In order to manage your social media successfully, key first steps include the development of a full social media audit of your current social set-up, finding your target audience online and repeating the successes of other online brand leaders. The more comprehensive you make your initial social audit, the easier the social media management piece will be moving forward. As a starting point for this social media audit, you will want to find out what social platforms you currently have business profiles on and are actively marketing (this will include the main social channels like Google Plus, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pintrest, Facebook but may include other channels that are more syndication based or less mainstream). There will also be clearly defined areas that you will want to target like those detailed below.
Social media analysis
You will want to look into the management information that you have available to you and prioritise the social media marketing activities that are currently having the biggest impact on you business. At this stage, I am assuming that the social channels that you are active on historically have had roughly the same levels of marketing activity and social engagement drives internally. The starting point for this analysis would generally be Google Analytics but you will also want to utilise any specific management information that you can gain from the social platforms themselves (Facebook marketing information being one of note).
Following social footsteps
As with any online marketing activities, time invested in completing some comprehensive competitor reviews of social promotions, business pages and general social engagement (especially on key brand leaders within your niche) is definitely time well spent. From this, take note of areas you like, areas that you wish to implement or emulate to differing degrees as well as social engagement areas that you would want to avoid.
Diarising social promotion
Building in a degree of diarised activities can help to ensure that your social media activities avoid being an initial hive of activity followed by an unwanted strain on resources. The clearer that you are able to be from the outset with regards to who is engaging socially, how often they are communicating socially and on what social media channels (and topics) they are expected to manage, the more future-proof your social media management strategy will become.
Be aware of the possible risks
When you open social channels with new and existing audiences and start actively communicating with them online, you need to be ready to handle any possible negative feedback that you receive. Putting in place a comprehensive crisis management plan ensures that everyone who is actively involved with your social media marketing (Google Plus marketing, Facebook marketing and other platforms) has a clearly defined role. More than this, everyone in the social promotion team has a clear guidance (ideally a documented one) on who they need to speak to immediately with negative press, what they should say to deal with situations as they arise and what the exact process is for handling online negative feedback.