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Social Media Checklist: What You Need to Know For 2017

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There are a lot of ways to run social media campaigns; as a business, yourself or hiring someone else to do it. At the end of the day everyone should be marching to the beat of a similar marketing drum.

Whether you’re doing something incredibly innovative or just putting out the same kind of things as everyone else, it still has to generate interest. Obviously, the more comments, likes, retweets and general interaction the better, but there are certain things that you need to make sure you’re doing. Hence the title: social media checklist.

This isn’t a definitive guide, but it is a way for you to see if you’re in the right area. Take a look and see if you’re planning and executing your social media marketing effectively. If you want to go off book, then go for it. Just remember that the online world can be incredibly fickle. Something you want to do that’s out-of-the-box-thinking, your audience may see as a load of rubbish.

What do you want to get out of your campaign?

It’s the clincher, really. Why are you doing this campaign in the first place? Who are you targeting? Why?

If you can’t answer these simple questions then maybe this isn’t the right time to start posting your brand all over the internet. You might do more harm than good to your business. Really, there are five main reasons that you would want to start actively planning a marketing campaign:

Increasing awareness of your brand
Reaching a new audience
Announcing a new product or service
Increasing traffic to your website
Exploring new business opportunities and partners

It’s all well and good to say that you’re launching this brand new, exciting marketing extravaganza, but you need to make sure you keep on top of it. Regular posting, responding to queries and comments and increasing your follower count are paramount to maintaining whatever success you have.

The Initial Stage

Research, brainstorming and planning are the cornerstones of your marketing journey. You can’t start a campaign without first knowing what you’re going to be targeting. That, and whether what you want to put out is even going to be read.

You’ll want to do a fair bit of research before you touch your own social media platforms. Test the waters, see what’s trending right now. On Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram, make sure you know for definite that what you’ll be putting out there will actually be received. If you’re behind the times, or just posting the wrong stuff then you’ve fallen at the first hurdle. Really, you’ve gone down before you’ve even begun.

Things you need to make sure you’re doing:

Learning about the different social media platforms, which work for your brand and which don’t.
Looking at new updates and advancements (i.e. Facebook’s new tools for small businesses) and seeing how you can utilise them.
Come up with content ideas and see if anyone’s doing them; if they are, how, why, and can you do it better?
Look at the posts you’ve made in the past; which were effective, which well and truly stunk? Repeat and alter the former, ditch the latter.
Decide how often you want to post, check statistics and the best times to put content up.
How much time are you giving to the campaign? How much money? Think carefully beforehand.

The Posting

Here comes the clincher. The real thing, what you’ve been waiting for. All of your planning and brainstorming has come to this moment. If you’ve done the first part of the checklist well then, this second part should at least be clear. You should know what you’re doing at least a week in advance – with a little wiggle room for sudden events, staff sickness or an industry boom – adjusting as you go for margins of error. If your previous post didn’t do so well, then look at why. And, make sure you don’t replicate that with your next post.

Obviously, all posts should be carefully constructed to make sure that they fit with everything else you’ve put up. Cross-platform branding is very important, so make sure that you’re not only hitting your target audience with tone and content, but that it’s all uniform. There’s not much use your Twitter being fun and light-hearted and your Facebook being serious and demure.

How and when to post:

If you’re unhappy with how your posts are doing then take a look at three things: the times you’re posting, the amount your posting and the content your posting.
Posts not doing well? Make sure to add a relevant picture, GIF or video to enhance the next one.
Check the kind of photos you’re putting up; if they’re poor quality your audience might not want to share them.
Link backs to your website are important, but don’t bombard your followers. A few links to services or product pages are very helpful, but not all the time.
Are you answering comments and questions from customers? Make sure to get to them fast and be helpful, even with negative reviews. Constructively answering is a lot better than letting it just sit there.
Make sure to interact with your followers alongside answering them. Ask them questions, get them involved in your brand, products and services. They’ll be more likely to want to comment off their own back if they think you’re going to be interacting with them.

The Analysis

You need to be checking reactions to your posting every day after you post. From a few hours later, to the next morning, to that evening and so on. Monitoring how well (or badly) your content does and when the spikes of activity are can revitalise how you see your campaign. You might think something’s working when it’s not, or miss a fantastic nugget of interest if you don’t check back.

Analytics are key to any kind of SEO, whether it’s on site or off site. The ability to look at engagement of a post on Facebook, or Twitter is something that needs to be utilised and used as much as possible. Otherwise, you won’t know if what you’re doing is any good. There may be posts that have no likes or comments, but have reached a thousand people. Likewise, there might be others that have visible success, but could’ve reached more users. Where are you going wrong? And, where are you going right?

Looking back is key

Don’t just have a plan for the next week (even if it’s important to). Have an idea of where you’re taking your campaign for the next month to half a year. If you’re even more of a planner, know what you’ll be doing for the next year, give or take some new updates and changes in the media.
Keep all reports and software up to date. Make sure that everything you’re using to track your progress is getting all the necessary information. So that, in the end, you’re getting all the necessary information, too.
Align your social media marketing with all other marketing strategies. When something on your website changes, change your social media along with it. New is refreshing, and refreshing is what your customers want.
Make sure to keep an eye on your KPIs, track them as best you can and when planning for the year ahead see how best you can improve them over time.
Pull out your initial plans. Did you meet your goals? If not, why not? Can you meet them next month, or next year?

In The End...

When it comes to social media marketing, you’re always looking ahead. Whether it’s to the next campaign, the next year, or the next thing your business is bringing out. But, looking back is just as important; working out the kinks, finding what hit its mark and what fell flat can be what makes or breaks your business’ off site SEO presence.

But, the real question is, should you listen to anything in this article, or just do your own thing? Yes and no. What’s here is merely a guide, to help remind you to think about the bigger picture. Sometimes it’s hard to focus in on the bad parts of marketing, but it’s very important to look not only at what’s gone right, but what’s gone wrong as well. Analytics of all kinds will help with that, but working as a team and communicating will help in the long run. You’ll get the hang of it the more you practice, but social media is a very fickle thing. Some days it’ll love you, other days it’ll want to tear your head off. Or, make you want to tear your hair out.

But, that’s okay. In the end, we’re all trying to make the best of things. With brand new advancements, updates and tools being brought out by all the major social media outlets, it’s only a matter of time until even the experts are learning new tricks.