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5 Keys to an Effective Social Media Program

(updated 2020)

5 Keys to an Effective Social Media Program

Although most brand communications are viewed as positive interactions, a significant error can be embarrassing, at minimum, and generate negative publicity, at maximum. To avoid critical errors, business owners that chose to engage on social media should be vigilant, and implement measures that help them to effectively monitor and control their brand’s image. 

Key 1: Create and Communicate a Strategy
As with all philosophies, your whole organization should understand, adhere to, and aid in the achievement of the social media usage goals. Whether the strategy is to not have a strategy, and to avoid social media use during work hours, or the strategy is to devote an entire department to the management of social media, stakeholders should be aware of the organization's approach.  If you will have a  social media department, everyone should be aware of the acceptable tactics, responsible team member(s), the budget, the desired return, and the actual results of social media efforts, to keep everyone on the same page. 

Key 2: Review Communications Before Distribution
Don't underestimate the power of a good read. Too many typos, too many grammatical mistakes, too little substance, or too little engagement will annoy as opposed to inspire fans, followers, and subscribers. You may get a pass for a bad day, but a consistent pattern of poorly structured communications and consumers will begin to question the quality of your product and the value of your service. 

Our goal is not to create doubt, but to confirm for them that they made the right choice, and to encourage them to return.

Although companies large and small are adopting the use of social media for their marketing campaigns, many are forgetting to consider the risks inherent in having a social media presence. 3 Greatest Risks Posed by Social Media

Key 3: Use a Social Media Dashboard
Social media dashboards enable teams to plan ahead and review communications to all social networks prior to distribution.  They also provide an opportunity to establish a schedule, to assign tasks, and to conveniently bulk upload posts. There’s nothing like coordinating efforts and increasing the team's productivity.  Features such as bulk upload are especially handy to allow your team to focus on posts and then free up time to focus other tasks. There are lots of dashboards to chose from. Two very popular and reasonable options are HootSuite and Sendible.  They offer a wide range of functionality and pricing tiers that can accommodate the needs of both large and small businesses.

Key 4: Engage on Social Media
Depending on your business size, strategy, and degree of brand recognition you may or may not follow other people and brands. Small businesses, benefit from following others, sharing information, and commenting on relevant material that’s not their own. This helps to build goodwill and name recognition.  

All businesses, large and small, benefit from responding to consumer inquiries and complaints. Negative reviews are more likely to be remembered, they are shared almost twice as much as a positive review, and ~44% of customers abandon companies due to poor customer service. But, companies with good customer service earn up to 8% more than their competitors.

Key 5: Use Analytics
Last but not least, all business types of any size should use tools, such as Google Analytics. In the world of business, highly desirable to have data and analysis that provide proof of the value of strategic initiatives. Implementing measures that track the effectiveness of social efforts do not guarantee increased returns for your efforts; but it does provide talking points for rallying your team, it provides tangible data for setting organizational goals and targets, and it provides "proof of concept" for skeptical external investors. An added benefit is that analytic tools are generally reasonably priced and easy to use.