Social media is key to connecting with regular and potential clients alike and ultimately growing your business. According to a 2015 Pew Research Center study, 65 percent of American adults are on social networking sites. While corporations are able to have full staffs dedicated to their social media platforms, smaller independent businesses are often working with a leaner team of just a few employees or even one person. That said, even with a small team, you can still develop a strong, consistent message on your social platforms. Here, we offer up some tips on how to get there.

STRIKE UP A STRATEGY
Before you can start divvying up responsibilities and assigning tasks, you first need to figure out what message you want to make with your social media accounts. Consider not only the tone and frequency of your posts, but also which platforms you want to partake in. These days, most companies are on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, while more and more are joining LinkedIn, Pinterest and Snapchat. As we’ve said in the past, play to your studio’s strengths when choosing which platforms are the best fit for you.

Next up: Develop a content plan by identifying holidays, national events (i.e. election day, the Oscars, Black Friday, etc.) and internal campaigns you’ll want to promote on social.  Once you’ve nailed this down, choose a social media scheduler like Hootsuite or Buffer (both are easy-to-navigate for beginners) and start scheduling posts—you can program up to six months out. For a cheat sheet on the best and worst times of day to post on Facebook and Twitter, go here.

IDENTIFY YOUR TO-DO LIST
Before you can figure out who’s doing what, you need to pinpoint what there is to do. Primarily, there is the messaging—actually coming up with the content for tweets and/or captions, and sourcing the photography or video if needed. Or, in terms of Instagram Stories and Snapchat, there’s shooting the video. Then there is the scheduling of those messages (that aren’t real-time, of course).

Monitoring (and learning from) success is imperative to this process, so you’ll want to tap someone to be watching analytics closely so that you can refine or swivel your strategy based on this data. Most platforms offer free in-house analytics, for specifics check out Social Media Examiner’s report here. Also, your social media schedule will likely also comprise an analytics feature.

Last but certainly not least is to tap someone to engage with your members and followers. Respond to direct messages, follow followers back and mention/tag followers in your posts to begin interacting with your user base and gaining traction on social media.

GET AUTOMATED
The good news is that almost all of the above to dos can be automated these days. You’ll save yourself and your staff time by automating as many of the daily admin tasks as you can. Through IFTTT, for example, you can have all of your Twitter mentions sent to Slack (a great platform for businesses to share information with their teams) and your Facebook image tags sent to a drop box. Luckily Hootsuite and Buffer also excel in this area, allowing you to see, for example, your tweets, retweets, mentions and Twitter analytics all on one dashboard.

DIVIDE AND CONQUER
The easiest way to tackle your social assignments is to appoint one staffer to each platform where you have a presence. That person will be in charge of everything discussed above—content creation, scheduling, analytics and engagement—for their designated space. Automating the tasks will certainly ease the burden, but by having one person “own” each platform—rather than someone handling messaging or analytics across the board, per se—you’ll have a go-to person armed with answers to all of your questions regarding Instagram or Facebook or whichever platform you’re focusing on that moment. Designate a reasonable amount of hours per week you want to spend on social altogether, and then set up bimonthly meetings to go over programming and analytics.

 

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