When creating a social media presence for a new brand, or enhancing one for an established brand, it’s important to have a blueprint. If the foundation isn’t (or wasn’t) laid properly, there’s no point in continuing to build on it. It’s all going to crumble eventually.
Diving headfirst into a trendy new social platform to test and discover is smart. Using that same approach when developing a comprehensive social media presence is dangerous. There’s too much at stake for the reputation of your brand to just start posting. And your customers and prospects deserve better.
5 steps to a sound social media presence
As you consider these, note that decisions made in earlier steps will affect the options in later steps.
1. Start from within
> Identify your brand’s overall purpose for using social media. What value will you offer your followers? What are your goals and objectives?
> Create a social media policy for employees. In a simple and clear way, outline how they can engage with the brand through social channels, and empower them to do it. Having connected employees can help employee retention and increase your social media “reach.” An internal policy can also reduce risk for the organization (especially in regulated industries).
> Gain organization-wide support. When social media is embraced at all levels of the organization, it’s much more likely to have an impact for your brand.
2. Look the part
> Select the most appropriate social media channels for your brand. Have a presence on any channel that your target audience uses on a regular basis. Also consider where others within your industry are having success.
> Create quality, consistent branding across your social media channels. If someone follows you on Twitter, would they recognize your brand if they stumbled across your Instagram account? Also, PLEASE use images that are the correct size and resolution for each channel.
3. Have a relevant story
> Prove that you understand your customers and prospects by posting content they care about. Interact with them. Help them.
> Offer a variety of content types (text, links, pictures, video, infographics, etc.)
> Determine when the best days and times to catch them on each social media channel are.
4. Tell the world
> You have your house in order, you look the part and you’ve got great content to share. Now, be sure everyone knows it’s there. Make it easy for people to find you social channels from your website, emails and any other type of digital communication you use.
> Are there influential people or clients who believe in what you do that could tell their following about the great content you have to offer?
> Be patient. If you’ve got steps 1, 2 & 3 down, your audience will find you.
5. Listen, learn and adjust
> Monitor your accounts to learn what’s working and what isn’t.
> Identify and track the key performance indicators (KPIs) most relevant to the goals and objectives you set in step 1.
> Stay current on latest social media trends, channels and apps.
> Adjust your strategy based on all the input you gather.
Note: This step is an ongoing process. You’re never “finished” with this step.
These five steps are key for any brand that’s serious about its social media presence. Did you identify any opportunities for your brand?