It's now standard practice for businesses and brands of all sizes to have a social media presence – but one of the ongoing stumbling blocks is how to manage various social channels successfully.
Having to create and manage meaningful content for distribution via specific social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn can seem daunting. But being aware of few key principles will help you stay on top of your management.
An introduction to social media for small businesses - Small Business Victoria Workshops
An introduction to social media for small business
Monitor and listen
Being active on social networks doesn't always mean talking and engaging with others – monitoring the conversation is also important:
- It helps your business keep an eye out for opportunities to connect with others and offer help or advice when needed.
- It alerts you to any 'red flags' or emerging issues that might affect your brand, such as a customer criticism or complaint.
Deal with criticism and complaints
Many businesses are hesitant to join social networks because they're concerned someone might say something negative about them.
The truth is, if someone is unhappy with your business, they'll air their grievances on social media whether you're on it or not.
If you're active on social networking sites – and you're monitoring the conversation that's going on around your brand, positively or negatively – you'll be in a strong position to do something about it.
Because many business-customer exchanges take place publicly on social networks – and in full view of people who use the site – how you deal with criticism will determine the outcome of the situation.
Tips for managing a negative situation
Below are some tips to help you manage a potentially negative situation better:
- The purpose of a business being on social media is to engage with the public and encourage comments, rather than close people down.
- Acknowledge the person's question, concern or criticism and make sure you do this in a timely manner.
- If you haven't got all the information at hand, tell them that – let the person know you'll look into the matter right away and get back to them as soon as possible.
- Add to the dialogue – this could be by providing another resource, asking a relevant question or adding thoughts of your own.
- Always be professional, friendly and understanding without being patronising or critical – put yourself 'in the shoes' of the customer and remember your behaviour is a reflection of your brand.
Good timing and scheduling
Social media marketing takes time and effort if you want to do it properly and with purpose. Being an active member of the online social community requires you:
- to engage with your audience regularly
- to listen, monitor, respond
- to add value.
There are a number of ways to streamline your involvement. Free and paid tools such as Salesforce and Hootsuite provide opportunities to publish and schedule your content to various social channels, and to manage conversations that occur around your brand or business online.
Know your keywords and improve search engine optimisation
Google favours content that is high quality and relevant. I's important that you publish content that people are interested in, that they'll link to and share with others via social networks.
When people link and share information, Google takes these back links as a sign that the content has 'authority' and ranks it favourably for the keywords and search strings contained within it.
- What are the keywords and phrases (search strings) you want your business to be known for?
- What are the questions your customers are Googling?
Start strategically and consistently adding these words and phrases to the content you produce and share, marking it up in your content marketing plan.
Find out more about improving your SEO and keyword research.
Google Garage offers free training to help you make the most of online opportunities including modules to decide what social media platforms are right for your business, set goals, get noticed on social media, measure your success and avoid pitfalls.