A Social Media Starter Guide for Small Business

Congratulations to all the businesses that have decided to make an investment in social media for 2011. It’s a smart choice and a necessary one. You’ve made the commitment, you”re measuring ROI, and are ready to see some results. Unfortunately without some type of hierarchy of organization, you’ll soon find yourself overwhelmed or confused about what needs to get done. Before you jump in make sure that you’ve set yourself up for success from the beginning.

Determine your goals

What channels should your business be active in and why?

What areas of your business are you looking to improve upon when it comes to each channel: customer service, customer retention, direct sales, marketing, public relations.

How will you measure success? What will the key performance indicators be?

Delegate Time and Responsibilities

You’re going to need to make a decision on how often to update your various social media channels. I believe it’s important to make some type of initial commitment or else you risk the possibility of forgetting to update one of your accounts and nothing looks worse than a stale or abandoned account. I’ve heard on several occasions how surprised someone is once they find out that managing social media accounts takes more time than they though it would. Don’t expect to spend 10 minutes a week and see results.

In the past I’ve found success using a simple Excel spreadsheet and I currently use Evernote for keeping track of the accounts I manage. I’ve seen others use Google Calendar or services¬† such as Basecamp.

You’ll also need to determine who does what activities and when within the business. Who will update the blog? Who will create media? Who will be responsible? The larger your business the more important it is to ask these questions from the beginning.

Track Progress

You’ll need to track your progress from the KPI’s (key performance indicators) you’ve established. Facebook and YouTube have a great set of built in analytics and I prefer using Twitalyzer and HootSuite for Twitter analytics. Url shortening services such a bit.ly are useful for tracking the amount of traffic you’re receiving from a specific source.

Make Adjustment’s as Needed

Outside of actually collecting that data, it’s equally as important to learn and improve from it. Determine what works and what doesn’t. You’ll find that come channels need more attention and others will need less. There’s a certain balancing act to finding what works and what doesn’t. Stick with it and always work on improving your methods.


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