User generated content is the key to social media; across the wide range of social networks, the goal to aim for is customer engagement rather than total number of “likes” or “followers”. It is essential to build a community from the start and offer something unique that the customer may not be able to access otherwise.

In this section:

How to set up an account

What to post

Tips for the Electrical Industry

Types of Social Networks

Creating a Social Media Plan (free template)

Negotiating Risk in Social Media (free templates)

 

How to set up an account


Setting up social media accounts can seem like a big process – they all have different requirements and need different information from you. But the time you invest in setting up you accounts (and it is exactly that, an investment) can help you on your way to social media success.

One of the first things to think about it why you’re setting up an account – is it to drive people to your website, to promote your blog content or to generate new leads and sales? Is it all of these things? Answering these questions will help you decide which account is best for you, because you certainly don’t need to use them all. See our section below on creating a Social Media Plan for a free template that can help you answer these questions.

General rules for setting up any account

Your bio is one of the most important parts of your social media page. Here, you can share basic information about your business, adding your website and email address, and basically pointing people to your website. The thing to remember here is to be consistent across networks – although you can be more relaxed on Facebook or Twitter than on LinkedIn, where you should be more professional, use the same key terms were possible. Also, make sure you use the same name across networks; this helps with building your brand online. This rule also applies to images; where possible, use the same profile image across accounts.

For tips on setting up accounts on different networks, see this handy guide from social media publishing specialists, Hootsuite.

 

What to post


In general, you should think of your posts on social media the way you would approach a dinner party; to show yourself in a good light, you shouldn’t talk about yourself the entire time. Marketers have developed the 4-1-1 Rule. The rule states that for every self-serving tweet, post, or update, a brand should share four new pieces of content and generate one re-share. Basically, you shouldn’t approach social media as a selling tool alone; social media is about communication and interaction and not just a place to continually push your product. Learn from the mistakes of others in our blog post – the Worst Social Media Fails of 2014.

Tips for the electrical industry

The 4-1-1 Rule is a great starting point for electrical businesses and social media. This can be further heightened by making attempts to humanise your content. Social media is a about balancing your needs with that of your followers – the last thing you want is to sound like an automated robot. Try humanising your content with these simple tips:

Understand that you should never delete negative comments

Social media (in particular platforms such as Facebook) is the go-to place for customer feedback these days, as people use the networks to inform their friends about great (or not-so-great) customer service. Although this can have it’s benefits, it does also mean you might receive some less than flattering feedback on your accounts. Instead of deleting the comment, take this as an opportunity to improve the situation and offer amazing customer service to address the issue. Not only will this help the customer who first posted the complaint, it will also show your other followers that you’re willing and able to help all customers.

Address breaking news, even if it’s not industry related

Not everything you post has to be related to the electrical industry. If you think your audience will enjoy it, post about a current event, like the AFL or NRL Grand Final, a celebrity gaffe or an international event.

Give credit where credit is due

You will find a lot of content to share from other sources, so why not let them know you value their content? It can be as simple as adding their social media name to your post.

Know your industry

Are their major events happening in the electrical industry, or are any awards open for nomination? Even if you can’t attend, join the conversation. It’s a great way for industry members to see your page, and prompt them to like it.

Keep track of your investment

Measuring Return on Investment (ROI) for social media can be tricky as there is no one sure-fire system to measure them all. Rather, each platform tends to build its own analytics system into its product. Just 26 per cent of SMEs formally measure the return on their social media investment, compared to 51 per cent of large businesses. Don’t let that figure deter you; measuring ROI can be done; you simply need to know your metrics. See Measuring ROI for more.

Create a posting schedule

Trying to think of a social media post on the spot can be tricky, so it can be beneficial to create a posting schedule. In a simple spreadsheet or word document, gather links to interesting articles, images and facts that you would like to share with your fans. Then, once a week you can schedule your posts (many platforms have built in schedulers, or you could try using a scheduling assistant such as Hootsuite). A schedule not only assists with keeping posts inline with your key messages, it also helps maintain the 4-1-1 Rule. If you would prefer to post daily, Hootsuite has developed a handy tool for completingyour social media tasks in just 18 minutes each day.

 

Types of Social Networks: use what works for you


It is important to remember that you don’t have to master each network; rather, choose those that suit your client base, and do them well. This could mean you only use one platform, or it might mean you use them all. See the links below for specific benefits and strategies for the different types of social media platforms.

Facebook and Social Networking Sites

Twitter and Microblogging

LinkedIn and Professional Networking Sites

Online Forums

Blogging Basics

YouTube and Video

Social Image Sharing

 

Creating a Social Media Plan


As with most business activities, it’s best to plan your social media strategy carefully, rather than jumping in full steam ahead. Our Social Media Plan template can assist you with formulating a plan for your ideas whilst assigning roles and responsibilities for each task. In working through this document, you will need to make a number of decisions about your business goals and finances, so you might like to have current documents such as budgets and business/marketing plans available as you complete the template.  

 

Negotiating Risk in Social Media


Social media offers the opportunity for businesses to engage with their customers in a non-traditional way, allowing for increased customer service levels, better communication and of course job leads. However it has also brought about new risks for employers. Negative customer reviews, issues with privacy and confidentiality and staff use of social media can all present problems for your business.

A simple Social Media Policy can provide you with the necessary steps for addressing these issues if they arise. It assists staff with adding content to your channels, outlining the platforms you use, content creation and moderation and how to address any negative comments that may arise. Our Social Media Policy template can help you create a policy for your business. Download it now to get started.

Additionally, you may like to consider a separate policy that informs your staff of their rights and responsibilities on their personal social media accounts when discussing your business. This document can be implemented as part of your induction process, and outlines for your staff your expectations with regards to social media. You can download a template staff policy here.

 
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