Social media is a form of two-way communication. While brands are getting better with responding to customers, most can’t keep up with inbound messages. Businesses with 1,000+ employees receive an average of 0.5 messages per employee and respond to just 10.6% (SproutSocial). Personally, I think they can do better. I’ve reached out to companies on Twitter and Facebook – big companies like Sears and Lowes – only to wait days before receiving an answer. Why? Because they have hours. Hours that don’t include weekends, or nights.
When a customer reaches out on social media, they expect an answer within the hour, a daunting task (especially if you’re a team of one.) I do my best to stay on top of incoming questions, answering as quickly as I see them. If I don’t know the answer, I let them know that whatever it is, I’m looking into it and then I get back to them as soon as I can. But it doesn’t end there.
I represent different businesses around Savannah, a historic city with a tourism based economy. I’m prepared to answer questions about the town, give suggestions on things to do and places to eat, and even information on upcoming events. Can it be annoying as hell? Absolutely. Do people send direct messages asking questions that are answered (repeatedly) on the Facebook page and website? All the time. But I answer them all, because as a representative of the brand, customer service is always a top priority.
Task: Start exploring Hootsuite and Buffer. I will provide you with access to our accounts so that you can learn your way around. Hootsuite offers free training courses, both for their platform and social marketing, that I recommend.
Know your client, learn your audience
When speaking by a potential client, the first thing I always offer is a free audit – a customer level look at their brand online – and I compare it to their top 2-3 competitors. Occasionally you’ll find social media accounts on platforms set up by prior employees and forgotten, abandoned on the interwebs with out-of-date information and content. You may also find that a client has set up accounts on every. single. platform. Why? Because they think more is better. But more isn’t better unless it’s being used to it’s full potential, and unless you’re working with a multimillion dollar company with a matching budget, trying to manage that many social media profiles will make you crazy.
I recommend that a business does not focus on more than 5 social media platforms. That doesn’t mean that I’m not on the lookout for new platforms. For Creative, I’ve tried out several, including Peach, which never caught on in the mainstream. Staying up-to-date on trends is important, especially if you want to be ahead of the curve on a new platform.
So now that you’ve got a good look at their social footprint, you need to know more about their goals: who are they trying to reach? what do they want to achieve with social media? To help with this, I direct them to Creative’s New Client Questionnaire. Clients usually fill this out as quickly as possible, with few details. They may not even know what their goals are – just that they need to be on social media.
This is when having a background in journalism, specifically in interviewing people, comes in handy. Here are some of the additional questions I go through with new clients:
- If your brand was a person, what adjectives would describe your personality? (I even give them this handy Personality Adjectives list to help out.)
- What adjectives would you like your audience to describe you with?
- What adjectives do you not want associated with your brand?
- Who is your target audience?
- Aside from promotional posts, what type of content do you want shared on your social media platforms? (i.e. local news, industry news, humorous posts, etc.)
- What type of content do you not want shared on your social media?
- What do you aim to deliver with your content?
- What will you gain from creating content?
- Do you have an editorial and media content calendar? (Upcoming sales, product launches, special occasions)
Goals and Objectives
- What do you want to achieve with social media in the next 3 months? In the next 6 months? In the next year?
- Do your social media objectives align with your overall company vision, mission and marketing strategy?
- Let’s make S.M.A.R.T. goals: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound?
- How will you measure success?
- Have you established the metrics by which you will measure social media success?
- Are you prepared to quickly change your strategy in response to these results?
- Is your website using any form of analytics, such as Google Analytics?
Create two Buyer Personas for Creative Approach – one for business clients, and one for students. To create accurate personas you’ll need to know both who we are trying to reach, and who we are reaching. Take a good look at our demographic information for each of social media platforms, including our Google analytics, to help create these personas.