Remember when people used to have conversations?
I mean genuine conversations.
And not just conversations with your close friends and family. I’m talking about seeing someone at a game or event or while standing in line and actually talking to them for more than 30 seconds.
Doesn’t it seem odd that social media has made society better connected than ever before, yet the majority of businesses online act like they’re the main attraction and everyone’s interested in learning more about them?
The thing businesses forget about social media is that it’s actually social.
See, social media is most profitable when businesses engage in human interaction and conversation the same way they would in person or on the phone.
If you’re going to interact on social media with your customers and potential customers in a natural, timely fashion, your team needs to know how to do it.
That’s right, your team, the one you already pay. Unless you’re a tiny operation, it is completely possible for your team to manage your company’s social media efforts. After all, if they’re allowed to answer the phone, why can’t they represent your business online?
As basic as this concept may seem, most businesses still aren’t comfortable letting their employees on social media sites during work hours, but it can be very beneficial when executed properly.
If you’re ready to take your social media marketing to the next level by making social media a company-wide initiative, here are 7 steps to take in order to build out a profitable social media strategy:
Start with why.
Every team performs better with motivation. Show them the value of social media and get them excited about the fact that they will have the direct power to grow the business in such a profound way. Here are a few stats to throw out there:
Train them and give them the tools they need.
For most young team members, social media is probably second nature. However, even the most seasoned social media user could benefit from a little social media marketing training.
Although you don’t necessarily want them to become marketers, you do want them to know how to properly convey a message and how it all ties into the branding of the company as a whole. You’ll also want to empower them by showing them how to schedule posts, create engaging (and platform-appropriate) images, and track trending topics on social media.
Another thing you’ll want to focus on is establishing a social media policy for your company. You don’t necessarily have to be bureaucratic about it, but you do need to lay down basic procedures regarding labor relations, miscommunication, confidentiality, spamming, etc. You also shouldn’t have to obsess over creating something from scratch. Chances are you probably have other internal policies in place that cover internet usage, privacy, etc. Go off of those and add necessary provisions that apply specifically to social media activities.
You’ll need to understand more about how to create a social media policy than I can reasonably cover in this article, but here’s a great article that’ll help walk you through the process of creating a social media policy.
Create a strategy and set goals.
Once you lay the groundwork and get your team trained, you don’t want them wondering around posting aimlessly on social media. Give them direction by determining and communicating who exactly your target audience is and what success on social media looks like.
Start by creating buyer personas, to paint a picture of who your company is specifically talking to on social media. I won’t go into too much detail on personas and avatars, but think of your most die-hard customers, the ones you seem to help more than anyone else, and write down everything about those few customers.
This will help guide you and your team in determining which type of content to post and share.
Next determine your company’s goals on social media. Measure the amount of current engagement on social media as well as the amount of traffic, leads, and sales generated from different social channels currently. Then figure out where the company should reasonably be in one year, 6 months, 3 months, and 30 days.
Having long-term and short-term goals will not only hold everyone accountable, but it will motivate team members by showing them the potential of their social media contribution.
Lastly, write your strategy and goals down. Studies have shown that companies without a written strategy do immensely worse than those with one. It’s not a difficult step once the previous steps have been completed, so take the extra time it takes to document everything.
Create a hub for social media ideas for the company account.
You’ll need a central location for team members to submit and upload social media ideas. Giving every person within the company the ability to contribute to the company’s social media account increases enthusiasm and makes the content/community manager’s job much easier.
You can use Google Drive or Evernote to share basic ideas, or you can use Trello to share and organize in-depth ideas, upload attachments, create comments, assign due-dates, and more. Trello’s free and it has a mobile app, so it’s a pretty good tool to use for social media campaign organization.
Empower them to post on their own accounts.
Team members should have the authority to post on their own social media accounts about topics pertaining to the business. Of course, you’ll want to make sure that a good company social media policy and training is in place in order to avoid blunders, but overall each team member should “tell the brand’s story” from their perspective.
Encourage posting pictures of company events and gatherings, as well as relevant stories about company successes. Case studies and testimonials are always great to share, and coming from a person rather than a company will add authenticity.
Empowering your team to speak about the company on a more personal level will give your business a personality on social media and increase brand awareness exponentially.
Keep it light.
Dont make social media activity mandatory. In my experience, making almost anything mandatory takes the joy out of it. Instead, give them reminders encouraging them to take part.
Reinforce the “why” behind social media and show them the value they bring with each post and engagement. Of course, you should have a social media manager or community manager to oversee the social initiatives, but others should do it on a voluntary basis.
The ultimate reinforcer to social media activity is analytics and progress reports. Show the team exactly what their efforts have done for the company and use that data during reviews and when giving promotions.
When your team sees that their activities have directly impacted the bottom line of the business, and therefore their own bottom line, they will not only be more motivated to continue their efforts on social media, but they’ll also be more loyal and passionate due to feeling a sense of purpose within the company.
Not sure how to track social media ROI? You can use Google Analyics to get basic website data and traffic sources or you can get more in-depth analysis by using tools like HubSpot, Salesforce, and Marketo. You can also measure success using Hootsuite Analytics.
For more information on how you can measure the ROI of your social media efforts, check out these resources:
The bottom line is this: Social media cannot and will not grow your business effectively as long as it’s being used as a company megaphone. Social media is more than just a task to be done every day and checked off a to-do list. It takes a ton of time and commitment to really get it right. After all, social media is social, meaning it’s back and forth and ongoing.
In order to truly see results from social media, you need a team who understands what the company stands for and how to convey that message in a natural way.