07 Jun Where to Start with Social Media
So you’ve decided to join the social media craze. You’ve got Facebook set up, LinkedIn linked up, and Twitter ready to tweet. Everything looks great – the cover images even match!
Now what? How often should you post? Where do you post? What’s the tone? Where do you begin?
Whether you’re just starting, or you’ve decided to dust off your old accounts and finally start doing social media, be honest with yourself before moving forward. How much time are you personally willing to spend managing your social media accounts?
To help you narrow it down, take a look at the 3 types of people we usually see:
- The DIYer: You’re going to do it all yourself…forever
- The Temporary Taskmaster: You’ll do it yourself for now, but in 6-12 months you want to outsource or offload it
- The Oh, Hell No-er: You don’t really want to touch it, but you need to know just enough to avoid getting hosed by a contractor or agency
If You’re a DIYer
It’s all about you
Posting on social media consistently is a big-time commitment—we cannot stress that enough. If you say, “Yeah, I’ve got five hours a week” but in reality, it’s only Sunday morning that you have five hours, this is not the best fit for you.
Some small businesses we work with are good at consistently posting to social media, but they absolutely hate it. Doing anything you hate is going to drain you. If you’re going to do it yourself, you probably should like it a little bit.
If you’re still committed to doing it all on your own and diving into execution and strategy, we recommend posting to 1 or 2 platforms at first. Start small, narrow your focus, and really master those platforms. Facebook and LinkedIn are good places to begin. Once you’re comfortable there, consider expanding to Twitter or Instagram, or maybe Pinterest depending on your target audience.
As odd as it sounds, we recommend starting with implementation first to get comfortable with the platforms. Once you understand the basics, move on to more formal training. We like to recommend all of the Hootsuite and Hubspot training courses if you’re starting out. Most of the courses are free. You’ll need to be as good at execution as you are on strategy if you’re a DIY-er.
If You’re a Temporary Taskmaster
Handling the hot potato
Perhaps you need to start the process yourself and learn the tools inside and out before you hand it off to a freelancer or a third-party person. We recommend that you begin by educating yourself on strategy and implementation. You’ll need to focus your attention here in order to manage and oversee the third party.
Once you know enough implementation and you’ve nailed your strategy, you can manage someone at a lower price point to do the day-to-day work for you. If you’re budget conscious, this is a good option as you can usually get a freelancer for a lower rate. However, make sure to manage them carefully. Freelancers are hit or miss. Don’t be afraid to try a couple of different freelancers and find the right fit for your company. Know what you want for your business and hire appropriately.
If you go this route, we highly recommend handing a freelancer a detailed style guide for your business including your target audience personas (also known as your ideal customer avatar (ICA) and be specific about your goals and expectations. You’re in charge here. It’s tough because we have found that a lot of freelancers can talk the talk but it’s damn near impossible to tell if they are any good until they have scheduled a few rounds of social for you and submit their first analytics report.
If You’re an “Oh, Hell No”-er
That’s a big nope
If you want to get the task off your plate ASAP and you don’t want to touch it, it’s going to cost you. We recommend that you consider hiring an agency—over a freelancer so they can handle strategy and implementation while you focus on your vision and goals.
Keep in mind that this is the most expensive option and you’re not going to see much ROI for a long time if you’re just starting out. Stick with it and choose an agency you trust.
Which Path is Right for You?
At this point, a lot of people will simply decide to do social media themselves since they have time but are short on money. Before you take the bait, we recommend taking a trial run.
Spend 7 consecutive days on your social networks. During that week, spend 30 minutes online each day liking, commenting, and sharing on each network. Remember: social media is not a 9-5, Monday through Friday gig. You must be consistent, often thinking about every day of the week. At the end of the 7 days, look back to see how you did.
Did you miss some days? How many days did you miss? Did you want to throw your laptop out the window? Did you absolutely hate it and cringe at the mere thought of logging into LinkedIn and engaging with people? If it drains your energy, this will be a complete drain for you forever. You might consider getting it off your plate sooner rather than later or hire someone to handle it all for you.
Maybe you absolutely loved every minute of it. Did you have meaningful and engaging conversations with your target audience? Were you excited to do it again the next day? If you enjoyed it and could do it consistently, you may want to take a stab at DIY or eventually handing it off after you get comfortable.