I’m sure you’ve experienced this moment many times before, just like I have…
You’re speaking on the phone or via Zoom with a potential client and they feel like a total dream to work with. You’re explaining your service to them, they are nodding excitedly at every single thing you’re saying, and it seems like you have the sale in the bag…
But then you share the price and the person’s facial expressions totally change and they immediately blurt out things like, “I can’t afford that!” or even “That costs more than my mortgage!” (yes, that last statement has really been said to me before).
It’s not necessarily their fault, though–and it happens quite often in the marketing industry. People assume that social media is going to be cheap because “anyone can just throw a post up on Instagram,” right?
The art of social media management has many components that go into it, which is why it costs more than you might expect–and we’re going to cover them all to help you better understand the process, involvement, and experience.
Research and Strategy
An effective social media strategy does not involve jumping right into posting–there is absolutely an onboarding process required that begins with research and strategy. Let’s break these down further.
This is known as the “discovery” phase. Someone isn’t going to know a company and its industry immediately–and that’s expected. A good chunk of research needs to be done at the beginning to understand:
- The market
- The company
- The products and / or services
- The industry
- The competitors
And more. You can’t have a robust strategy if you don’t understand what’s going on within the company and within the industry.
Once the research is complete, the strategy can be developed. The research determines the what of your marketing initiative while the strategy determines the how of your marketing initiative.
This strategy includes, but isn’t limited to:
- Target audience
- Content strategy
And that’s only lightly tapping into it. Marketing is not throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping that it sticks–it’s taking an intentional approach by laying out the foundation and knowing why you’re laying out that foundation with what it’s going to achieve.
After the strategy has been finalized, content is the next big step. However, as mentioned above, it isn’t just slapping a post together and publishing it without thinking about it (although if that’s all the energy you can muster right now as a business owner doing your own social media, I understand!)–it’s having a specific reason behind why you’re sharing that content.
There are typically three parts to the content involvement: brainstorming, writing, and finalizing / scheduling.
Before content can be created, it has to be thought about. What types of things are relevant to talk about within the next month? Are there…
- Special offers or promotions?
- Company anniversaries?
- New hires?
- Seasonal content?
A lot of what goes into creating effective content is tapping into topics that are trending right now and adding your own spin to it.
Writing the content that’s been outlined comes next, and truthfully, takes up a good amount of time. The content has to…
- Engage the audience
- Solve a problem
- Encourage the audience to take a further action
That means the posts can’t just be “fluff” that don’t serve a real purpose–they need to captivate the audience, draw them in, and make them do what you want them to.
Finalizing / Scheduling
Finalizing the content, of course, is the last part of the writing process. After writing the content, it needs to be given a once-over (and maybe even looked at a few times) to check for spelling and grammar mistakes, repetition, voice, etc. It may even need to go through a few rounds of editing to ensure everything is in tiptop shape, and then it can be posted.
Community Management + Growth
You can’t just schedule or publish the content and forget about it–you absolutely have to be actively involved in various conversations. Remember, social media isn’t about speaking TO people–it’s about speaking WITH people–and that all happens during this portion.
Publishing more consistent content increases your audience and the amount of people who want to get to know you better, so you’ll find yourself getting more comments and messages than you’re used to. You’ll have potential customers who want to know more about your products or services, followers who have questions about your company, and individuals who really just want to congratulate you on the work that you’re doing…
And all of those comments and messages must be responded to.
What would make someone want to invest in a service or purchase a product if they can’t even get a response?
Community management doesn’t require being glued to a phone 24/7, but it does involve regular check-ins.
People who are in my tight circle hear me say this over and over again–but the whole concept of “build it and they will come” is no longer relevant.
Meaning, you can publish great content, but if you’re not actively seeking ways to find the right people within your audience and building meaningful connections with them, that growth is not going to come.
Yes… that means it’s time to start showing some love on other people’s content, known as engagement!
Engagement is often the part that drags people down the most. It seems easy to find 30 minutes a day to comment on other people’s posts… until that day comes and they realize that they really don’t have the 30 minutes they thought they did, and next thing they know, community building has been abandoned for months. Oy.
The success of a social media strategy should always be measured, or else, how do you even know that what’s happening is working? Sure, publishing consistent content is great, but if it’s not bringing results or performing well, what’s the point?
That all comes down to the concept mentioned earlier of not throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping that it sticks.
Reviewing analytics at least quarterly, if not monthly, to not only see how the audiences have grown over time but also understand what type of content is performing the best and why is crucial for planning for the future. If specific topics consistently drive a lot of engagement, action, traction, etc., that’s an indication that they should continue to be used to leverage the appeal that they’re getting–and you find all of that out with the help of analytics.
Most social media platforms have built-in analytics tools, but if they don’t, third-party softwares are available as well. However, if you don’t understand what the numbers mean or why they’re relevant, how do you know that you’re using them correctly?
It’s important to have someone on your side who can interpret that data for you and convert it into actionable steps based off of the numbers that you’re seeing.
Quality Assurance + Team Management
Great companies have great people behind them. Although marketing is often left in the hands of one person, the best ideas and therefore results often come when collaboration is involved.
Although one person might write the content, there’s at least one other set of eyes, if not two, looking through it to ensure everything is up to par. This is helpful because if one person has writer’s block, another person can easily step in and provide excellent ideas that might not have been thought about before. It also prevents mistakes and inaccuracies from slipping through the cracks, which is easy to happen.
After reading through this blog post, you may now be thinking to yourself, “Wow, I didn’t know that social media involved this much responsibility… and I definitely haven’t been doing it right.” You’re not alone in feeling that way!
Social media isn’t a 5-minute activity like many people think; it’s an ongoing process that takes a lot of time, and it deserves to be treated that way.