Creating something from scratch is not an easy task. It takes a great amount of dedication, time and passion to take an idea and make it a reality.
At first glance, this line of thinking doesn’t seem to apply to social media accounts. The various platforms (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.) have made it extremely easy to set up an account in less than 10 minutes. However, if you are creating an account for an organization in a bid to attract customers, engage members or capture the hearts of donors, you have to build a high-quality arena in which to promote your organization. This takes much longer than 10 minutes.
While tackling the small details of building the perfect social media account can seem overwhelming, there are three main elements you need to keep in mind. Here they are:
Have a Plan
Having a plan is probably the most important part of creating a social media account. Without a plan, building a quality account will take much more resources than if you took some time beforehand to sketch a blueprint for the social media site.
Having a plan includes a variety of elements that need to be considered before you go to work posting, uploading and gaining followers. First of all, you need to think about the overall goals of the account, including the audience you want to target and the brand you want to convey to this audience. These factors drive the creation process and the rest of your account management.
Once you have figured out your goals and strategy around the account, you need to plan the more tangible parts of your account, such as the photos that will be used, the wording that composes the ‘About’ sections and collecting other smaller details, such as the contact information for the organization. This will make the process much faster and more efficient.
Lastly, it’s important to plan the content you are going to present on the account in the short-term. Creating an account and leaving it dormant while you think up a post or a tweet or a video, etc. is no way to encourage a following. Have a few pieces of content ready to go in order to populate the account for the first week or two. Draw up a publishing calendar and stick to it.
Connect With the Right People
The whole point of having a social media account is to promote your organization and you can’t do that without having an audience. Your potential audience is not going to flock to your account immediately as they often don’t even know you’re on the platform. This is when you need to connect with the right people in order to draw attention and gain an audience.
The first step in connecting with the right people happens before you even set up the account. Create a list of people and organizations that you will connect with once the account is built. This includes users in your community and your target demographic that are active and influential on social media. For instance, if you an association, connecting with members who are very active and have a large following on the platform you are starting on will help you gain traction and hopefully increase your following.
After launching the account, start by including users from your target demographic in your posts. Share their content, give them a shout out or just say hi. Whatever it is, tag them, engage them and show them why your account will add value to their lives. Making these users aware of your organization’s existence on social media will make it more likely that they will engage with your organization in turn (which should include a follow!).
Lastly, make sure your first set of posts are visible to a wide array of relevant online communities. For example, if you have just created a Twitter account for your clothes store in Toronto, research the hashtags that correspond to your target audience and their use of Twitter. Use these hashtags in your posts. This will go a long way in establishing your brand and organization into the community of people that you want you want to attract.
Don’t Get Discouraged
The last part of creating a social media account that you should always remember is to never get discouraged. It is likely that in the first couple weeks of a new social media account that you will not receive the huge boost in engagement and followers (and sales) that you were expecting. This is normal. Creating an online presence takes time as there is only so much you can do to lead users to your organization’s account. Sometimes they need to discover you by themselves and that takes time.
Instead of panicking, keep on working towards providing valuable, high-quality content to your audience. Promote the account through your other established means, which might be an e-newsletter, your email signature, business cards, a magazine, at events or through word of mouth. Keep tracking the response to your posts and develop strategies to counteract any obstacles you see developing from these measurements. Remember, online marketing is a cost-effective way to get the word out, so stick to it and the results will come eventually!