7-Step Guide to Starting Up a Social Media Program

June 26, 2018  | By Stacy Lan

Social media is a key element of any marketing strategy, allowing brands to connect and engage with their audience and grow the business. Whether it’s used to generate leads, showcase new products, deliver better customer service, or manage reputation and brand image, businesses are taking advantage of the benefits of social media platforms to help generate online exposure.

Over the years, we’ve helped clients increase the visibility and impact of their ongoing social media initiatives, but we’ve recently taken on an entirely new challenge: launching a social media program from scratch.

Although creating a social media program can seem daunting at first, with the right plan of action, you can see great results in just a few months – we have! Below are some easy steps we followed to create a successful social media program for a client of ours, with helpful tips we’ve learned along the way.

Step 1. Develop Your Goals
As with any other PR campaign, it’s important to define your goals from the start so you know what success looks like. Then, work backwards to identify the steps you’ll take to achieve that goal. Aimlessly starting a social media program will result in just another content channel with limited purpose, and less impact. Carefully develop an overarching goal, and define campaign strategies and tactics that help you achieve it.

Step 2. Research, Research, Research
Research is key to understanding how to achieve those goals you just developed. There are so many great resources out there that can help you answer questions like:

  • Which channels are the best fit for my company?
  • How often should I be posting on each channel?
  • Should I use paid or organic posts?
  • What sort of content should I be focused on?
  • How do I measure success?

This is also a good time to conduct a competitor audit to understand how your competitors are doing online and what type of social content they are posting. The more you know, the more you can be confident with the decisions you make!

Step 3. Set up Your Accounts
Now that you’ve identified which networks you’ll be active on, it’s time to set up your accounts. Fill out your profiles completely with an easy-to-understand bio (no jargon!) and appealing visuals that are tailored to your audience. Also, make sure to give the appropriate people on your team access to the account so they can manage the pages, too.

 Step 4. Create a Social Media Content Calendar
Go back to your research and see what sort of content you should focus on. Channels shouldn’t be overly promotional, so balance company news and products with thought leadership articles to show that your company has a firm grasp on the impact of the latest industry news and trends.

Tip: Schedule a few posts and fill your page with content before you start following people. That way, people visiting your page don’t see an empty feed with no incentive to follow back!

Step 5. Get Relevant Followers
Start following relevant users who you think could benefit from your channel. Remember, gaining more followers isn’t always the main objective. Look back at the goals and strategies you developed in Step one and target followers that will help you achieve it. It’s also a good idea to send out an email to your employees, encouraging them to follow and engage on your platforms.

Tip: Liking relevant posts is a great way to get more people to find your channel. You can also use hashtags and tag users in your posts to get more views.

 Step 6. Evaluate Your Strategy with Regular Reviews
With so many moving parts, you can’t expect to get your social media strategy perfect the first time around. That’s why testing and evaluating your strategy on a regular basis is necessary to creating an effective campaign. Look to see if you met your short-term goals and assess what you can do to improve the program. After you’ve taken a look at what’s working and what’s not, adjust accordingly. Re-strategize and take action on what you can do to optimize your social channels.

Step 7. Consider Using Paid to Amplify Your Content
Take the value of your strongest-performing content to the next level by putting paid behind your posts. Not only do you get to set your own budget, you can also collect data on the type of people viewing and clicking on your page. If you’re being strategic and really targeting your audience for lead generation purposes, paid social can lead to results that are far beyond industry averages. For example, we’re seeing click through rates (CTR) as high as 1.739% for one of our clients on LinkedIn – way better than the industry benchmark of 0.13% – even while keeping the cost per click (CPC) under the industry benchmark! With constant analysis and tweaking of content messaging and audience targeting, these results only get more impressive.

Tip: LinkedIn allows you to upload a list or specify a segmented audience to target. It also says that the most successful campaigns target between 60,000 and 600,000 membersat a time.

If you don’t have a social media program in place yet, now is the time to start. Feel free to contact our team at Ketner Group to learn more about how we can help your business develop and manage a social media program that meets your business goals!