As a small business owner, finding the time to promote your business and check in with customers on social media can be tricky. Yet the medium promises big rewards: The lead-to-close rate for social media is 100 percent higher than that for outbound marketing, according to the State of Inbound Marketing 2012 report. Small business owners who want in the social media mix can follow these tips to create the perfect social media team and get things started right:

Needs and Tools

Before you jump into the Twitterverse, evaluate your social media needs and the tools that best serve them. Tumblr would be a great tool for connecting with teens, but it’s less useful at targeting boomers. If you have a small law practice, visual channels like Instagram and Pinterest won’t be as useful as newsy social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Select three to four social media channels to start out with to avoid getting overwhelmed with full-scale immersion.

Putting Together a Full Scale Team

Your social media team should be able to wear a variety of different of different hats, so to speak:

  • public relations: monitors trends and responds to problems

  • customer service and sales: you’ll need someone to deal with irritated customers

  • production and creative: someone on hand to create and edit content

  • analytics: track campaign analytics and watch ROI

  • human resources: First, employees who have to use social media in their jobs need to have this in their job descriptions. Second, social media can be used to vet new hires

  • legal: social media can bring up intellectual property issues and matters concerning copyrights concerning decorum

Knowing this in advance allows you to draw on your staff to create a diverse social media team where members can leverage their different strengths accordingly.

Set Expectations

When you develop a social media team, you might think that everything has to be social now. Not so; you still might want marketing to send a direct mailing campaign to announce your annual gala, and so you’ll want to invest in office equipment for processing mailings. A postage meter can process 18-40 letters per minute, helping to make that corporate mailing as efficient as an email blast.

Multichannel Magic’s Debra Ellis suggests starting with a small goal, like developing 1,000 followers. As next steps, try to get your customers engaged in conversation, and finally, get them to convert. As you grow your following, more people are likely to click on links you post, become engaged and finally become brand ambassadors.

Article by Splash Media