Recently a colleague of mine in the small cap space reached out to ask me what are some of the basics for setting up social media for public companies. He told me that most of his clients are very short on cash so they cannot afford to hire someone to handle this seemingly simple task for them. However, with the staggering numbers of people now using social media, they see the importance of having a serious presence on the social networks as a possible way to reach potential investors. Here is a brief rundown of our conversation:
1. Do your homework. What is the competition doing? This will hopefully give them some motivation to get moving. If everyone in their space is already active, they have some catching up to do. If not, they could be ahead of the game. Either way, the time to get started is now! More and more people are joining the social networks, especially those that have money to spare (Baby Boomers) and also have an interest in investing.
2. Do not overextend yourself. Set up Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. They are the most popular right now and they are easiest platforms to see results (engagement) with. This should help the company see some immediate return on their investment which should motivate them to continue. Google Plus and Instagram are also great outlets. However, we have seen so many people who setup 5 or 6 profiles and then they are burned out after only a few weeks. Start small and grow over time.
3. Images! Stealing every image you post on your social profiles is so 2010, and nothing looks worse than an image that is not optimized for Facebook or Twitter. Visit www.shutterstock.com and checkout their pricing plans. For as little at $50 per month you can download high resolution, quality images that will look great on any device. Too much? Maybe you can partner with someone else and share the plan. The great thing about downloading these images the correct way is that now you have them forever! Over time, you will build a library of images that you can use over and over again.
4. Never buy followers – EVER! This defeats the whole purpose of building an organic and ENGAGED audience. If your marketing consultant suggests that you should buy some followers, fire them immediately. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU SHOULD NOT BUY ADS TO BOOST ENGAGEMENT. That is a totally different subject for another time. You are trying to build an audience that wants to hear your message. Buying followers is just a waste of money.
5. Auto-Responding – unless you have 100,000 followers, auto-responding is just plain lazy. This will also turn off any potential opportunities to engage with interested parties. Believe me, people can tell when they are being auto-responded to.
6. Be consistent – this is not going to happen overnight, sorry to burst your bubble. Would you work out for 2-3 months and expect to look like Brad Pitt or a swimsuit model? If you did, would you quit after you starting seeing some results. The single biggest mistake people make with social media marketing is quitting too early. Keep it fresh and eliminate as much jargon as you can. Don’t get discouraged. Over time, things will start to happen and then the fun really begins.
7. ENGAGE! If people are starting to like, comment or they are even sharing your posts, communicate with them. This may seem like a No Brainer, but some people are intimidated by the thought of responding to a comment on Facebook or reaching out to someone who re-tweeted their tweet. This is the whole point of social media…share, like and engage over and over and over and….
8. Rinse and Repeat. Just because you are starting to see results, don’t get complacent and sit back to congratulate your team on a job well done. Go through these steps again, add more accounts, reach out to more people…and most of all, enjoy! There are much more difficult jobs out there than managing social media. The more fun you have with it, the better the results will be!
Conclusion? It’s not as difficult as you might think. Over time, you will become less intimidated and before you know it you will be killing it on the social networks. Please reach out to me and let me know what questions you may have.