Social Media should be part of every marketing budget

There’s no question that every business needs social media to fill a portion of their marketing budget. It’s a direct, two-way path to talk to and, more importantly, listen to your customers and future customers. 

Here are five tips and tools to help make managing your social media more time-efficient and effective.

Identify your goals.

Keep in mind that there is no “right” answer to what your social media objectives need to be. You just need to know what you should be doing day-by-day to meet the needs of your company, clients and, if applicable, your sources of referrals. Goals hold you accountable, guide your budget and force you to dig into your data. This helps you understand what’s moving the needle in terms of engagement, clicks and revenue.

Define your audience.

To determine what social networks your company should have a presence on (hint: the answer is not ‘everywhere’), you need to define your audience, such as demographics and behaviors. What age are your customers? Where do they live? What are their interests? Once your audience is defined, be sure you know how your product or services solve their challenges, address specific pain points, help them meet their goals, or make their lives easier or better.

Make the most of automation tools.

Automation is the process of optimizing social interactions using automated tools. This can include scheduling social posts ahead of time. Automating social media publication, engagement and management reduces the hours spent managing your social media. With a social media scheduler, you can align and schedule social media posts to multiple platforms at different times to get the maximum reach.

Share quality visual content.

Your followers want visually pleasing images and not just a bunch of text. Using great visual pieces is the key to improving engagement and creating better brand recognition. Important: If you remember anything from this article, be sure you understand image copyright. The last thing you need is an invoice for hundreds of dollars for using a copyrighted image. It’s easy to avoid this. First, use pictures and videos that you (or an employee) take. If you are not a natural photographer, be sure to look up some basic guidelines such as having a clear subject, using natural light and contrast and not overediting your pictures. 

Have a plan.

A social media plan outlines what you want to achieve on social media and how it supports your overall marketing strategy. A plan helps you determine your target audience, the social networks to join and the type of content to develop and share.

If you rolled your eyes reading this article and don’t have the time or interest to do any of this, I would recommend hiring someone internally. If that is cost-prohibitive, you can outsource social media (and most marketing) services. This is a great way to get a fresh perspective and instant expertise – among other benefits. If you outsource, be sure to stay available for your marketer, their goal should be to maintain your voice and values.