwhile investment.
I would also suggest planning into the schedule a point to come back and reassess how the plan is working and whether or not it needs adjustment. So much of this process requires patience and experimentation. Even the best of plans can’t account for everything. Deciding that you’ll check in with your stats and your team at regular intervals is essential to streamlining efforts and maximizing benefits.
That’s an excellent tip, Jackie. The ideal plan for one business is going to be different than what works best for another. Experimentation and reevaluation are key!
When I have departments or groups who come to me requesting help with Facebook, the first thing I ask is who will manage it — I tell them exactly how much time is involved at the minimum for a robust community (because I don’t think there’s a point without having some sort of community)…and then I ask them to make me some goals 🙂 Those 2 questions alone can definitely scare them off. Great tips!
Yes – exactly! There are a lot of people and businesses who think, “Let’s do this!” and just jump in. But that’s a whole lot of random, misguided effort if you don’t figure things out first.