Plunging into the online world can be scary for any business owner. With so many new platforms appearing daily, tackling the social side of the Internet seems like more than any one person can take in. Many businesses are interested in using social media, but feel unsure on where to begin. Instead of trying to keep up with the ever-changing social media landscape, take a more strategic approach by following the best practices outlined below.
Find Your Mission and Purpose
Is the goal of your online presence to increase bookings and awareness, or to better serve existing customers? Knowing why you should be online is the first step to planning your online presence.
Go Where Your Customers Are
You probably know the key demographics of your current clients and use this information to find customers and potential customers online. Knowing the platforms your clients most frequently use gives a clear map of where to focus most of your resources. This information can easily be found online and is often in depth enough to isolate demographics of platform users by province or region.
Use Brand Guidelines
Social media platforms are a prime opportunity to strengthen your brand identity. If you have a very formal brand with business type language and stark imagery, or a fun quirky niche brand with slang, make sure to stay true to that style! The goal is for people to identify your brand through your posts, and pages’ look and feel. Being on social media also allows for more on-brand touch points for consumers.
Content is King
The most important thing about social media usage is to make sure you are always posting relevant and engaging content. Quality content garners a group of loyal followers, and more importantly, keeps them engaged. Simply posting deals or special events is not enough to sustain viewership. Turn to front-line employees for exciting little stories about customers and staff to share with your followers.
Make “Utility” Your Motto
Be useful. Post content that your followers will find valuable to entice them to come back for more. Are you an adventure property in the mountains? Post tips about nearby trails or conditions for nearby ski hills. Are you a downtown property or business in a vibrant city? Become the place to find what festivals or concerts are happening in your area. Provide content that is useful and people will be sure to think of you when they need to book accommodations for that outdoor adventure or city escape.
The biggest challenge of using social media is knowing whether your efforts are paying off. Deciding on measurement tools is important and is determined by what you define as success. Set goals for your social media plan and for each application before you post content online. It is important to measure the activity of each application to better understand where to focus valuable time and energy.