Maintaining a successful online presence is a process involving a lot of effort, time and thought and as time progresses often gets neglected or becomes lower down in a business’s list of priorities, especially if an immediate return on your efforts is not seen. It’s at that point that follower/ subscriber levels go flat, consistency with posting doesn’t happen anymore and your profiles go stagnant. However time and time again you will read and hear that the key is to keep going during this time and keep it one of your top priorities as there are so many benefits for your business in maintaining consistent and engaging social media platforms. The good news is that in most cases all it takes is a simple social media clean up that will breathe new life back into your social media marketing and have you once again reaping the benefits of getting social on the web.
1. Reassess your social media objectives
The first step to breathing new life back into your social media marketing is to consider your overall objectives for your social media efforts and whether they are still relevant and achievable for your business. Specifically, similar to when you first developed your marketing strategy you need to ask yourself ;
- What you’re trying to achieve through the use of social media? Is it still to drive sales? Build an audience etc.?
- If your social media objectives are aligned with those of your business?
Here are some objectives commonly identified by small businesses:
- Build your brand
- Attract new customers by driving traffic to your social media page or company website.
- Support sales by answering prospects’ questions and showing them how to use your products or services.
- Establish yourself as a thought leader
- Provide better customer service
It’s important to make your social media objectives are as specific and up to date as possible to ensure that later down the line you are measuring the right metrics appropriately.
2. Evaluate whether your social media audience has changed.
As social media evolves, so too does the platforms and audiences using them. Therefore it is vital to maintain a clear idea of who your target readers are and whether these are the ones that are active and engaging with you on your social media platforms. If you find they are not, then you need to reconsider your target audience or reassess your social media presence.
3. Examine what your competitors are doing on their social media platforms
If a quick look to your competitors profiles show they are doing well, then that creates a great opportunity for you to learn from them and then apply that to your own efforts. The goal with examining your competitors is to not only keep up to date with and keep an eye on your competition but also to gather information that you can transform into useful marketing tactics for yourself. When examining you need to keep in mind;
- What social media platforms are your competitors using and performing well in?
- How engaged are their followers and what are their follower counts?
- What type of information are they sharing and when do they share it?
- Do they appear to have greater activity and engagement than you? (although bear in mind that this cannot tell you whether this activity translates into sales)
- Are they taking advantage of the latest changes on existing platforms? Are they doing anything new that you haven’t considered doing?
4. Evaluate whether the platforms you are focused on are the right ones for you.
When many businesses start out there is always the temptation to get set up on every social media platform in the hopes that they can be seen by everyone, everywhere. Unfortunately in most cases this leads to brands being stretched too thin over several platforms and ultimately leaves them without the content, time and resources to keep their content valuable and interesting and keeping their fans engaged. It is at this point that their efforts become useless. It is much better to therefore be on a few platforms and performing really well than to be everywhere inconsistently, so it is vital that you really research what platforms are best for you and your business and assess that the ones you are on are working for your business.
In order to know what platforms are best for your business you need to ask these questions;
- Is the social media platform the one where your customers and competitors are active?
- How many users are there? Do the users fit your target profile?
- Does it host the most appropriate media type?
- What do you aim to achieve with the platform? Is it SEO, customer engagement etc.
- What skills do you need to maximise it? E.g. Video creation skills for YouTube
5. Conduct a Social Media Health Check on Your Current Social Media Presence.
Conducting a social media health check of your overall presence is the best way to help and guide you back on track and refocus your efforts and make sure you are using social media effectively for your business. If you are not sure where to start, when I conduct social media health checks I focus on three main areas; branding, integration and content. When assessing your profiles it is worthwhile to put together a list of questions to use as a guide for your evaluation;
- Are your profiles complete?
- Do you have exclusive profiles for your brand?
- Are your profiles well branded and consistent?
- Are all social media profiles integrated?
(For each platform e.g. website, Facebook go through and ask these questions)
- Is the profile/ page/Cover photo appropriate?
- Is the ‘about’ section completed and effective, with the URL clearly displayed?
- Are you popular?
- Are you sharing a mix of links, photos, status updates etc. each week?
- Do posts start conversations and encourage engagement?
- Are the posts offering readers something valuable or useful?
- How often is it updated?
- Are you engaging back with fans?
- What feedback do you get from followers concerning the posts? What are they saying about it? What do they complain about? What do they praise?
The conclusions you then make from this health check can then show you areas in your social media efforts that are in need of improvement.
6. Ensure whether your content is still engaging, varied and delivers what the audience wants.
Since content marketing fuels social media, you must ensure that you are still creating content that interests, engages and offers something valuable to the reader. When creating content you must have in mind;
- Who is my target audience?
- What kinds of specific solutions/answers/information are my customers looking for?
- How do they prefer to consume their content?
- What do I want to be known for?
- How do they access content?
- What are the results that I want to achieve?
7. Establish a social media calendar for engagement and content sharing
Do you have a schedule or routine for interacting on social media? If not, you’ll find that a month goes by and no one’s updated your social media presence and therefore your business isn’t moving forward and you are not utilising social media effectively as a marketing tool. It’s critical to have a streamlined method for collecting, sharing and interacting as deciding on what major content categories you want to include regularly helps you to stay focused and maintains a clear direction for your posts to go in order to ensure your content is in line with your business goals and is targeting reader’s needs. Part of this process is also to determine how often you will post new content on your platforms as having a clear schedule of when you will be posting is paramount in order to ensure it is in line with your wider social media strategy.
8. Measure appropriate social media results
Are you achieving your social media objectives? And is your campaign working for you? The answers to these questions all rely on you identifying the right metrics to measure to be able to continuously evaluate your success or failure and make improvements accordingly.
It is your business goals that will determine the metrics you should be measuring, and be aware that your campaign is cyclical in nature so if you find your campaigns not performing well on your metrics, you need to go back to the drawing board to rework your strategy.