How to stay on top of your social media channels using our social media checklist.
Any social media manager will tell you that this job requires you to wear a lot of hats. Not only do you have to identify your audience, create an effective strategy, and write the clever/thoughtful/inspiration posts that will draw attention to your business, you’re also in charge of your brand’s public image.
An effective social media manager has to balance speed and responsiveness against attention to detail. If you’re too slow to respond, you could miss an opportunity. Conversely, an ill-considered or typo-ridden post could lead to embarrassment.
Following a process can help you save yourself from making the wrong move. To that end, we’ve created our own checklist to help our team stay coordinated. Here’s what we do before we make a social media post. Is there anything you would add?
When you launch your channel:
1. Set a profile pic.
Keep it simple. Your profile pic should be your logo. Done.
2. Set a banner image.
Your profile pic appears on all your posts, but your banner image is what appears at the header of your channel when people come to visit. You can use it for brand reinforcement, but it’s also a great place to promote a sale, a new product, or an upcoming event.
3. Like, invite, follow.
When you first start a channel, follow some other thought leaders or influencers in your industry. These posts will fill your newsfeed, giving you plenty of material to curate for the future.
Before you post:
As we said earlier, social media is a balancing act. If a customer tags you in a post, you should respond promptly. From a logistical standpoint, you can’t ask a second person to proofread everything you write. Some of those posts will be on your own shoulders, and you’re likely to miss a few things along the way. That’s alright. Proofread it yourself, just as you would an email.
However, when it comes to scheduled content, there should be plenty of time for you to send it to a proofreader. Remember, when you write something yourself, you’re likely to become blind to your own mistakes. A proofreader can help prevent a social media faux pas.
2. Include images.
Social posts with images draw more engagement. Images draw our attention and can add more nuance to the words we write. Whenever you create an original social post, always include an image. Want to go even further? Go with a gif, especially if you want to add some humor to your post.
3. Search for hashtags.
Hashtags connect you to groups and movements, organize your posts by theme, and add nuance to your messaging. It’s worthwhile to research common hashtags in your industry to know which ones are popular. Also, keep an eye on trending hashtags for opportunities to reach out to new audiences. However, a caveat: before you use an unfamiliar hashtag for the first time, see what others are posting. You don’t want to accidentally misuse a hashtag and find yourself connected to a group or movement you don’t want to be associated with.
4. Tag people and places.
Social media is, well, social. If you’re at an event hosted by a business, tag their business in your post. If you hear a great idea, tag the person who shared it with you. Give credit where it’s due, and provide sources for your ideas when you can. Not only is it the polite thing to do, but people appreciate praise. If you say something nice about them, you’ll reach their networks, and they’ll be more likely to give you a shout-out in return.
If you’re planning posts out a week or two ahead, you’ll want to use a scheduling tool to set them up. This can be a huge timesaver, but it’s also easy to make a mistake. Double-check the times and dates, and make sure you haven’t missed anything. It can be easy to share to one channel and forget to include another.
6. Check the news!
If you’ve scheduled a number of things in advance, it’s important to keep an eye on breaking news and be ready to pull anything if it becomes suddenly inappropriate. The last thing you want is to have a scheduled post about what a great and wonderful day it is go out on the morning of some huge, unexpected tragedy. It’s likely your audience will understand what happened, but it still looks bad.
After you post:
Did a customer respond to your post? Did a follower ask you a question? Did someone tag you in a tweet? Have someone ready to respond whenever your brand receives some attention. If you’re a small business, you don’t have to have someone on this 24/7, but you should have someone ready to respond during business hours.
Not everyone will tag your brand when they start talking about you. In fact, many of them will avoid doing so, particularly if they have something negative to say. Because of this, it’s useful to check for this kind of discussion yourself. Search the social platform for your brand name. If you see something about you, particularly if it’s negative, reach out to see if you can do anything to help the situation.
Whenever you’re on your channel, take a minute to check your own newsfeed for interesting stories. If you see a post or read an article that has some useful information for your audience, spread it around. The people who posted the original story might even notice and come to check out your feed.
Process makes perfect.
None of us can be on top of everything at all times. We all have lapses in concentration, especially when we’re feeling stressed or overworked. Fortunately, the right process can have our backs and keep us from the biggest errors. Process isn’t everything, but it can go a long way toward making a busy job a little bit easier to manage.