Before you go on the hunt for a professional social media management consultant you need to decide what it is that you expect your social media to achieve. A professional consultant will introduce you to new ideas, however you should have a clear understanding as to why you are using social media in the first place.
Hint: it’s not because everyone else is doing it.
Setting your objectives
Let’s establish a social media fact before going any further: increasing your follower or fan count is absolutely meaningless unless those followers are genuine and engaged by your updates or tweets.
If all you hope to achieve is a lot of followers then you are missing the point of social media. Not only that, you are also wasting considerable time trying to win the type of popularity contest usually only of interest to teenagers or the insecure. Even if your target audience is teenagers, a huge follower count is not a great measure of success or even useful.
So what are some examples of goals to set for your social media efforts? Here are a few:
- Increased acquisition of new leads or even conversions.
- To provide fresh leads to your automated marketing cycles.
- Increasing your email newsletter subscribers.
- Increasing engagement – comments, likes, shares etc..
- Increasing traffic to your lead generating content.
You get the point. So let’s look at a few ways to get and stay on track…
Connect to your business objectives
This is crucial if you are serious about making social media a useful channel for your organisation.
Your business objectives should guide everything you do. Your social media activity is no different. Give every update that you post a reason for being beyond just keeping your accounts active. Always ask yourself “what is this post going to achieve”.
Most business goals can be mapped to online conversions of one type or another so make sure you have some sort of conversion measurement in place. A social media management consultant should be thoroughly across website and app analytics so make sure they are tracking the results for your social activity.
Remember, follower counts are pretty meaningless compared to engagement. So, make follower numbers the least important metric when analysing your results.
Be socially active
You should try to communicate with your fans and followers as much as possible. Never let the ‘social’ element fade into just another buzzword. Listen, comment, respond, ask, share, re-tweet – engage!
Social media is a two-way communication paradigm so don’t use it to simply make announcements or to blow your own horn either. People didn’t follow you to see a bunch of ads clog up their timelines. They want your insights.
Whether you use a consultant, or have your own people in-house responding to the interaction with your accounts, make sure your followers know someone is at your end listening and responding. If someone takes the time to comment, recognise that with a like or reply. Don’t leave them hanging. That one click could buy you a lifetime of loyalty.
Keep this is mind too – if nobody representing your business is listening then how will you know if there is negative sentiment being passed around about your organisation? As the old adage says “the first step to dealing with a problem is recognising that you have one”.
Avoid the follower obsessed
When reaching out to influencers and followers that may be genuinely interested in your products or services, avoid those who follow more than a couple hundred accounts. Nobody can seriously monitor hundreds let alone thousands of account updates so these people are of no use to your organisation. They will never read, re-tweet, share, comment or like what you post on social media.
Also, avoid those with an equal or almost equal. relatively speaking, number of fans compared to their number of likes. People who maintain this sort of balance are typically using software to ensure they only follow people who follow them. Again, useless. These people aren’t genuine social media users.
If you must set your social media consultant the goal of boosting your follower numbers then don’t judge them purely by the increase. The objective should be to attract influencers and active social media users who will follow you because they want to hear what you have to say, and will hopefully redistribute your content.
I sincerely believe that 5 genuine social media followers who read and with engage your content will help you achieve more than 50,000 followers who don’t ever look at what you are posting.
Measuring the results
There are numerous ways that you can measure the results for all the time and effort you are putting into social media. Most platforms offer native analytics where you can see how your posts and updates have performed, along with a bunch of other useful metrics.
A professional social media consultant should delve much deeper than the high level analytics reports however. For example, I like to look at the role social media plays as a conversion channel using different attribution models. This answers question such as:
- Did social media start any conversion processes?
- Was a social media touch point the last before conversions took place?
- Did social media play a supporting role in getting people to convert?
Questions like these can be answered using tools such as Google Analytics.
Of course, the top social media platforms offer advertising too so if you are using any of the paid options then measuring the results is very important. Even a simple sponsored post or tweet can be analysed for insights into your readers and followers.
Managing your social media plan
Social media is not something that exists in isolation. When we are looking at an overall online marketing strategy we see social media as just one of the tools we can utilise. So, social media must be managed within the broader context of your digital marketing strategy.
If the person in charge of your social media is simply posting or scheduling posts to your accounts then they were made redundant by apps years ago. This is not social media management.
Instead, your manager or consultant should be charged with keeping your social media plan on track and making the necessary adjustments when the need arises. They should also be on the look-out for opportunities or threats that may emerge during the course of your campaigns. Social media marketing may also be part of their remit.
Co-ordinating social publishing work-flow
Depending on the number of people involved in publishing social content you may need to establish an editorial or approval process to make sure there is no duplication, and that your particular style or voice is maintained.
If you decide to implement an approval process then make sure it is streamlined. You don’t want timely social content to be wasted by missing the opportune moment to get a message out.
There are a number of paid social media account management tools that make this process easier and they are certainly worth the cost when managing teams. Most social media tools also provide additional reporting so that you can get an idea as to what works best on your audience. Remember, we want to encourage engagement!
If you haven’t already, start to focus your social media towards engagement and look to form partnerships or relationships with active social users. Don’t be afraid to share other people’s content if it is likely to be of interest to your followers. This is what powers real social activity on the internet.
Forget the people who follow a huge number of accounts. They have lost focus and are simply in it for the ego boost. You are not on point if you follow that philosophy.
If you have muted anybody, for whatever reason, why are your following them? These accounts are the first that you should cull from those that you follow.
There are a myriad of reasons why social media is well worth the investment in time and money to make it success. Whatever your reasons, stay focused and always keep one eye on what really matters – engagement.