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Shoestring Social Media - Tips from the Trenches

by Alex W (follow)
Marketing (60)      SocialMedia (2)     

Social Media Banner
via Flickr

Small and medium sized businesses often have a hard time managing their social media programs. Raise your hand if this sounds familiar to you - someone at a marketing meeting asks what's happening with social media. Another person pipes up with a comment like, "We have a presence, but we're not managing it and there's not a content calendar." The manager shifts in her chair and says something along these lines: "Social media is the future! We're missing the boat here, let's get a plan together." Someone creates a half-hearted content calendar. The team sticks to it for about 3 months, but it's not really generating engagement, so they turn to focus on other things. Everyone forgets about social media until someone at a meeting months later asks "What's going on with social media?" Rinse and repeat.

So, if you're looking for feedback on how to get the most out of social media - and stick to a plan - here're some tips from marketers who incorporate social media into their ongoing tactics.

1. Respect the importance of curating reviews and responding to feedback.

"Encourage reviews across multiple social media properties - Google and Facebook in particular. Yelp, TripAdvisor and similar websites are sort of like social networks devoted entirely to reviews. Also, users can sometimes see reviews their friends leave on sites like these, as often times their Facebook accounts are linked with review sites. As you can imagine, a review left by a friend, positive or negative, can be quite impactful in the way a potential customer views your business. Tied into this, it's important to monitor mentions of your brand on social media platforms and respond to feedback, both negative and positive - these engagements are critical in maintaining a healthy social media presence." Amanda Basse, outreach coordinator for Alan David Custom

2. Make sure your ad campaigns make sense and relate back to your content and products.

"One of the biggest mistakes that a company can make is to create a Facebook ad campaign that doesn't match their goals and objectives. If you're running an ad campaign, make sure your call to action is clear and concise, and your ad design is attention-grabbing. Many Facebook ad campaigns are poorly thought out, often just pictures of the product with a tagline underneath. This is bound to be ineffective. Offer the audience something unique - an article, an interesting demonstration video, or something along those lines. And focus on in-feed ads, not sidebar ads. They're way better!" Alexander Wise, writer for HotDogCollars.com

Social Media Banner
Fun Social Media Example - HotDogCollars.com

3. Be human and speak to the medium.

"One of the biggest missteps a brand can make is to not treat social media like the informal, fun space it is. Don't treat it like a stuffy old-school marketing program. Be playful. Joke with your audience, share memes, share life tips - appeal to emotion and ambition. Be a human being; after all, you're on a social network!" Leah Preston, executive assistant at staySky Suites I-Drive Orlando and Hawthorn Suites Lake Buena Vista.

staySky Social Media Example
Fun Social Media Example - staySky Hotels & Resorts

Turning Over a New Leaf

If you're looking to take another stab at social media, try using the tips above to refocus and think differently about the tactics available to you. Once you've identified how social can dovetail with your strategy overall, you will be able to come up with a plan that takes root and stays with the marketing team going forward, simply because it actually helps you achieve your goals.

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