You've created a killer Facebook business page, started building up your business' Twitter following, installed company status updates on your LinkedIn Company Page, and maybe you've even created a Google+ Page . In short, you’ve done the basics and are already maintaining a presence in the social media communities your target audience populates. Now what? It's one thing to be present in your social media communities , but it’s another to engage and successfully manage the communities your brand maintains to achieve your marketing goals.
7 Tips for Successfully Managing Your Social Media Communities
1. Exercise the 80/20 rule. We’ve all heard the 80/20 rule applied to business, but it should also apply to your social media communities. When it comes to messaging, 80% of the time, you should be sharing non-promotional content. The other 20% of time, promote your brand’s butt off. You do need to promote that free trial, get people to that event, and show the ROI of your social media efforts. However, you’re not going to achieve that ROI by constantly touting your products and services rather than focusing on the needs of the community at large. To improve community engagement overall, try posting in other forums, commenting on other people’s blogs (who may be in your community, or who you want in there), and/or guest blogging for other prominent blogs in your industry in order to increase the value of your community involvement overall.
2. Encourage internal involvement. You may have a blog, which has some traction and a few subscribers who think your blog provides insightful advice and tips. Smart blog managers, however, understand the importance of keeping their blog updated with fresh content on a regular and consistent basis to keep their blog visitors engaged. But as a busy marketer, how do you ensure a steady flow of content without sacrificing your other marketing channels? The key to success is enlisting internal involvement – a team that helps to provide content, share it with their networks, and truly support the value of the strategy behind it.
Managing multiple contributors from your team can be difficult at times, especially when it comes to strict deadlines for submission and publication. Use a third-party tool like HootSuite to help you manage multiple team contributors to one social media account. Create and stick to a blogging editorial calendar as much as possible, but allow room for agility, revisions, and always have some content in your back pocket to fill in the gaps when needed. To keep contributors on task, consider creating a blog topic/ideas pool, assigning content topics, and allowing teammates to focus on topics that play to their strengths as much as possible. For example, if a contributor is better at design that writing, consider asking them to focus on creating visual content like infographics or cartoons instead.
3. Balance time appropriately. It's not always easy to balance the time you spend on different social networks. However, a great way to balance it more efficiently is to base your time allocation on your analytics -- how each individual social network performs for your business. While you might think you need to maintain a presence on every major social network, you should really let your analytics be your guide . If you're not generating visits and leads from Twitter but Facebook is performing well, for example, focus less time on your Twitter presence and more on Facebook. This way, you can ensure that you're spending your time efficiently rather than stretching it across multiple social networks.
4. Share remarkable, targeted content based on needs/interests of individual communities. Without remarkable content, your brand will have nothing valuable to share, and your community members will either dwindle, flock elsewhere, or not even bother to participate in the first place. This content should not only be remarkable, but it should also be easily shareable so your community members can expand its reach by sharing it with connections in their networks.
In addition, try to tailor your content and messaging to the specific needs and wants of each specific social media community. For example, if LinkedIn is where your community is more engaged in discussion regarding industry topics, than focus your time on sharing industry-related content and discussion on that platform. Furthermore, you might find that your Facebook fans are generally more interested in event and webinar invites, and your Twitter followers might appreciate quick snippets of valuable product info. The key is to test and determine what types of content appeal to which social media community. You might find that there are similarities between each platform, or that your communities value completely unique types of content. Test and optimize!
5. Schedule social media content. So you've created all this great content but, of course, you're swamped with all your other marketing tasks. How do you make sure you populate your different social media accounts with the right content at the right time? Scheduling social media content updates ahead of time can be an effective way to do this so you don’t even have to sweat it!
Next time you write an awesome blog post that you think will wow the pants off a particular social media community, use a third-party tool like HootSuite or HubSpot's social media tool to schedule which content you'd like to distribute on what channels and when. Additionally, it helps if you have a well-organized editorial calendar that organizes which content you want to publish where so you can track frequency and efficiency. Just be careful not to schedule all of your social media updates. Monitor your social media presence daily so you can participate in discussion, respond to your communities' conversations, and track their reactions to the content you share.
6. Optimize for lead generation. All of your social media participation will be all for naught if you're not optimizing your presence with the goal of lead generation . After all, if you're spending valuable marketing time in social media and your team's goal is to generate leads, what's the point of a social presence that doesn't support lead gen? Optimize your social media presence for lead generation by mixing in links to downloadable content, crafting clear and enticing calls-to-action, and using social media real estate to drive community members back to targeted landing pages on your website where you can capture them as leads.
7. Implement goals and track success metrics. The best way to know how successfully your social media presence is performing is to measure often and accurately. Use marketing analytics to conduct weekly and monthly audits and to track key success metrics that measure things like engagement, visits, and leads. Pay attention not only to the growth of your community on each social network, but also to the posts that are generating the most interaction to understand which community appreciates which content.
Use analytics tools provided both by the individual social network (e.g. Facebook Insights ) as well as your marketing analytics tool to understand how well individual social networks are referring traffic, leads, and customers to your website. The key is to observe often, track regularly, and determine what caused the spikes and dips. Then you can ensure you are giving your community the content they truly want, and in return, you’ll be more effective at converting community members into business leads and customers!
What other tips can you share for stellar social media community management?