15 Apr Social Media Best Practices for Brands: 6 Keys to Getting Started
By: Alyssa Grossman
Social media: anyone with a computer can be an expert in it! Just tweet relevant things a few times a day, share memes on Facebook, and use hashtags, right? Well, not exactly. The more time you spend with social media, the more you realize there are nuances to each platform, and that a one-size-fits-all strategy is rarely the best approach.
The LaunchSquad team knows this firsthand. That’s why we took matters into our own hands to help make sense of it all. After months of hard work and pooled resources, our internal 30-page Social Media Best Practices Guide was born. The “SMBPG” has quickly become a favorite office tool for everything from choosing the right networks to interpreting key metrics.
Now, we’re eager to share the guide’s most useful advice with you. Today marks the start of a series that will walk you through all the ins and outs of making social media work. For now, let’s start at the beginning. Here are the six things we always have on our to-do list when kicking off new strategy or reworking an existing one:
Perform a Social Media Audit
Taking the time to do a social audit will help you better understand what a company’s competitors are up to and what it’ll take to get ahead of the pack. If you’re working with a brand that’s tackled the social media beast before, it’s important to gauge where their strategy is on the success scale. Are followers engaged and joining the conversation or are employees the only ones sharing updates? Ultimately, the results of your audit will help guide your entire social media strategy.
Define Your Program Objectives
Different people and companies use social media for different reasons. Zeroing in on these reasons is a crucial step toward deciding what type of content to share with the world. Are you aiming for thought leadership? After new audiences? Trying to amp up your customer service reputation? All of these goals require a different strategy, so figuring out which you’re after from the get-go will avoid lots of confusion down the road.
Decide What Success Looks Like
Just like your objectives, there’s no singular way to gauge what it means to have a successful strategy. You might be aiming to grow your follower count, build relationships with influencers, refer followers to your blog, or a whole host of other things. You can’t know if you’re doing social media right if you don’t know what “doing it right” means to you. It’s also important to set expectations for how often you’ll be reporting on results. That way, you’ll be motivated to regularly check in on progress and tap into what’s working and what isn’t.
Assess Collaboration Expectations
When there are multiple players involved in executing a social media strategy, it’s important to get everyone on the same page from the get-go. Ask yourself and your team how each person will contribute to the strategy. If you’re working with a client, consider how to incorporate both of your goals and expectations for checking in on progress and reporting results. Maybe you both envision serious collaboration. Then again, perhaps you’ve been asked to take the reigns yourself.
Agree Upon Content Themes and Style
No surprise here: the content itself is one of the most important pieces when laying the groundwork for a long-lasting social media strategy. Before posting anything, agree upon themes and topics. Build out a social media calendar and assign responsibilities to keep it going strong. If keeping your posting style consistent is a top priority, now’s the time to create a social media style guide, too. And last, but certainly not least, determine who will be doing the actual posting.
Choose Your Tools
When it comes to posting, measuring and everything in between, you don’t have to go it alone. There are many trusty tools out there that can help you streamline the process. Some of LaunchSquad’s personal favorites include (but are by no means limited to) Hootsuite for post scheduling, Sprout Social for Analytics and Bitly for link shortening. When building your arsenal of social media tools, consider your individual needs. For example, while there are many tools for post scheduling, their functionalities can vary greatly, so do your research before making a final decision.
Hopefully by now you’re feeling better about your foray into the social media world. Eager for more? We were hoping you’d say that. Stay tuned as we roll out more posts that dive deeper into social media and cover things like choosing the right networks, how to plan your content using an editorial calendar and the wild world of hashtag usage.
Until next time, we’d love to see how you’re making your own social strategy a reality. Connect with us @LaunchSquad and show us what you’ve got.
Image c/o The Drum