You finally ended your long search for the right team member or agency to manage your social media and make it awesome. They can do the things you want at the budget that works for you. And yes they got down to business right away, posting like the world is going to end tomorrow.
Well, maybe not so great!
You have just put your brand, reputation, and the future of your business in great danger. And unless you are paying attention, you may be paying money to lose business, market share and brand value!
So what are the things you may be doing wrong and how can you fix them right away?
1. Post First… Think Later:
Did your social media person/agency get to work right away? Was the main priority to have some posts, tweets and videos out there?
The good news is: you are moving ahead with your social media. The bad news is: you maybe going in the wrong direction!
Any social media activity that is not based on a clear social media strategy/plan, in line with your business strategy/plan, is just a waste of time, energy and money.
You might argue “I’m getting results.” But compared to what? Do you have any idea what is possible, the results that you could have gotten if you followed a strategy/plan?
Most importantly, when the results stop coming or slow down, what are you going to do? Is there a plan to review, are there priorities to focus on? Or are you going to do what almost everyone else does: declare that the person/agency are no longer doing a great job, and it is time to look for the next right person/agency!
Just because social media is a relatively new field, does not mean that basic business practices do not apply. You need to start by setting clear goals for your social media activity, then work with the person/agency on a strategy to achieve them.
Ask your social media person/agency for milestones and key performance indicators. Review progress on a weekly basis. And review the effectiveness of your strategy on a monthly basis.
2. Me, Myself & I:
Take a look at your social media account right now, is it all about you and your business?
Are you boasting about how great your service is? How delicious your specials are? And what a great experience you offer?
Is your logo on every post? Are you using the trending buzz words of your industry? Does your writing sound smooth, slick and smart?
Congratulation!… Your social media is just another advertising channel that no one cares about. Except you that is!
There is nothing social about a social media presence that revolves around you. It needs to be about your customers, the people you are reaching out to. It needs to be a place where they can engage in a conversation with you.
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What do they think about? What do they need? What is their life about? And what matters most to them?
Write down everything you can think of. Share it with your social media person/agency. Ask them to search for ideas, things, thoughts and topics that link to your business in one way or the other. Now you can ask them to start posting about these topics.
Your social media person/agency must be able to create uncommon links between what your customers care about and your business. They can also use questions to find out what your customer want and care about, and how it relates to what you do.
You would be surprised of the willingness of your customers to help you build your business and make it better, if only you were to ask them and get out of the way.
Trying a variety of different posts, different topics and different styles, at the start of the work, combined with the use of analytics, will help you find out which posts, topics and styles are generating more customer engagement.
PS: while the link to your business need not be clear, there must be a link. Cat videos are cute, however, unless you are a pet shop, an animal rights activist, a cat food manufacturer, or any other business that is somehow related to cats, you will just attract a lot of cat lovers, that will end up being disappointed and disengage when you get no response when sharing your next post about the new corporate tax law that you can help companies work with!
3. Yes Sir:
Is your social media person/agency agreeing with everything you say? Are they saying yes to every request? Are they making you feel like a king and that you are always right?
You are in deep trouble…
Your social media person/agency are supposed to be the experts, not you. They have the advantage of an outsider’s view point, and they are capable of guiding you and helping you.
While the people you work with must be great listeners. Your role stops at sharing your industry knowledge, your findings and discoveries about your customers. Then it is time to listen to them, give them permission to disagree with you and ask them clearly to lead the work. That is why you are paying them.
Let them do what they are good at. Demand that they stand up for what works best, not for what goes with your way. Settle for no less than heated discussions where they strongly disagree with you.
Once you agree on the goals, it is up to them to figure out the strategy, to present you with a plan of action. As long as everything is in line with your brand and your company values, and unless there is something that threatens the very existence of your business, let them be.
Focus on progress reviews on a weekly basis, don’t call every day, and do not comment on every detail.
I hope that these basic principles give you some insight on how to start on the right foot, and move forward towards a social media presence that supports your business and strengthen your brand.
As much as these apply to an external agency, freelancer, or external expert, they also apply to your internal social media team.
Would love to hear from you, your ideas, feedback, experience, and questions on this topic and this article.
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