By Simone Douglas, Chief Executive Officer Social Media AOK

It would seem nearly everyone is on social media these days. In Australia alone, 7 out of 10 people are on Facebook, and they’re spending roughly 12.5 hours a week on the channel.

The temptation to jump right in and try to generate business is tempting, right?

Befofe you take the leap for your business or brand, here are the top five things you need to get your head around:

  1. Do you actually know your target market?

Many business owners’ default to “My customer is anyone who….”.

When it comes to social media, you can’t be all things to all people. Applying a ‘machine gun’ approach is likely to have you out of bullets quickly, and with no food on the table. Get really clear about who your top clients are; these are the ones that make you the most profit and take up the least amount of your time. The top 20% are the ones that you want to replicate, so get really clear on who they are:

How old are they?

Where do they live?

What are their interests?

What social media do they use?

You can’t really get started until you know who it is that you really want to talk to, so be clear on your target market as it will inform everything else that you do.

  1. What does your customer engagement plan look like?

So, someone visited your venue, or stayed at your B&B, or came on one of your tours – what now?

You need to have a distinct plan around building your ‘social proof’ by capitalising on their fantastic experiences.  How will you ensure that you have an even amount of reviews on Facebook, Google and Trip Advisor? If you are in the business of corporate events or travel, LinkedIn recommendations are going to be critical too.

With encouraging fresh reviews on a regular basis, you also need to have a plan on responding all to reviews – good and bad.  Having been in hospitality for 15 years my best advice for you in dealing with negative reviews online is first to imagine that you are dealing with someone that is twice your size and only a foot away from you. It’s important not to get defensive, but to instead respond in a way that positions you as the customer-centric, professional business that you are.

  1. What are your sales goals?

Too often marketing and sales departments or individuals in a business don’t speak to each other, but the reality is that the best social media strategies tie into your sales goals.

If you need 30 new visitors a week, or you are looking to increase occupancy, you really need to narrow it down to hard numbers and then work out the target market that is best suited to achieving these goals. From there your messaging will be sharp and tailored to suit and tracking results and conversions through your website from social media advertising will be much simpler.

  1. How the hell do I measure this stuff?

First off, it is not about the Likes, Fans or Followers – these things do not put food on the table.

It is about traffic to your website, time on site, contact forms submitted, or leads generated.

If you have never looked at the Google Analytics on your website or don’t even have access to it, then now is the time to fix that and fast. Google Analytics gives you all the information you need to work out how successful your different marketing activities are and where you might be losing customers.

  1. How much is social media really costing me?

Social media is free right? Anyone can do it!  Technically true. It doesn’t cost you anything to register your profiles and set them up – except time!  And what if you do it all yourself and don’t do it well?  It becomes a time, resource and opportunity cost to your business.

Ask yourself how much your time is worth. Then look at how many hours you are spending pulling this stuff together, and how much more would you make if you were actually focussed on the things that you do best?

If you are the face of your business, then the time you spend doing social also comes at an opportunity cost. Don’t get me wrong if you have spent time developing your skills and staying abreast of all the changes that roll out daily, then running the whole box and dice yourself is easy.  But if you haven’t, then you might want to have a think about what you are missing out on in the process.

Social Media AOK are a proud partner of TiCSA.