Apps and tips to help keep your company's social-media strategy on track
Maintaining a social-media presence can make a big difference for many small businesses. But updating and managing multiple feeds – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more – can eat up more time than you might expect. Worse, it's easy to get confused about what you posted to which feed, and when you did it.
The good news is that this is a common enough problem that there are now plenty of handy tools and well-established best practices to help make social-media management easy. Eden Spodek, founder and CEO of Toronto-based integrated-communications company Spodek & Co., offers some suggestions.
1. Adopt apps
Spodek recommends a number of apps specially designed to help you organize and manage your business’s social-media feeds. They include:
• Buffer, which lets you put some space between your posts by scheduling when you want them to go live. The free version lets you connect up to four social accounts – choosing from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn – and schedule as many as 10 posts per profile.
• Hootsuite, the free version of which allows you to connect and manage up to three social-media accounts. It also provides tools that let you track statistics, and see which of your posts are getting their desired results and which ones aren't.
• Sprout Social, a powerful tool that lets you share, manage and monitor content for all of your social-media feeds in a single place. Track activity and conversations associated with specific posts so that you're always on top of your audience's impressions and feedback.
2. Be strategic
Spodek says a lack of strategy is the biggest mistake her team sees when interviewing prospective clients. "If you want social media to be an effective marketing approach, you’ll need to have a sound strategy," she says. "Develop a strategic plan involving goals, objectives, strategy, tactics and measurement."
3. Choose platforms – and timing – wisely
It's vital to understand which platforms your customers, clients and prospects are most likely to use, and how they use them. "The best time to post or publish on social media is when your customers are most active, not necessarily on a specific day or time that you’ve read in an article [based on averages]," says Spodek. "And be aware of different time zones, too."
4. Engage your community
"Every company has a story to share," says Spodek, who recommends sharing client and customer stories that make a specific point related to your business, and using a less-formal, more conversational tone. “Ask questions, and remember it’s about [your followers] and not you."