I wanted to share the basic strategy and plan for getting your social media efforts up and running effectively. I’ll go thru it step-by-step to outline the important tasks.

Your first step in creating a social media plan is to identify one person to be the primary source of content generation. This person should be responsible for collecting, distributing, and scheduling content. Choose this person wisely and don’t overload your front desk staff/servers/office manager with this task. Once you’ve identified your social media manager, your next step is to claim your account on Facebook, Twitter, and Google +.

Next, create standard imagery for your business, make sure you have a high quality logo file, and craft verbiage that you can leverage on all social media platforms. All social media platforms have unique requirements for images size and number of characters, so keep this in mind when creating your profile information. (A quick google search will help you figure out the requirements). Make sure to use the same type of imagery and colors among your platforms to create trust and credibility for your customers.

As you’re filling out the basic information for your business, make sure to use selected keywords to further optimize your presence and make it easier to appear for local searches on these platforms. For example, you may want to include “medical imaging” “italian restaurant” “doggy day-care” in your business description. Also, don’t forget to consistently use the brick and morter address as you’re claiming each profile (i.e. 441 N. XYZ Street vs. 441 North XYZ Street).

Once everything is setup and filled out, take pictures of your business and your team so potential clients can get familiar with your business. Professional photos are highly recommended,however, don’t let that stop you from taking pictures from your camera and posting them in the short-term.

Last, but, not least, post informative and valuable content on your platforms. Here’s a great way to think about each platform and how to create content for them (example is a doughnut shop)

Twitter: ”Doughnut of the month: Raspberry Glazed Chocolate bit.ly/drgcphoto

Facebook: Behind the scenes photos of the chef’s creating our very first Raspberry Glazed Chocolate doughnuts!

Google +: Join our “hangout” (video conference) and talk to our chefs about the best tips on making doughnuts at home!

Here are some examples of what and how often to post:

Twitter: Generally, I recommend between 4-6 posts daily on this network. Twitter is a real-time service and you want to catch your audience whenever they are logged in.

Facebook: The standard posting schedule is about 2-3 times a week. Keep in mind that every facebook “like” is valuable as it allows you to reach your customers constantly.

Google +: I recommend posting 2-3 times a week on this platform as well, not only because it’s a valuable search engine tool but a great way to leverage Google Places and the “Hangout” feature to reach more customers.

As with any social media platform, don’t be overly promotional. Talk about your community, become a resource, provide useful tips, offer general service information, and information on your upcoming events. Do you support local community initiatives? Fundraise? This is all great content to share with your customers. You want to show off your business’ personality and social media is a great way to continue highlighting your business in the community.