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In an ideal world, your business would employ a dedicated Social Media Manager, who’d be able to invest all of his or her time into building your social profiles and interacting with your community in order to reap the SEO and conversion rate benefits that are associated with a strong social presence.
Of course, this is the real world! In most cases, social sharing duties are handled by a disparate group of people – all of whom are tackling social media responsibilities in addition to their already-existing full-time jobs.
And while this all-too-common scenario is a reality for many businesses, it’s important to recognize that this type of incongruent social media management can have consequences. From the inability to achieve a consistent, cohesive social voice to the heightened potential for social media mistakes – not to mention the difficulty associated with maintaining a positive campaign ROI when social media investments are spread across multiple teams – it’s obvious that all companies need to have a plan in place in order to manage social sharing duties effectively.
1 – Assess the ROI of existing social profiles
Too many organizations attempt to bite off more than they can chew when it comes to social media. And really, it’s not hard to fall into this trap, given how quick digital marketing websites are to trumpet the “next big social network” that all businesses *must* be a part of.
Unfortunately, this can lead to a social media campaign that’s stretched too thin by attempting to connect on as many platforms as possible – rather than focusing on a few well-chosen networks that give these businesses the best chance of connecting deeply with their target customers.
If you see that your company is struggling to keep up with all the different social profiles you’ve created, or if you’re seeing the low engagement rate that’s characteristic of trying to do too much with too few resources, it’s imperative that you take a step back and assess where your efforts will be best allocated.
To learn how to measure social media ROI, take a look at our past article, “Measuring the ROI of Your Social Media Campaigns” and apply the principles found there to your own social profiles. If you find that certain networks result in significantly higher conversion rates or other types of engagement, don’t be afraid to cut back your investment on other networks in order to focus on these higher priority sites.
Now, if you’re a new company without an existing social media marketing strategy to measure, take a look at the sites on which your target audience members are spending the most time and select a few to invest your marketing efforts into. Don’t be concerned about building a presence on every single social network right off the bat – instead, allow your social investment to grow organically as the result of success on a few select networks.
2 – Create a defined social sharing plan
Once you know which social profiles you’ll focus your marketing efforts on, develop a social sharing plan and put it down in writing.
You’re probably already pretty familiar with the phrase, “What gets measured gets managed” – but this sentiment definitely applies here. Saying, “We’re going to invest in social media marketing” is a very different thing than saying, “We’re going to post three new status updates to Facebook every day, featuring a new blog post, a thought-provoking question and a product promotion.”
Having a defined plan gives you something to measure your successes against, as well as something that can be used to hold responsible team members accountable for when it comes to campaign implementation.
Ideally, your social sharing plan should include all of the following details:
- What your goals are for your social media marketing campaigns
- Which networks you’ll post to
- How often you’ll post
- What types of updates you’ll post (as in, personal versus promotional posts)
- How you’ll interact with social profile followers
- How you’ll handle social network customer service requests
- How social media marketing ROI will be managed
- Who will be responsible for handling these duties
- What repercussions will be assessed if your plan isn’t met
- How mistakes that deviate from your company’s plan will be handled
Above all, when crafting this plan, be reasonable. If you’re a small business without a dedicated marketing department, don’t put down that you’ll spend several hours each day monitoring your social profiles for customer interactions.
At the same time, though, don’t be afraid to push yourself a little bit in order to stick with a regular posting plan. The best benefits of social media marketing come from consistent interactions over time, so be sure to give your plan the teeth needed to be sure it’s fully implemented!
3 – Assign plan responsibilities to a single person or department
As you’re drafting your social posting plan, pay special attention to the person or department that becomes responsible for carrying out your digital interactions. Plenty of small businesses fail to centralize these responsibilities with a single person or department, which leads to internal confusion and a disjointed online voice.
Generally, social sharing duties best tie into the responsibilities of sales or marketing teams, making these employees the most logical choice for carrying out your social media marketing plans. However, if these team members lack the time, skills or inclination to interact effectively in digital communities; don’t be afraid to look elsewhere within your business.
Indeed, you might be surprised to find an administrative assistant whose strong personal social networks give her the experience needed to conduct company interactions on these platforms. Or, if you find that a member of your IT department is looking for new skills to develop, this option may ultimately be a better fit.
Whatever arrangement you decide to implement, be sure that the additional time and resources needed to manage your company’s social media profiles are documented in the job descriptions of the employees who will be carrying out these duties – along with a corresponding reduction in other tasks, as needed. Don’t simply expect your chosen employees to handle your social profiles on top of their other responsibilities. In order to see the best results, it’s imperative that your social posters be given the time needed to carry out the tasks you’ve identified as priorities.
4 – Make plan revisions as necessary
Once you’ve set up a social sharing plan for your company, go ahead and launch it – but also put a monthly reminder on your calendar to go back and evaluate how well it’s performing.
Really, it’s easy to get excited about the power social media marketing has for both B2B and B2C businesses. Unfortunately, this often leads to overly-ambitious plans that are doomed to failure within their first few months.
If you find yourself in this situation, don’t feel discouraged. Failing to stick to your plan doesn’t mean that you’ve failed at social media marketing altogether – it just means that you need to realign your priorities. By taking the time to regularly analyze whether you’re on track with your stated goals (as well as whether or not your stated goals are having the desired impact on your bottom line), you’ll increase the odds that your company’s growing social presence has a meaningful impact on your overall business objectives.