Yes, definitely. Or, maybe not.
Social media is a great tool to add to your marketing toolbox. And, yes, you should most definitely integrate this tool into your marketing plan. But, what social media tools should you use?
First, take a step back and assess your needs. Social media is about creating relationships. You need to learn what matters to your audience and pursue that, not what is easiest for you. If a tool is not appropriate now, revisit it down the road as your strategy changes and evolves.
- Begin by talking with staff to determine the audiences you want to reach. Listen to your existing online audience(s) and find the social media sites that relate to your business’ products and/or services.
- Decide what objectives you want to accomplish using web and social media. For example, do you (1) want to generate content for issue awareness or (2) energize a community to take action?
- Once your chosen tools are implemented, you need to measure your effectiveness using your selected social media tool(s). Measurement is key because you want to use your time efficiently and achieve your business goals. Social media tools provide a wide array of insight into user interactions, demographics, and impressions that should be used to evaluate your objectives, instead of trying to run the social media horse race of just gaining more users.
Be sure to strategize how to use your chosen social media tools.
These tips are about Facebook, but you can apply them to other social media tools as well.
- How do you plan to use your Facebook page?
You might offer commentary, news about your products and/or services, ask questions, share events or provide a special offer.
- How often will the page be updated?
Post too rarely and your followers may lose interest; too frequently and they may become annoyed by the noise.
- How will the page be monitored for feedback and comments?
Monitoring your Facebook page is an essential part of maintaining an online community. To monitor a Facebook page, a staff member can login throughout the day or just receive emails when a user comments, likes, or posts on page.
- Who will be responsible for the page?
Will you depend on one individual to keep up with the site, or will multiple staff members share the duties?
- Create special content around the holidays.
Write a list of all the holidays that suits your project/program. Think beyond major holidays. There are actually days such as Family Fun Monthas well as National Craft Monththat may be a better fit for promoting your program or project.
Now that you have identified your social media tools and have created a plan for implementation, maintenance and measurement, you are on your way to using social media effectively for your business.
As you continue to use and refine social media, here are some thoughts to keep in mind:
- Provide engaging content. Connect with your audience by providing relevant content.
- Give your audience opportunities to connect with you. Include social media links on your web site (on every page), in your newsletters and in your email signature line.
- Think Before Posting. Think carefully before posting online, because most online social platforms are open for all to see. Despite privacy policies, you cannot always be sure who will view, share or archive the information that is posted.
- Demonstrate Respect. When posting anything online, always be fair, courteous and respectful. Always demonstrate proper respect for the privacy of others.