5 Secrets for Effective Social Media Management

How do you use social media to promote your business without tearing out your hair? Do you need to be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, even Snapchat to get noticed? These are the kinds of questions that bedevil entrepreneurs seeking to get their feet wet with social media. But have no fear! The secret is all in how your manage your social media presence.

I will be appearing at a "social media bootcamp" in June, and have been asked on distilling tips on managing social media successfully. Here are my key tips: 

1
Be Focused

Nat Geo's Instagram puts far-flung places in the palm of your hand.
Nat Geo's Instagram puts far-flung places in the palm of your hand. Nat Geo Instagram

The biggest mistake most entrepreneurs make is thinking they need to "do" every social media network, from Facebook to Pinterest to Twitter. 

In fact, many small businesses find success by focusing their efforts on one network where they feel they can successfully recruit customers. Many restaurants flock to Instagram. Consultants can find success posting blog posts on LinkedIn. 

The solution? Think about your goals in terms of what networks are most likely to align with them. 

Here's an overview of some of the most popular social networks: 

2
Automate

Plenty of tools exist to automate your social media marketing, including HootSuite, Tweetdeck, Sprout Social and Buffer. Use them to schedule your updates and see analytics about the performance of your accounts.  

Another great automation option is IFTTT.com, which creates "recipes" for repetitive online tasks. For example, if you'd like a picture you post to Twitter to automatically be posted to Facebook, or have any of your social media photos be automatically saved to Dropbox, IFTTT.com can do that. 

3
Track Your Influencers

An "influence map" is a planning document that helps you identify and track the audience that will make the most impact on your business. It's a planning document that will help you craft a solid social media marketing plan. Your influence map looks at questions like:

  • What journalists or publications are important to my business?
  • Who are my competitors?
  • Who are helpful allies?
  • When my customers use social media, what sorts of terms are they using?

4
Track and Evaluate

You'll want to regularly evaluate whether or not your social media marketing activities are bearing fruit. 

To do that, first decide what you want to track -- new followers, likes, mentions, comments, etc. 

Then decide on a timeframe you want to track. 

You can rely on analytics dashboards that come with software platforms like HootSuiteTweetdeckSprout Social and Buffer, or build reports with analytics straight from your individual social media account. 

Are you seeing gains in the key areas you set out to track? Regularly generate reports to track just that. 

5
Make Time to Experiment

Periscope
Periscope

It seems like every day, a new social network is taking the world by storm. That's why it's so important to build in a little time to experiment. 

Live video streaming from your mobile phone -- in the past couple of months it seems like it's become all the rage. And it's no wonder. As apps and digital media become more adept at streaming media, the possibilities opened up by live video sure seem compelling. From breaking news to breathtaking vistas to baby's first steps, live video can connect social media audiences around the world.

Instagram, Vine and Tumblr can also be powerful tools in the hands of entrepreneurs trying to get their message out. While they share many commonalities with the larger social networks that preceded them, Facebook and Twitter, these newer networks have plenty of particularities.