Tackling the Beast of Social Media is no easy challenge and it can feel overwhelming at first. Take a deep breath and let’s start planning how to do it the right way.

With so many social platforms available, it’s important to have a clear plan before you begin. Take your time getting organized in the beginning so it’s easier down the road. So grab a pen and paper because here are 8 steps to get you ready to launch your social media channels:

  1. Define your goals.
  2. Understand your audience.
  3. Create engaging content.
  4. Engage in conversation.
  5. Create a schedule.
  6. Monitor your efforts.

1. Define your goals.

Are you trying to generate sales? Are you trying to connect with your customers & build loyalty? Do you want to inform people about your products/services? It is important to understand how you want social media to benefit your business. Once you know this, you will be able to narrow down your social media channels and work out your strategy.

2. Understand your audience.

If you have been in business for a long time, you probably know your audience quite well. Or at least your current customers. Perhaps you have a whole new digital-based audience that you can reach via social media? If you are just starting out, knowing your potential customer/client may take a bit of guesswork.

Photo by Erik Lucatero

Once you have figured out who your customer is, you need to find out what social media platforms they will be using the most? Selecting a few important platforms and investing valuable content in them is better than being on all of them. Let’s say your company sells organic baby food. In this case, most of your efforts will be geared towards Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest – this is where parents spend their time looking for baby tips, products, and ideas.

Let’s look at another example, and say you have a website development company. You would probably focus more of your efforts on Twitter and LinkedIn, where people spend more time discussing or looking for news, B2B & technology focused information.

3. Create engaging content.

What is the “personality” of your business? Be consistent and create content that fits with your brand style and tone of voice. Understanding your audience and knowing what types of content will engage them will help you choose what to post.

Be consistent and create content that fits with your brand style and tone of voice.

Be sure not to overly promote your business or product in every post. Only 20% of the posts should directly promote your business. 80% of your posts should be everything else, such as industry news, educational posts & entertaining memes.

4. Engage in conversation

After you’ve posted you’re awesome content, it is important to monitor how your audience is interacting with it. Respond to questions or comments as soon as you can, thank someone if they have “shared” or “retweeted” a post of yours. A good idea is to end your posts with an incentive to interact. Encourage people to share their opinion, share your post or follow a link.

5. Create a schedule

Start with what you’re going to post weekly and stick to it as much as you can. Mondays could be #motivationmonday – use an inspiring quote which will resonate with your readers. Decide that each Tuesday you will write an engaging new blog post, ensure that you share this content across all channels on the same day and also on Thursday. Stick a printed schedule on the wall by your desk so you don’t forget. If you have a larger team, you could use an online project management tool such as Trello or Google Calendar so everyone is on the same page.

Photo by Brooke Lark

Then, look ahead to the year. Create a quarterly plan to help guide yourself through a few months of the company’s special events, promotions and upcoming national holidays and observances (even the silly social media holidays, such as #WearYourPajamasToWorkDay). It’s great to find a public holiday that relates to your business so it makes sense that your posting about it.

As with many things, it’s quality over quantity.

6. Monitor your efforts.

This is where you go from working hard to working smart. Check on how your posts do to see where you’re hitting the mark and getting the most engagement. Which posts are the most liked & have created the most conversation or shares? Analyze this information and adjust you’re social media plan accordingly.