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The small business guide to social media optimisation

August 18, 2014
social media optimisation
social media optimisation

Photo: Wilfred Iven

Social media optimisation gives you the opportunity to critically look at you social media and tweak it to suit your marketing aims. In order to keep an eye on your message and ensure you aren’t wasting time on non-productive and untargeted social media campaigns, it’s a great idea to conduct a review of your efforts every 6 months. Every 3 months is ideal if you have the time.

But where do you begin and what kinds of things do you look at in a social media review?

Here’s my hacker’s guide to social media optimisation that is both easy to conduct and give you useful data and ideas.

Baseline Social Media Overview

Don’t let your business or startup be caught out by operating with a social media profile that doesn’t match your current offerings. One of the most common problems is changing copy and branding without including social media profiles and keywords within the mix.

Easiest way to do this part of the review needed for social media optimisation:

  • List all your social media channels
  • Open each overview or description as a separate tab in your browser
  • Pull up your website ‘ABOUT’ page
  • Check to see if they match

The ‘About’ page may also need some tweaks. For example-

  • Are you using your business name or using the royal “we”? Your customers don’t search for “we” when they want to find you. They use your business name, and so should you.
  • Does local business matter to you? If you are aiming for local clients, make a point of mentioning your local area in your descriptions and in your content by name.
  • Are you making sure you are talking to the customer about what they need as opposed to talking about what you do? It makes a difference, trust me!

Once you’ve established that your overall branding is correct, it’s time to see if you are having the right conversation within that branding. Now, add a little more to the process.

Check the last month of content on each social media page and ask yourself-

  • Are you featuring your chosen SEO keywords within your social media descriptions?
  • Are you focussing on the core offerings you have in your service and mentioning them on a semi-regular basis?
  • Are you making sure you speak to your customers in a way that includes the customers who are new to your business just as much as the long term fans?
  • Do the visuals displayed match the kind of story you wish to portray?
  • Are you providing useful information your customers can use?

 

Next, you need to check that you are servicing your social media marketing aims. This is where social media optimisation really kicks in.

 

What are the core aims of your social media?

You need to know what you want from social media in order for it to work properly.

You need to pick 3 (or less) of these reasons for having social media and make them the centre of your social media optimisation strategy: 

  • To help with customer service
  • To generate leads that can be converted to sales
  • To establish me or my business as an authority in my field
  • To spread the reach of my promotions and campaigns
  • To stimulate word of mouth about my business
  • To make my most loyal customers feel like they are part of a community
  • To make my new customers feel welcome
  • To help bust the myths and/or dispel some of the mystery around my products
  • To demonstrate we have a sense of humour and/or a particular aspect of our brand personality
  • To aid in my process of researching customer reactions to my business, marketing ideas and promotions
  • To act as a taste test of the kind of service I offer (this is for people who sell their knowledge to others such as a freelancer, counsellor, public speaker, motivational guru or coach)

What you produce in terms of content needs to satiate your desire to carry out the actions you have chosen. If you find your current efforts are not following your 3 choices, you’ve either got to change your content so they do, or make sure you have your core aims correct.

Notice there is an absence of “to make me famous”, “so I feel less alone/stressed during the day” and “because everyone is using it/my competitors are there” style answers. This is because social media without a measurable goal becomes draining.

Social media optimisation is about making social useful for the audience. Not a business glorifying itself or satisfying personal fame agendas.

You need to have measurable reasons to use social media for business effectively. Otherwise it becomes nothing more than a distraction with very little return.

Once you have your core aims defined, it also becomes a lot easier to stay on message.

Content versus Conversation

There’s a fine line between content and conversation, and a lot of businesses struggle with getting the mix in balance.

Responses from an audience can be addictive, so addictive that they derail your core aims. Conversely, businesses are often afraid of mixing in the fun and the personality.

So the best way to stay in balance is to remember your social media is about answering questions, overcoming objections and revealing the human side of a business.

How do you keep your conversation from overtaking your content in social media?

Make sure your social media optimisation strategy is customer-centric and:

  • Identify the kinds of information customers need to be attracted to your core aims
  • Write down commonly asked customer service questions
  • Take note of the questions you are asked during the enquiry stage via email and phone
  • Know the places where your customers usually drop off in your sales cycle
  • Ask the sort of feedback from your customers that would help you do your job and plan your marketing

And craft tips, share blogs and web pages, and create content around ensuring social media is a place where your customers (potential and existing) can get the info they need.

The goal of social media optimisation should always include reviewing the responses you gain, too. For example, your customers will mature and grow in knowledge with you. So if you continue to ask early stage questions, it may damage your standing in the eyes of your seasoned customers.

Management of your social media

Social media gains a wrap as a big sink hole of time. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Preparing and managing your social media is an important part of this.

How do you manage social media effectively?

  • Use a scheduling tool such as Buffer or Social Sprout. They don’t have to be massively expensive and have all the bells and whistles. But a scheduler helps.
  • Make use of reporting. Facebook has its own reporting, but I find schedulers usually have nice reports that are pain free. Knowing what works and what doesn’t is a vital and ongoing process in social media optimisation.
  • Use strong metrics to define what works. The reality check is the vanity metrics like comments and likes are great, but they don’t always translate to sales. What does translate to a sale is a click, or indirectly, a share. 90% of people lurk on social media, and getting those guys to click through to your content is the aim of the game.
  • Give yourself 10 mins in the morning, 10 mins at lunch and 10 mins at the end of the day to keep the organic conversation flowing. Don’t be on social media all day every day. All that does is train you a bad habit, and give the impression to your customer you don’t have much work. Or train them to expect unrealistically short response cycles.
  • Set yourself a timetable. Carve out some time each month to schedule your social media and to explore the information in your industry that could influence your planning.

Social media optimisation reviews are invaluable

Making social media optimisation a regular part of your business maintenance can really help improve your overall performance when it comes to marketing, brand awareness and customer service. A social media review gives you the ability to understand, plan and execute your most customer facing marketing campaign. They can be used effectively to identify ways in which your current approach is or isn’t working, while also acting as a mini marketing plan in between each review cycle.

The beautiful thing is your social media review can be a big data driven experience if that is what turns you on. Or it can be you, a texta and drawing out what you know and identify over a lazy morning. The trick is to make it as useful and to make it fun so you don’t avoid it.

Want to undertake social media optimisation but unsure where to start? Why not book a pain point call with me today and talk through the ins and outs of conducting a social media review? 

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