The new marketing frontier for promoting businesses and individuals is social media. Even if your PR or Marketing department is doing a terrific job online, it’s hard for any C-level executive to lead the digital revolution from an analog position! If you’re not already active on social media, it’s time to saddle up and ride the beast. Maybe you’re already on several platforms, but you feel ineffective or uneasy about it all. Here’s an old-school rundown of what you need to do to be present, positive, and effective for both you and your organization on social media.
Why – First you have to define your mission, why are you creating an online presence? Define the audience you’re targeting (customers, fellow business leaders, potential investor, prospective employer, or other), and the effect you want (brand loyalty, personal or corporate networking, investor interest, buzz for new products/services, career advancement). Keep your organizational branding in mind for corporate content and if your purpose is even partly for self-promotion, develop a personal brand to help guide you in choosing what content is appropriate.
Who – If you are short on time, select an assistant to help coordinate your social media efforts. You can engage someone from your organization, or a private assistant to upload, schedule, and track your social media presence. Be sure to choose someone you trust with your personal and corporate reputation, not too young or impulsive (an intern without ties or loyalties), a mistake made by many before you.
Where – There are a dozen or more social media platforms. When you’ve identified your why, you’ll know who you want to reach. LinkedIn is the premier business to business platform, Facebook is universal for both social and organizational messaging, Vine and Snapchat skew younger toward teens and twenties, Pinterest has been used effectively for product introduction and brand loyalty purposes. Twitter is broadly used by those who are high-tech and media savvy, Instagram is highly visual with an audience similar to Facebook. You or your social media team can investigate which software you prefer to handle creation, scheduling, and monitoring posts across multiple platforms to help you maintain a consistent but not redundant presence online.
What – Decide on content based on your why and where, as that will affect what you post. Photos, short questions or statements, video, interviews, the possibilities are endless. Even on a no-cost budget there is plenty of opportunity for creative, interesting content when using the smart phone you already own. Large organizations have found success offering a mix of professionally produced original content with news, shares, and casually produced content by organization teams and leaders.
How often – Post new content weekly, at least. Original content is the most valuable but you can supplement with shared content. Offer your audience something new at least once a week to keep you on their minds. If you use scheduling software, you can use a block of your time to create content weekly, monthly or quarterly, then schedule the release of each new post. Make social media a part of your schedule and it won’t get overwhelming.
How to grow – Suggest likes and shares to friends, colleagues, and associates. Aside from that kind of organic growth, do consider a small budget for paid promotion of your social media, it’s become a very effective form of advertising. More people are on Facebook and Twitter than watch network television, so paying for “sponsored” posts makes good sense when you can target a very large group of your preferred audience.