Too many times organizations don’t know how to budget resources towards digital outreach, including how to create content. Both of these require skill and planning, but are possible even for a one man shop. With 5 simple hours a week, any organization can create a successful presence on social media.
These days, most organizations and companies understand the need for a presence on the Internet beyond a Web site. People have seen plenty of articles and success stories about brands using social media to reach goals. However, quite a few are still not using their social media accounts regularly.
To be honest, that is hurting them. Most people use social media to interact with and share information about brands (companies and organizations, and their products and events). In one survey, 75% of respondents said they did use social media to find and share information about brands. 61%-70% of customers use that information to make their own purchasing decisions. People trust people and you want to enable people to easily talk about you in a way you can follow.
It doesn’t matter whether you are selling a product, marketing a concept, building awareness or educating, or connecting with donors. It’s all about being connected.
That means having a social media presence. An active one, not a dormant account lying there, unused, and unchecked. It’s as important for you to be reachable and heard as it is for you to be aware of what others are saying, especially when they are talking about you.
Here are a few simple steps any organization can use to build and track their social presence for a few hours and a few dollars:
1. Create a plan
This can be a simple one-pager in which you list out the platforms you will focus on, what you will do there and what you hope to achieve. Create a simple SMART plan. Alongside this, set a daily schedule and add it to your working calendar. This commits and limits your time to work on social media.
Start a document or spreadsheet to track and plan content. Make sure you note significant events, holidays and things of importance to you and your audience. Create a hashtag you use regularly. This will help you track.
Your posting goal, for example, could be:
5 Twitter posts per day in key times
2 Facebook posts per day in key times
Specify types of posts, such as “3 images per week.” This needs to be a fluid goal as you learn which types of posts and content is most interesting and engaging to your community.
Breaking it down will make it seem achievable, and keep you on track.
2. Use a tool
Use one of the scheduling and tracking tools, such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck. This allows you, during your scheduled time, to set up content for multiple platforms across the day, week, and even month. It also makes it easy to run a report and see how well your platforms are performing. The basic models are free, but the pro versions do not cost that much. You’ll save much more than you spend.
3. Set up sources
Google alerts, Google news, Yahoo! news, Pulse (on mobile) and Flipboard (on mobile) among many others are fantastic and customizable resources that enable you to quickly scan news and information that might interest you and your audience. Each makes it very easy to share on social media, too.
Set your channels to watch for your key topics. It’s also a great way for you to stay on top of current events—who is doing what and what is happening in the world–to find connection points and avoid gaffes. You can also create a source list any way you like to check your favorite sites and publications. Some like clickable spreadsheets, some like dashboards, some prefer alerts, and so on.
4. Have a daily checklist of tasks
This helps you be efficient and ensures you hit all the crucial to-dos. It should include things such as: scan sources, create content, check all platforms, respond to messages, and so on. It should also include tasks that connect and leverage: find new people and groups to follow, share, favorite, and other interaction and community building tasks. Most importantly, it should include quick scans of analytics and insights, so you can modify your tactics as needed.
These four tasks should take 5-7 hours of initial setup. It’s a time investment but it will make the daily tasks much more effective and efficient.
Once you are prepared, you are ready to go so there is one simple step left:
5. Set your timer
There are so many timer tools you can use to track time. Freshbooks offers a great one because it can convert that time immediately into billable hours for clients. It’s also nice because it’s a popup that sits on the side of the screen where you can see it. If this isn’t necessary, you can simply set the timer. Otherwise, consider something like an online stopwatch, your phone timer or alarm, or even an old fashioned egg timer. This keeps you on schedule.
Set your timer for one hour and run through your daily task list. Don’t forget weekends — they are often the best time to share content and reach audiences. This is when your scheduling tools will come in handy!
If you would like assistance setting up your plan, as always, Artful Media Group is available to help and will work with your budget.
Here are a few resources to help you with your plan and best practices: