How to be your own social media expert

Businesses are increasingly waking up to the fact that social media is now a must have for their business, and that its many uses are becoming invaluable to building a business. Whether it be a channel of communication between a brand and its customers, a marketing tool for your latest products or services, or a tool to build sales leads, Richard Wood, director of Gillissa, explains why it is now undeniable that social media is a must have.

As social media continues to demonstrate measurable results for brands with a strong social media presence, more and more "social media experts" are honing their knowledge to capitalise on its popularity, aiding businesses in their objective to utilise its business growth potential.

Identifying the need to use social media is the first step, but some businesses may feel unsure about where to start, explaining why many first reactions are to outsource. However this still has a cost, and it is crucial to spend time questioning the credentials of a potential expert, as you may find out that everywhere you turn someone is proclaiming to be an authority in Twitter or Facebook!

Perhaps the best bet is to be your own social media expert and take advantage of the resources available to make managing your own social media as easy as possible.

The key concerns that businesses identify when considering managing their own social media have been the possible impact it may have on their time and the cost of hiring staff to manage the activities. However there are a number of digital marketing solutions which offer businesses the ability to retain control of their output, whilst minimising the time cost of keeping on top of social media - software which avoids the expense of outsourcing.

Using a central "hub" to input all your social media output is the latest solution for many businesses, and the ability to load content which will be scheduled for output allows you to "find time" for social media.

Here are my top tips when considering when managing your own social media:

Consider the source by which you are relaying the information

  • For Twitter your limit is 140 characters and you need to be succinct, providing concise soundbites.
  • For Facebook you can provide more depth of content.
  • Examine the time at which people are likely to be looking at their social media when scheduling output - lunchtime, early evening and pre-9am are the times people are most likely to be logging on to social media.
  • Think about the times your customers are most likely to be online - well timed messages are likely to get more response and feedback.

Remember some basic ground rules

  • Ensure you are linking from one source (ie, Twitter) to another (ie Facebook) and via your website. This will ensure that you are engaging your fans across as many channels as possible and driving traffic to your website, which should be one of your primary goals.
  • Platforms such as Gillissa show all the channels to which you are outputting, making it easy to monitor all the key data within your social media accounts.
  • A strong social media campaign will be the right mix of timely and relevant messages. People search social media for news and businesses that are relevant to them but it is crucial to avoid using too many direct sales posts.
  • It is also essential to avoid messages being too infrequent and patchy in terms of issuing content.

We have seen that there has been a rapid explosion of businesses using Social Media over the last six months, but even now the UK is still way behind the USA  - in the States over 90% of the entire business population is using social media in one form or another.

Social media is something to consider for the long term, so my advice to any business would be ensure you provide a wealth of content, but making the most of affordable software to help.

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