How to Manage Your Business’ Social Conversation
No one doubts the viability of social media as a way to engage your customers and further solidify the presence of your brand online. Unfortunately, many business owners feel overwhelmed managing their social media accounts on top of all the other responsibilities they have on a daily basis. Automated social posting tools begin to sound more and more appealing, but if we’re honest with ourselves, this can many times do more harm than good in terms of brand representation. After all, social media is meant to be…well…social, and the spontaneity and organic nature of online conversation can easily be squelched when your audience begins to detect that your online postings have a robotic feel.
So what can be done to properly manage your business’ social conversation? Believe it or not, there are ways to manage the somewhat unpredictable flow of your social media activity without it completely absorbing your life.
Here are four tips you can use to help manage the social conversation of your business.
1. Choose the Most Important Social Media Sites for Your Business and Spend Your Time There
There are hundreds of social media sites out there, so prioritization is key. Since there’s no way possible to maintain a meaningful online presence on dozens of sites simultaneously, you will need to focus on a small handful of social media sites that make the most sense for the type of business you have. Find out where your customers (prospective or realized) like to hang out online and establish a presence there. If you find that the majority of your ideal prospects spend their time on Facebook, that’s where you need to be. If you find a vibrant Twitter community surrounding your particular field of business, make sure that you make yourself known there as well. When it comes to maintaining a strong social media presence, quality always trumps quantity. It’s better for you to establish a strong presence on just two social networking sites than to spread yourself too thin on a dozen sites and be ineffective across the board.
2. Develop a Schedule
Planning and scheduling your social media activity can greatly increase your overall productivity. All of us are familiar with getting lost in a swirl of tweets and status updates that started with a simple click, but ended up absorbing an hour of our day. To avoid this very common tendency, be intentional about the time you will spend checking up on the latest updates from your favorite social sites. Maybe squeeze in some screen time during your morning coffee, or take some time right after lunch to quickly scan your social stream for news. Set aside a consistent period of time each day (possibly 10 to 20 minutes) to check in on the latest social happenings, as well as to reply to any comments or inquiries you may receive through various social media sites.
As far as what type of content to write is concerned, take some time to brainstorm different content ideas, and then schedule out your posts by topic throughout the month. For example, you may have a “Throwback Thursday” where you post some older pictures of your company at its very beginning stages, or you could institute a “Freebie Friday” where you give away some type of downloadable content on a weekly basis. You could send out an inspirational quote every Wednesday, or ask a poll question every Thursday. As you can see, themed days can help you develop a solid structure for your weekly social postings, and prevent you from wasting precious time. Whatever you decide to do, make sure that you have scheduled it ahead of time; this will alleviate any potential for confusion or writer’s block.
3. Use a Social Media Management Platform
You can greatly improve your social media productivity by utilizing social media management services such as HootSuite or TweetDeck. These services provide a dashboard that gives you a snapshot of all of your social media accounts and activity in one interface. This beats having multiple tabs open and feeling scatterbrained from all of the toggling between different social media sites. With a social media management platform you can post, comment and reply on all of your different social media accounts from one centralized interface. These services also allow you to assign certain roles to other members of your team, so that you can delegate some of your social media tasks and responsibilities if need be.
4. Consistency is Key
This may seem counter-intuitive at first, but it is actually better to consistently post only two times a week than to post like wildfire one week but then be completely absent the next. Make an honest assessment of the type of schedule that you can realistically commit to, and then stick to your commitment no matter what.
While managing the social conversation of your business is no easy task, it can be streamlined and enhanced by putting the above tips into practice. Above everything else, remember to keep your efforts consistent and your voice authentic; this will do far more for your business than a dozen clever social media gimmicks.