Over the next few weeks, many people will fail to meet the New Year’s resolutions they set for themselves last month.
It won’t be because we didn’t care enough to see them through. It’s hard to get to the gym every day for 30 minutes, to say no to that second leftover holiday cookie, or to spend more time with family while maintaining a busy work-life schedule. We so often fail at accomplishing our goals because we lack the structure necessary to guide us towards success.
That’s precisely why so many business fail with social media.
Businesses, like individuals, need something to keep us accountable to our resolutions. Enter the social media plan; essentially a checklist that will detail the daily maintenance, recurring tasks, and milestone projects we seek to accomplish in the realm of social media.
It takes a strong social media presence and excellent web design to be successful online today. Here are three preliminary steps that will get you started on the path to a consistent, effective use of social media:
#1- Commit to the plan – Right off the bat, you need to commit to making social media a priority. That means figuring out who will do it and what it will take to invest the necessary time, energy, and resources to stay active and engaged on the chosen social media platforms. A half-hearted attempt to deny that extra doughnut will likely lead to frustration and an eaten doughnut, not a slimmer waistline. The same applies to social media use.
#2- Create a community – Social media works because it creates communities around your business’s product. As you begin to implement your social media strategy, think about your audience, what service you provide and how you can get people excited about being a part of your community. Try to offer a range of value, including humour, access to promotions, information, news stories and direct interactions with people. Ask questions, share with your network and engage people in meaningful dialogue.
#3- Become the expert – Once you’ve got the community, you are a step closer to being the one-stop-shop for all of your followers needs. Be the authority. When they think about products like the ones you offer, your followers should be thinking about your brand before all others. If they have a question, they should be able to reach out to you and ask.
More people than ever are talking to brands through social media. Perhaps most encouraging is the fact that an estimated 70% of brand fan questions go unanswered — that’s a big gap in the market that you can fill by simply providing the most basic customer service. As long as the big boys keep making such massive oversights, smaller businesses have a golden opportunity to gain market share just by being present and responsive on social media.