Whether you are promoting a small or large business, social media can be an effective and efficient part of your marketing program.
Your social media managers aren’t there solely to read comments left on your brand’s Facebook page. They’ll help you make the most of your marketing campaigns, and here are ways to tap into what they have to offer:
1. Make them part of the team. Make sure your social media manager understands your organization’s overall objectives, messaging, target audience and sales goals. That way he can develop a social media strategy that will help meet your objectives, not only during campaigns but all the time in between. Most social media managers live by their calendars, so share your planning calendar and upcoming events so your social media manager can be prepared. If you hold a weekly meeting, involve your social media manager.
2. Include them in your process. By making social media an integral part of your process rather than an afterthought, you can have a more consistent brand experience across all your channels, from the web to CRM to social media, and from early planning to final steps such as approvals. Be sure social media campaigns are part of any approval process such as branding, so posted assets are as acceptable as those you produce for your own campaigns. For instance, there might be restrictions on how the brand logo can be presented in a graphic, or your legal team might want to review any social media sweepstakes terms and conditions.
3. Plan for measurement. Set measurable goals for your social media campaigns, and ask for the results. Reviewing the data with your social media manager will help you refine your content, messaging and strategy for your subsequent campaigns. For instance, when running Facebook advertising with multiple ad designs and copy, your social media manager can look at the analytics and tell you which performed the best. Armed with that knowledge, you can improve your next round of advertising.
4. Learn from social media. Your social media manager holds the key to a wealth of information for your brand. By looking at your brand’s analytics, you can learn about the customers who follow you. Your social media manager can also gather information for you by searching hashtags and monitoring online conversations. Do you want to know what your customers really want? Work with your social media manager to find out directly from the people who interact with your brand every day. Discover insights such as what your customers are looking for and what they think of your brand. You can even discover concerns and issues from customers who reach out to your brand for support via social media. It is an invaluable opportunity to grow.
5. Ask for what you need. Don’t be afraid to ask your social media manager for specifications. Most social media platforms are restrictive with regard to image sizes, character count and linking. Each has its own tone and protocol, and no one is more familiar with those details than your social media manager. She can provide guidelines for your content creation so your messaging is optimized for each platform. These pros should be well versed in best practices, so if they tell you that a particular hashtag is not ideal, heed that advice.
6. Provide what your social media manager needs. The more assets you can provide your social media manager, the more efficiently she can communicate your message. Any graphics or copy that you can deliver will result in campaigns that align with your expectations. A social media manager’s worst scenario is one where she has to dig for assets or come up with them herself. For instance, when posting a video to YouTube, your social media manager will need a video title, description, keywords and category type. If she must create that copy, it will take longer and might not be as targeted as you want it to be.
7. Be flexible. Social media is constantly evolving and shifting, so be prepared to change plans and alter your approach. What has worked in the past or in other media might not be idea for social media. The best online campaigns can come from trying new ideas. If there is a failure, admit it and learn from it. The ability to rework and adapt is one key benefit of social media. Social media managers should review all posts before they go live. Still, errors happen, and with the fast pace of social media, it’s best to recognize them, fix them and move on. Most blunders will be forgotten soon, so focus on doing better next time.
8. Plan for the future. Don’t create your marketing campaign in a bubble. Involve your social media manager in your campaign planning, and she can offer new ideas to help make your campaign a success. It could be a new Facebook advertising opportunity, a blogger you could partner with or a creative Instagram contest. Remember that your social media manager stays up to date with the latest features and trends. There could be a new platform that would be a great fit for your business. Perhaps another platform is not reaching your audience, and your efforts would be more effective elsewhere. If your campaign plans have been finalized, it’s not too late to recover. Bring in your social media manager, analyze results and ensure she is included in the next round of planning.
Jennifer Cisney is social media manager at Kodak Alaris. A version of this article first appeared on iMediaConnection .