The Firebrand Guide to Social Media Management 2021

Firebrand Social Media Management Robot
Social media management has moved on a long way from its humble beginnings. Nowadays, it is expected that the management of social media is to be an integral part of a company’s overall marketing plan and even customer service. In this guide we will explore the various elements that are involved in social media management.

At Firebrand, we offer a full social media management service across all major social media platforms. This service is delivered by our in-house team which combines various elements such as the social media plan, brand message, post creation and scheduling, graphic design, photography, video creation and branding. This combination of skills ensures that we deliver the best results as each element of our management is undertaken by a specialist in their field resulting in posts and content which is on brand, eye catching, thought provoking and engaging

What is meant by Social Media?

Social media mainly refers to websites which are created to allow a membership share content which is usually created by themselves. There are a number of very widely known social media platforms which is what most people would define as social media but there are also other sites which would also fall under the definition of social media. Some are only available as apps while the others are available on both dedicated websites and apps. Below we have laid out both the main ones and some additional sites which should also be considered worth investigating for businesses for various reasons including specific target audiences and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). 

The main Social Media platforms:

Facebook: Facebook is the biggest and perhaps best-known social media platform with almost 3 billion users. While initially created for college students, it was quickly adapted by users from age 13-30. However, in the last couple of years it has been seen to be more popular among the 30- 50 age group with a considerable user base of those over 50 too, more than any other platform. 

Instagram: Owned by Facebook but with a very different platform, it is mainly used by those aged 13-35 through its excellent app. Mainly focused on images and short videos, Instagram is ideal for promoting visually appealing products and services and engaging users.

Twitter: perhaps the platform least used by businesses but with a very big and loyal user base. Often Twitter users don’t use other platforms and so it is wise to include Twitter in your social media plan. Twitter is often seen as where discussions and chat take place publicly in real time and with less focus on creating “perfect” content. #Hashtags originated here and are now used by most other platforms and enable you to tag your post as related to specific topics.

LinkedIn: The business networking network. A must for all business owners, LinkedIn doesn’t have the same “noise” as many of the other platforms and is seen to be a professional network of business focused people. This enables you to connect and engage with your suppliers and customers in a professional but personal way as well as keep up to date with what is happening in your industry. Business pages can be utilized for a variety of useful purposes such as job posting and announcements.

YouTube: The second biggest search engine (after Google), YouTube is also a social network as people upload their own video content to share it with others and those people can then comment and discuss the content. For businesses, it is a great platform to share your expertise in an engaging way and with the search element, you can also be discovered by new potential customers. 

Pinterest: Initially an “online scrapbook” where people shared and collected images in Collection Boards for things like their dream wedding, interior design ideas and similar. The site was extremely popular with women in the 20-40 age group which attracted a lot of marketers and the site developed to accommodate this, eventually becoming a mainstream social media site with an extremely loyal and active user base. 

SnapChat (App only): Mainly used by those aged 13-25, SnapChat is primarily a messaging app but also allows for content creators to create pages and ads too. An absolute must for any business targeting this age group. 

Tik-Tok (App only): The new kid on the block that has exploded in popularity in the past 18 months and the fastest growing social media app with approx. 700 million users. Again, very popular with those aged 13-25, this app is based on sharing short videos and messages. Most famous for dance crazes and challenges where users share videos of themselves doing the challenge – even our own Gardai got involved in one of the dance crazes recently having been challenged by Swiss police.

Other useful Social Media platforms:

Reddit: “The front page of the internet” as it is known, is a place where a lot of content shared on other platforms is originally posted. With a wide ranging and engaged user base, the platform hit the headlines recently when an organised collaboration between some users bought GameStop stocks and upset those on Wall Street.

Quora: A question and answer style website where people ask a question and others, often highly qualified experts, answer the question. Quora’s regular users are, like Reddit users, extremely loyal and engaged with their platform. For businesses, answering questions here as an expert in your field can be excellent for SEO purposes as Quora ranks well in Google and answers often show up in search results. 

Blogs and Blogging: Reading other people in your industry’s blogs can be interesting and educational endeavour. Commenting and engaging can also be a way to network and draw attention to your own blog and social media. Creating your own blog and posting regular, well written and advisory blog posts is something almost every business can and should do. Excellent for SEO and establishing credibility and trust with site visitors, quality is more important than quantity so ensure high-quality and informative posts are prioritised. These posts can also be shared on your other social media as part of an overall social media plan.

Forums and Group Chat apps: These are also considered social media by definition and can be worth engaging with when relevant to your industry. While generally a smaller user base than the others, they tend to be more “niche”, focused on particular interests and industries. Engaging with these in a friendly, non-salesy type way can also be a great way to boost your credibility and gain a very relevant following for your other social media. 

What is Social Media Management?

Surely anyone can manage social media – it’s just sharing pictures, liking and commenting on posts and responding to messages, right? Well no. When a business has this type of attitude and approach to social media, they tend not to see any results. In fact, what happens is that posting becomes inconsistent, posts are uninteresting or “token posts” meaning that they have no real purpose. 

Proper social media management, on the other hand, has an overall plan to engage followers, build the brand reputation and become a voice for the business which results in the modern version of word-of-mouth marketing. When people see a business in a good light (interesting, funny, engaging, responsive), they talk about it and remember it. If your social media doesn’t do this for you then you need to consider hiring a social media management company. 

The following processes all fall under the remit of a social media manager or management team:

  • Social media planning
    • What is the aim(s) of using social media for this brand?
    • How will this aim(s) be achieved?
    • How will success be measured?
  • Creating the brand/account message
    • Liaising with clients to decide on the message and content parameters
    • Identify the target audience and build an ideal customer profile
  • Choosing relevant social media platforms and creating the accounts as well as the images and content for each account.
    • Not all platforms need to be used for every business – base platform choice on target audience
    • Liaise with graphic designer, photographer, etc for necessary material
  • Creating a posting schedule for each account
    • How often should you post?
    • What time of day is best?
    • Should there be specific content types at certain times, days etc
    • Liaise with clients regarding upcoming special occasions, announcements, competitions, sale periods etc.
  • Creating engaging and varied content for posting
    • Images work well on some platforms, others need text, video etc
    • A variation of content can engage different types of people
    • Liaise with clients regarding upcoming special occasions, announcements, competitions, sale periods etc.
  • Paid/promoted Social Media posting and ads
    • Identify times where paid promotions will be most effective
    • Create specific content which will deliver optimal results for paid content
    • Create campaigns with a dedicated budget and specific goals
  • Responding to engagements and messages
    • Dealing with and encouraging positive engagement
    • Dealing with and discouraging negative engagement (trolls, spam, unhappy customers etc)
    • Possibly developing a core group of followers who engage regularly (depending on the industry)
    • Assisting customer support by answering queries and/or forwarding inquiries to the relevant department
    • Follow-up where required
  • Reporting and revising 
    • Creating regular reports to understand and explain results internally
    • Sharing/presenting easily understandable reports for clients
    • Using results and data analysis to revise the plan and other processes to improve results over time 

Managing Social Media: Where to Begin

The first step with Social Media is to choose the platforms relevant to your business and target audience. As you can see above, there is a wide variety of platforms. Each platform has its own niche along with individual pros and cons. This means that there is simply no need for companies and brands to be active across all platforms. Below are some criteria for you which I would advise using when selecting the most appropriate platforms for your business. 

Choosing Social Media platforms for your business

  1. What platforms do you use yourself as personal accounts? Using platforms you are familiar with increases the likelihood of you actually being active on your business account – commitment and consistency above all others are vital to social media success.
  2. What platforms do your ideal customers use? Is your audience young or old, what do they tend to use the internet for, etc? Using a platform that most of your target audience uses will make it easier to grow and engage.
  3. What kind of content do you intend to create or can you produce/source on a very regular basis and cost effectively? Each platform engages users in different ways with different types of content. If you can create videos consistently, maybe YouTube and Instagram are good for you – if you are more likely to have written content, perhaps blogging/forums and LinkedIn are more suitable. 
  4. What platforms are your competitors using? This is something to check but don’t base your decision entirely on this. Check and see what they do on each platform and whether people engage with it. If not, then perhaps the competition has chosen the wrong platform to use!

Managing Social Media: Content Creation

Content creation, in this context, refers to anything that you have created or adapted to be used for your social media accounts. Some examples of common content types used on social media are listed below.

Social Media content types

  1. Text based content including 
    1. Blog posts
    2. Short “microblog” pieces – usually 50-100 words long.
    3. Famous quotes and taglines or sayings/industry terminology
  2. Photos and images
    1. Photos of products, staff, the business premises, success stories, competition winners etc
    2. Graphic images such as posters, infographics, digital flyers etc
    3. Inspirational quotes or industry knowledge/advice on an image background 
  3. Videos and animated media
    1. Professional videos in a studio or extremely organized setting
    2. Amateur videos “on the fly” or without much planning, casual videos
    3. “Talking Head” videos where a person addresses a single issue or is interviewed.
    4. Animated videos such as explainer videos or instructional videos
    5. Short videos shot with a phone camera 
  4. Sharing and commenting on third party content
    1. Sharing news and media
    2. Sharing industry news and developments
    3. Commentary and opinion on specific news and developments

Managing Social Media: Monitoring interactions.

The most effective and influential, but also most difficult task, is responding to the comments and interactions of users. For many businesses, this can be daunting and there are some dangers to be aware of. 

Responding to positive interactions

Positive interaction of users can be a hugely effective way of getting your message shared to reach more people. When people engage positively, it creates a good impression for other users. Your interaction here can also encourage more interaction. In the beginning, when the number of responses is likely to be lower, it can be a good time investment to respond to each comment. Over time, as the number of comments grows, it may not be possible to do this, but this doesn’t mean you stop altogether. Allocate a certain amount of time to doing this, even if you only respond to a small proportion of the comments, the effect is still great over time. 

Responding to negative interactions

This is an element where a thick skin and a light touch are important. You cannot expect everyone to be delighted about everything you post. Moreover, there are certain people who thrive on being negative and trying to get a company to make a mistake and say something that reflects badly on them. Do not rise to this type of activity as it will never end well! Instead, respond with grace and a touch of humour if appropriate – this is sometimes described as “starving the trolls” as you are not giving them what they want and therefore they will move on to an easier target. 

Your responses to negative comments will often say more about your company and impress people than a positive response. Most right-minded people will understand you cannot please everyone all of the time. How you handle complaints, issues and even abuse will be seen and assessed by people. If you handle things well, it reflects well on you. Remember though, the opposite is also true!

Managing Social Media: Reporting

When you have put in a lot of work, and indeed with any form of marketing, it is important to be able to assess the performance of the methods used and individual actions. Social platforms generally can give you a lot of statistics in terms of what interactions and reactions your content has caused. Keep an eye on these to understand the type of posts that have the best impact.

Some people focus only on the number of followers or “likes” an account has. This can be useful as a metric for success but not success itself. The interactions and overall impact of posts is far more important as growth in this metric will naturally result in an increase in followers. 

Summary

As you can see, there are a lot of elements to social media and social media management that are not immediately obvious. Managing social media properly can take time and effort that many business owners simply do not have. Trusting others with managing your company’s public image should not be taken lightly and so it is advisable to choose someone, or an agency, with a proven track record in the industry. This safeguards your image and ensures that social media will become an integral part of your marketing strategy and customer service, and eventually your success. For a discussion about social media options and what we can do for you, do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation and quotation.

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