29 / 4 / 2014 9.49am
Free and paid-for social media management services exist. Many free services are lighter versions of paid services and act as an introduction to the paid for product while still offering a useful service. When deciding whether to pay for a social media management or analytics service you should consider:
- Are you going to be using multiple social media platforms? Often the platform’s website gives you some data to be going along with.
- Is the paid service going to give you statistics that you can’t get for free and are you going to have the time to work with the extra statistics to make the payment worthwhile? Are you going to derive additional value from paying for a service?
- Social media is full of big numbers – thousands of followers, millions of potential audience members – does the service help you break down these big numbers into understandable and manageable chunks or just send you a big list?
As you start to use social media, free services will suffice while you get up to speed with the platforms and the audiences on them. Waiting until you have experience on social media will help you pick a good service provider if you would like to buy a service.
Here are a few tips in starting, maintaining and getting the most from your social media profiles with or without a paid for service.
Starting your social media profile(s):
- be topical
- take advantage of experience – read about and learn from the mistakes of others
- do your research – back up your decisions with evidence of need, audience, and opportunity don’t reinvent the wheel.
Sustaining your social media profile(s) the three C’s:
- capacity – how much time you can commit to social media, set out goals that are achievable within that limit
- content, it’s king – plan it, have a back-up for when something doesn't come off, make it regular
- community – be part of it, don’t try control it.
Getting the best from your social media profile(s):
- embrace feedback
- take a break – an individual staff member cannot be expected to maintain quality social media outputs and outcomes without a break and some thinking time now and again.
- have a succession plan
- know when to stop – don’t dig yourself into a hole, don’t engage in arguments, and stop your social media work if it isn't achieving its goals.