Alexander Conroy

Simple and Effective Social Media-Network Community Management for Small Businesses

Social Media - Social Network Icon CollageOne of the biggest challenges in implementing a social media campaign for small and mid size businesses is community management.  We constantly here “I don’t have time”, which is often true for small business owners, or “this is going to take too much time”.  This causes to many small business owners to give up on social media sometimes before they even start, or abandoning their social networks and letting it all sit unattended.  If you have not yet developed a social media strategy this should be step one.  

Below we have outlined a simple plan for small business owners to manage their own social networks.  For many business owners there simply not enough time in the day to do it all or more than likely your time is spent better doing something else.  While this is true, social media is an important part of your digital marketing campaign and SEO program it still must get done.  For those that do not want to manage their own social media we have outlined how to hire a community manager or outsource it.  

Managing Your Communities

Social media is all about engagement and interaction and to be successful it is essential that you consistently interact with and contribute to the community.  One way posts and unattended social media accounts are not effective and in fact can even harm your brand.  

Mega Brands have must constantly monitor their social networks because there is so much going on for a brand the size of Best Buy, ATT, or Comcast.  Small businesses don’t need to constantly their  networks, which can make their job easier.  For your small business social networks checking in a couple of times a day is adequate, and in fact if you do this you will be better than most, but it is vital that you do monitor your social networks and contribute. 

Checking Posts and Responding: develop a daily routine

Checking and responding to posts daily is an absolute must.  Once you get the hang of this it goes quickly and only takes a few minutes.  If it takes longer then you have a lot going on and that is great! 

  1.  Facebook: check comments and respond if required at least daily, twice a day preferred.  
  2. Google Plus: check comments and respond if required at least daily, twice a day preferred.
  3. Twitter: check @messages (aka mentions) at least twice daily, checking # hashtags for your industry and responding or contributing is a great way to build followers and develop your brand.  Follow back new followers at your discretion. 

Posting to Your Communities

 Posting content and contributing is perhaps the most important part of community management.  Naturally you will post your own blogs as they are published and perhaps re-share some old ones, however a great social media campaign is not just all about you and your brand.  Curating great content from other sources in your industry delivers information and value to your users and makes your social networks much more interesting.  BUT make sure the content you share is news worthy and interesting, if you have nothing interesting to say then say nothing.  

  1. Facebook: 2 to 3 posts per week is great for most B2B and B2C small businesses and you do not want to post more than once a day.  If you are in entertainment this may be different depending on what is going on at the moment.  
  2. Google Plus: daily posts are great, you can post more often on Google Plus but we highly advise to only do so if it is interesting content.    
  3. Twitter: Twitter is real time so you can post here much more frequently.  Posting relevant industry news is great for Twitter and you can post this several times a day although this is not a must. 
  4. LinkedIn: while LinkedIn is still not as active as Facebook with regard to content and sharing, the new format has increased this activity and you definately want to post your content here as a minimum.  We also recommend posting high quality relevant articles on LinkedIn, but do so sparingly, no more that 2 to 3 times per week.  

Hire a Community Manager or Firm

Another option is to hire a community manager, either a firm or individual, to handle your social media for you.  Social Media has become so integral with our SEO strategy that we now include Community Management with some of our SEO programs.  Below are some suggestions of what to look for in a community manager.  

What to look for in a Community Manager or firm

  1. Experience: managing Facebook and Google Plus pages.  This is a must, there is a huge difference between chatting with friends on your personal Facebook or Google Plus profile and managing a company’s page from both a technical standpoint and interaction standpoint.  Make sure they have done this before, they know it and they are good at it.
  2. Writing Style-Ability: When they post content it will be as your brand so make sure they have good writing skills and a style that is appropriate for your brand.
  3. Common Sense: this firm or person will be managing your social network brand identity on your behalf and it is essential that they have good judgement and common sense if something happens. 
  4. Communication: it is important to have good communication between you and your community manager.  You need to be able to rely on them  to keep you informed.  Likewise you must keep them informed about what is going on in your business, new and interesting developments, and what you want.  Keep them informed! 
  5. Consistency: you must be able to rely on your community manager to consistently check posts, respond and contribute posts on your agreed schedule.