Making social media work for your business (part 2)

Now that you have decided that having a page or profile on some social media channels is good for your business, what to do next? As we said in the previous post, keeping these channels up to date is not that easy. It requires planning, creativity and… time. Do you have time to do this yourself? Do you have someone to help you? Do you have budget to hire someone?

As with anything, there are tools that will help you do the job. You will find a few social media management softwares that allow you to plan a long term calendar and schedule posts to almost all networks. Some might even give you some insights and analytics. A few are free to use (with limited features) or operate on a try-before-you-buy basis. As you will do with your contact management software, always do some research before you choose one.

For me, the hardest part is finding what to talk about – and writing about them. Some businesses just lend themselves to social media. Going back to the cake business. You can write about your cakes and new creations, about a special offer for Mother’s Day, new designs that you are planning for Christmas, post recipes, create a one off cake workshop, run a competition. All with amazing photos, clear call to action messages, driving to your website where people can place orders or reminding them where your shop is. You can do this on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat… but you will need to tailor your posts to each channel. Twitter will only allow you 140 characters (which you can use to drive to your Facebook page), Instagram is more about photos and less about text, Facebook is more democratic.

The “social media network best practice guidelines” (someone came up with these probably based on statistics from those channels) says that we should work on a post calendar for the next 6 to 12 months. Then it says that each social network has an ideal number of posts to keep your channel/page relevant and interesting and this is in average 3 posts per day. Let’s do the math: we are talking about 540+posts for a 6 month period that you have to write and schedule. Not to mention the impromptu ones, like “50% off our cupcakes for the next 10 costumers to show up at our shop today by 4pm” when you want to clear out stock. That is a lot of planning and writing, isn’t it?

But it’s doable and this is not as rigid as it seems. The great – or worst, depending on how you look at it – thing about the online world is that things evolve all the time. You might plan your posts for the next 6 months, but you need to be flexible. You might need to change your strategy in case you are not selling that much or in case you are selling too much, you might have new ideas, there might be a life changing even that you will like to bank on.

Bottom line is: you can be creative, flexible and have fun with social media, but it requires an awful lot of work and dedication and you need to be up for it. Are you ready for it?