If you are looking to smarten up your social media act and gain good traction from the earliest opportunity take a read through this checklist.
Freshen up those profiles: make sure they are consistent on all of your platforms. Check and change any links back to your website. Are your contact details correct and present?
Review 2015: What worked well, what didn't. Did you spend as much time with social media as you liked? Or did you spend too much time on it? Was there any return on your investment? While you may have used free platforms, even if you have not invested any money, your time is money. Did your use of social media provide you with what you had originally set out to use social media for?
Deleted redundant accounts: Clear out the clutter and delete any accounts lying around collecting web dust.
Pay to play: Where possible set aside a budget. While a lot of small business owners think that social media marketing should be free, social media platform owners have a different view. Platforms are free to use but you are wanting to air your wares in front of data that is not owned by you. If you had a fan base of thousands would you want another business sharing their message for free? Social media platforms are businesses too and expect them to want to make money out of you.
Get creative: Social media platforms thrive on visual imagery. Mix up those posts with good quality photos, videos and gifs. There are plenty of resources to tap into. Make sure you are posting images of quality.... make sure those handmade items are shown off at their very best. Consider lighting, picture quality, how it is presented. Look at social media avenues as little shop windows to your business.
Failing to plan: As with other aspects of running your business, social media marketing requires time and planning too. What are you using social media for? Know what you want to achieve. Get into the habit of spending pockets of time researching and planning your activity. Understand what your fans and followers want and give it to them.
Polish up: Social media marketing has thrown many a business owner into the marketing limelight. You have a skill, product or service that you are good at. We are not all natural marketers. Some do it better than others, without realising it. Polish up on your knowledge. Get a bank of resources and read and put into practice. If this is not a comfortable zone seek to work with people who can help.
Consistency is key: You need to show up regularly on social media. Much better to have a few tweets a day, than 12 on a Sunday evening. Social media is a noisy busy place and you need to make sure you are seen and heard.
Platform knowledge: There's a wide spectrum of platforms available and your business does not have to or need to be on all of them. The key is to understand where your audience is. Visit reputable sites that can provide you with knowledge as you need it. The social media landscape is forever changing and you need to be aware of those changes and how it will affect your activity.
Get engaged: Create and post content that is going to create a reaction. Marketing should stir emotions and for you business owner, it is not always about stirring emotions to buy. It's about giving your audience content that means they can respond to and you can engage with them. Keep those lines of communication open.
Don't make a hash of the #tag: Some platforms love a multiple hashtags and some don't. Be mindful of what each platform requires. There is nothing worse than seeing a business that has linked Instagram to Facebook and seeing a dozen or so hashtags. Use them wisely and make sure that the ones you are using are going to help your content be seen amongst the masses.
Boost those posts: Part of the pay to play resolution. Remember when you post something on your FB page, it may not be seen by all of your fans. By investing a few euros/pounds you can request that your content is seen by current fans, along with friends of fans or a completely different demographic. Positive results can be easily garnered just by boosting posts.
Get insightful: Platforms provide great tools so that you analyse and review your activity. If you have shied away from FB insights and Twitter analytics dashboard, get acquainted with them in 2016.
Create a calendar: Keep it simple, nothing too fancy – an excel spreadsheet or a google calendar. Start by adding time that you will dedicate to social media, research, writing and then what you will share when. Before you know it you will in the habit of using social media marketing to better benefit for your business.
Blog on: We all have a story to tell about our business and for some where visual content may not be in abundance e.g. visual content supports the food industry better than book keeping. Writing content about case studies, insights on trends and activity, how you have helped customers will serve your business well in letting visitors know what you are capable of.
Review regularly: Not just at the beginning of the year but at regular intervals i.e. quarterly. If you are planning regularly then you can think ahead of campaigns that fit your business in good time, so that you are ahead of a curve not reacting to something last minute. What worked? How well? Can it be repeated again in the year? Can it be modified? Am I gaining traction from my efforts? The more you review the more you can adapt your overall plan.
If all this seems like too much hard work please head on over to the Social Media Review page. A review will take on board this content and provide you with a head start for your 2016 on social media.