Congrats! You’ve got your first client. Now what? Here’s a step-by-step guide:
1) Create a folder on your computer, Dropbox or Box where you will keep all the files and marketing assets related to that business. We recommend making a master file where you will keep all the info related to the business and track your work. Include notes from any communication you’ve had with the business owner, billing information, consumer research, what you’ve posted each day on each channel, a log of the likes/followers on each network, and any other pertinent information.
2) Create an email you will use to handle all of that business’ social media posts. If the owner has a domain and email system, they can create one with their domain for you (best practice). If they don’t, a Gmail account will do. We recommend not using your personal email for this. On sites like Facebook where you can clearly differentiate between your personal and business personas, designating your personal profile as the admin is okay.
3) Claim or create all the needed social media accounts. Make sure all the information is accurate and spelled correctly. Name of the business, address, web address, phone numbers, opening hours, etc. Most sites have a place for photos, so add those as well. Make yourself an administrator of these profiles, but, when possible, also give administrator status to the owner or someone on their behalf. They should always have access to their own account.
Owner responsibility: Provide and confirm all the relevant information. Provide high-quality photos of the business for upload to social sites. Provide access to existing social profiles if those exist.
4) Learn about the business and about its customers. Collect information from the owner, including their history and whatever consumer research or CRM data that they already have. Conduct your own research on the web and social media. Whenever possible, ask to speak with customers of the business.
5) Based on your findings, brainstorm content types to post. Start finding such content and saving it in a special file. For example: photos of food, tips for car maintenance etc. It’s good to have a bank of these sorted by business type. You will have to continuously generate relevant and timely content, of course, but some days might be slower than others. This bank will serve you well on such occasions. Be careful not to post the same content to businesses that are in the same industry and location, as their followers might overlap. While once in a while this can strengthen a specific post, customers will lose interest if all the businesses they follow share the exact same content all the time.
6) Agree with the owner on content specific to the business that they would like to post. Examples include: announcements on deals and specials, owner and staff profiles, photos from the business, and happy customer quotes.
Owner responsibility: Regularly supplying you with content or helping you create it. Agree on a schedule and process for this. For example, uploading all the content to a specified Dropbox or Box folder weekly, sending an email with a list of what’s been uploaded and days/times to post them. The more specific the process you have, the better. You need this to be part of the owner’s routine.
7) Enlist customers to follow the business on social media. You need to think about where is the best place to capture your potential audience. For an online business, it’s a bit easier; make sure social media links are everywhere and easy to click on. On the homepage, in the checkout pages, in emails sent to customer. Then, see which drives likes and follows and push that channel. You may need cooperation from the business’ webmaster for this but most of those actions you can take yourself. For offline businesses, the path is harder. Of course they should put social media links everywhere they have an online presence but frankly, few people go to a business’ site to follow it unless they are actively steered there. Offline businesses need to solicit social media followers where they meet their customers, offline.
8) Set up a feedback program for the business. The best way to handle negative reviews and comments is to keep them away from public social networks. How do you do that? You give customers a better alternative. With Yelp gaining power and Facebook starting to collect business reviews, this is becoming an extremely important aspect of the social media manager’s job. We will dedicate a special post to this soon.