Building social media profiles and a community for a business from scratch is a lot like standing at the bottom of a mountain, preparing to start the long, daunting hike to the top. In all of my previous experiences managing social media accounts, I’ve had the luxury of jumping in halfway, building upon someone else’s hard work in terms of social media presence.
Recently, I started this trek with a client who didn’t have accounts on Twitter, Facebook or LInkedIn, so it was up to me to take the first steps and fight my way up. This path has not been an easy one, and just like an actual hike up an actual mountain, it was filled with setbacks, trip ups and triumphs. The last few months have taught me a few valuable lessons helpful for anyone starting from scratch, for an organization, personally, or in my case for an event.
This first lesson applies to more than just working with other people. One of my first hiccups in this process was getting my clients’ website and social media profiles to work together. Some platforms sometimes don’t play very nicely with one another. In this case, the event website wasn’t really compatible.
I had to double check all of the posts to make sure the right title, descriptions and featured images appeared in the update. We also ran into issues where the status update looked fine, but the link actually took users to the wrong place on the website. It was extremely frustrating and time-consuming but so important to make sure all of the links went where they were supposed to.
The other part of teamwork was working with other people. Working closely with my client we defined expectations, goals and overall strategy for the next few months. Together we clarified her target audience and identified the type of content they would find interesting. Regular communication and feedback kept us on track.
Budgeting (time and resources)
This was a long campaign and getting started was slow. It’s tempting to throw money at social media advertising until people start paying attention, but really it’s about building a healthy network of people and organizations that are relevant and engaged. Yes, spending money was critical to the success of this campaign (as I’m sure we’re all aware, social media is pay to play) but it isn’t everything. Budgeting my time and resources was vital to the success of this campaign. I couldn’t sprint to the top without exhausting my resources, so creating reasonable goals and checkpoints helped me track my progress and make sure I was on track to meet our goals in time.
As far as a financial budget, money can only get you so far. Creating interesting, relevant content is necessary whether you’re spending ad dollars or not. If we had just created paid ads and let the account sit silently without any other content, the page wouldn’t be appealing to anyone. Sure we would reach people, but the chances of them being engaged audience members is slim to none.
In the beginning, I saw very positive results, good engagement and returns on my advertisement investments. However, after some exciting bursts of interaction things began to slow down. Gaining followers was much more difficult, and didn’t happen with as much frequency as in the beginning. This happens and it’s natural.
When this happens it is time to shake things up. Vary your content, add a bit more advertising, reach out to individuals one on one. Also go back and look at what has worked in the past and look to share more of the most engaging content. This next level takes more work but that is how you break through.
With one week left before this event, I can see the peak of the mountain and I am so looking forward to getting there. This last push is the hardest as we prepare for the event itself. If you’re preparing for an event or time sensitive release of a product, the time before is crucial. Not only am I ramping up content and conversation, I’m scheduling tweets and making sure everything is in place for the big day. Preparation helps make sure you’re ready for situations or difficulties that occur when you least expect them.
Preparing for the next climb
Once the event is over, what’s next? Well for us, the plan is to start preparing for next year. Yes, the social media channels have been established, but the work doesn’t stop there. In this case, the next mountain is already on the horizon and preparations for next year’s conference have already begun. So whether you’re creating campaigns for special deals, trying to gain more followers or getting people interested in an event, social media management is no small feat. For more help on getting started, take a look at our social media starter kit.
Roundpeg is an Indianapolis content marketing firm.