How to Manage Social Media Profiles
There are many social networking websites for smaller businesses. The most active are Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, Flickr, and SlideShare. The top bookmarking sites are StumbleUpon, Digg and Delicious.
This landscape may change in the coming year. But that doesn’t really matter. If you use all of these sites — or just one or two — that’s a ton to manage. Then there is your company blog; it is seemingly a fulltime job. Little wonder that business owners become overwhelmed when it comes to managing social media.
This article will offer tips on how businesses can manage social media activities. First, it’s better to be fully engaged on one social media profile than spreading yourself too thin, and barely being present on two or more. So don’t create a social media profile if you cannot fulfill its potential.
The most resource intensive social media sites are Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and your company blog. These sites call for continual updating with fresh, quality content — and constant engagement and outreach — to gain traction and increase your following. Pinterest, YouTube, Flickr, SlideShare and social bookmarking sites demand much less attention and upkeep.
What Is Social Media Management?
So, what does it mean to successfully manage your social media profiles? I advise my clients to address these four points.
- Create quality, valuable, interesting, compelling content.
- Engage sincerely and genuinely with your followers.
- Track this engagement.
- Measure your results.
I’ll review each point, below.
Create quality, valuable, interesting, compelling content. This is the hardest part. But it’s worth the effort. The secret is “repurpose.”
Start by creating a full blog post, whitepaper or success story. That’s your foundation and substance. Then break it up into many smaller digestible bites for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can post these over a week or two or even a month. Turn it into a PowerPoint presentation for SlideShare. Make a quick 2-minute video for YouTube and link it to your blog. Make images for Pinterest. Update links on your social bookmarking sites.
You may have to tweak the content a little to make it more valuable to your target audience on each social media channel. The more you do this — the more you personalize and humanize — the greater your results and reach will be.
Engage sincerely and genuinely with your followers. Social media conversations are open, honest, and transparent, not sales pitches or shouting matches. Your followers will respond positively and reward you for this.
Check your social sites twice a day to answer and respond to your followers in a timely manner. Don’t harm your business reputation with a Facebook or Twitter page or blog post that contains unanswered questions. Emphasize timely answers and responses. A follower will likely be impressed when visiting your page and seeing how effectively you have responded to comments, questions, or otherwise provided good customer support.
Track this engagement. Understand what kind of content is getting the most response — i.e., conversation and dialogue — between you and your followers and between your followers. See what is being shared or retweeted and what resonates with your audience. This is the best way to identify the value of your content, to replicate and repeat it.
Measure your results. It’s important to measure the results you are getting so you know if your efforts are worthwhile and where you should be improving. There are many ways to measure. Here a some metrics to consider.
- Shares and retweets. How many times has your content been shared or retweeted.
- Links. How many times have your links have been shared.
- Blog post activity. How many times has your blog posts been shared.
- Fan and follower counts. Have your fan and followers increased?
- Mentions. How many times has your company name been mentioned. Google Alerts can help.
- Traffic. Have your blog visitors increased and are they new or returning visitors?
- Traffic sources. What are your top traffic sources — referrals — to your website and blog?
- Search engine optimization. Have your Google organic search results improved due to new and consistent content?
- Sales. Have your sales increased?
Who Will Manage?
Managing your business’s social media profiles takes much time. You can create a new position for this in your company if you have the budget. If not, delegate responsibilities within your company. An employee that has a talent for writing can create content. Another person can post, manage, track, and measure. Choosing the right person is important. You, as the business owner, can supervise — making sure everything is on track — without taking too much of your time.
You can otherwise outsource to a social media consultant or agency. There are pros and cons to both approaches — in-house vs. outsourcing. It’s worth careful consideration before you decide.
Tools to Manage
There are several good, effective online tools to help you manage multiple social network accounts, from one interface. My recommendations are HootSuite, TweetDeck, VerticalResponse Social, Sprout Social, CoTweet, and Radian6. They (a) provide a secure place to house multiple passwords and usernames, (b) allow simultaneous posting across platforms, and (c) schedule and automatically post to your different profiles. Some are free and some are paid, depending largely on the number of social media sites and the number of users who manage them. Regardless, these tools save a lot of time.
To illustrate, here is HootSuite’s dashboard, showing activity on a Twitter account. HootSuite, and other tools, accommodate Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and many more social media platforms.
Effectively managing your social media sites will produce higher brand recognition, more leads, and more conversions. And that’s what makes it worth the effort.