By James Pesta | Mar 25, 2015 10:00:00 AM
Every business owner knows how big a role social media plays in the success of his or her business. But do you know how to get the most out of the time and money you spend on social media? Capital for Merchants has put together this quick guide on how you should be using social media for your business.
First and foremost, you need a plan! How do you see your business utilizing the many different platforms available? How much time and resources do you want to dedicate to being a leader in the social media arena? Each of the following ideas are not specific to an industry, so you may want to consult an expert that focuses on your specific industry and location - things can be drastically different when you factor in those variables. Here are a few things to keep in mind when writing, or modifying your social media plan:
1. Define your audience — This is where you think of your ideal customer(s) and write it down. Be specific with regard to gender, race, age, profession. The more info you can think of, the better. Now expand it a bit - you want to have 3-4 target audiences that will get your messaging at different times, letting you cast a wider net and still be able to figure out what messaging resonates with what customer.
2. Time is money — Never think of time spent tending to your social media accounts as lost time. Even if you just send out a quick post about what new merchandise was just delivered, you never know who will grab their keys and head right over. But if you catch yourself focusing on your social media accounts, and not on your customers, then put yourself on a timer. Experts say you can expect to spend somewhere near a half-hour everyday on your social media accounts.
3. Stay organized — There are a number of social media management tools that will help you track what you said, where, when and why. Many of them will also let you know what customers are saying about you, where, when and why. Many of the most popular management tools offer a free trial, so you’ll be able to take them for a test drive before you make your permanent choice.
4. Be active — Many of your customers will head to the internet before stepping into your store, and questions may arise if you don’t stay active on all of your social media accounts. According to socialmediaexaminer.com here is how your daily activity social media plan should go:
- Post, comment and/or link on three different Facebook pages a day.
- Tweet, or re-tweet 3-5 times per day on Twitter (you can schedule these.)
- Doing a Pinterest board? Pin or re-pin 3 to 5 times a day.
- If your audience is on LinkedIn, be sure to share a link and like other’s links.
5. Dollars make dollars — There are many paid advertising options out there for both the smallest of businesses and the largest of corporations. You’ll just need to find the right one for you. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, among others, offer numerous options to choose from. And they are an excellent way to narrow your messaging to a specific audience. The true advantage of going the paid route is helping you cut through the clutter and position your business as a leader. This may be a scary to some, but the return on investment for paid social media options is worth it.
6. Be in the know — Analytics seems like a foreign word to many business owners, but it's the best way to see how effective your social media efforts are. There are a number of analytics services out there that can help you evaluate the big picture.