I’ve been managing social media for my employer for three years now. This includes Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Who knew that little ol’ me would be the entire media department?
While that might sound flattering, it sure wasn’t at first. I had to learn lots of things the hard way and mainly through trial and error. The place I work for was pretty old school at first. Most of upper management rolled their eyes at the thought of needing a social media manager, yes even with me in the same room, while the president felt strongly that there was a need for this position.
My job consists of PR management as well, so I’m not all SM, but I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned along the way.
Create a social media calendar: Don’t just post as you go. Stay organized and clearly identify your strategy. This conveys a sense of transparency to your employer as well. It will also prevent them from posting if you already have it laid out. Well, for most of you at least. This can be a Google doc, or an Excel file.
Schedule your posts: I usually spend a whole day scheduling all the posts and content on our social media channels. It is time consuming, but scrambling each day is to disorganized for me, especially if you manage several SM accounts. Hootsuite and Later Gram are my go tos.
Check out the competition: Do you want to be different, creative, and unique? Sure. But you also want to know what you’re up against and what other industry leaders are doing. Fan Page Karma is a great tool to use to save time. Here’s a few to shop through as well.
Don’t be selly: Being overly promotional is the fastest way to lose your following in my honest opinion. I get it, this is your objective, but you need a creative execution. Limit these types of posts and make them informal rather than promotional. Share a photo submission, a 5-star review, media mention etc.Use compelling media: Whether you’re making an infographic on Canva or Crello, or using a GIF, really think about what will capture your audience’s attention. I mean, they are fed so much bullshit all day long, what is going to stop them from scrolling and read, listen, or watch? Identify this and deliver.
Capture the office life: Don’t be afraid to share a photo from the Halloween costume contest at work, or the kitten found in the warehouse. This is what makes your page unique. Anyone can post a 4th of July ad.
Hop on the trending hashtags..sometimes: For me, outdoor patio sets and garden tools don’t always pertain to some of these national days, or trending topics. When they do, I use them, but I’ve never seen a big increase in followers or engagement by using them. BUT, using effective hashtags will do the trick. I use HashtagafyMe to pinpoint relevant hashtags and use those instead. Now that I am experienced in the industry, I know what hashtags to use.
Engage! You can’t demand engagement and not reciprocate it. You just can’t. The best way to find your target audience is by commenting on recommended/similar pages. For example, I regularly comment on viral garden design images. Gardeners and designers follow these types of pages and then click on my page. I also respond to the comments on my page, this increases the visibility of my posts among my followers. Take 10 minutes each day and engage, you will see the organic growth in no time.
Figure out what drives engagement: Every SM audience is different. It took me about 6 months to really figure out the days, at which resulted in the most engagement, along with the topics our audience loved. Once I figured that out, I was able to use it to my advantage.
Experiment: As I mentioned above, there is no one day/time/topic, that translates to every brand. You will need to experiment, a lot. Host giveaway, ask questions, publish polls, partner with SM influencers and don’t be afraid to take an L. Behind every loss is a win…eventually.
Set an ad budget: Whether you’re running ads on G+, Facebook or Twitter, you can only get so far organically. It took me over a year to get a social media ad approved by the CEO. I had a budget of $500 and after the analytics came in, social media ads became a regular thing. I’ve also learned that publishing ads through FB Ads Manager supersedes a typical BOOST, any day!
You will need to create reports: The success of your campaigns means nothing unless you lay it out. Your clients/employers don’t notice the engagement, new followers, or sales refered by the social accounts unless you Break. It. Down. Your social networks offer free reporting, or you can use tools such as Icono Square and Simply Measured. I provide a monthly report for my team, but this can be done bi-monthly or quarterly, whichever you feel works for your brand.
So there you have it, here’s my beginner’s guide. Ultimately, progress is better than perfection, so just get started and see what works for you. My brand’s page had less than 300 likes and hardly any engagement when I started. About 9 months later, we had over 12k followers and constant engagement. My biggest accomplishment is cultivating this following with zero ad dollars and without bots! Something uncommon during that time. Bots are pointless, because your social media campaigns should help generate sales, right? Well, artificial intelligence may be advancing, but last I checked, bots do not turn into leads, nor do they generate sales. You need real people and engagement!
Social media is changing daily, and while some may argue that Facebook is dying, there will always be a form of digital communication. Familiarize yourself with it, so that you can confidently represent your brand online.
What else can you add to this list?