Are you launching a new social channel in 2019? Perhaps you’re launching a cute new business, or you’re exploring a new social channel to target a different audience. While setting up a new social media channel is a straightforward process on most social media platforms with the click of a button, getting the channel ready for your audience to engage with it is a very different thing.
There is quite a bit of ‘hidden work’ which is easy to overlook, which can turn setting up a new social media channel from a five-minute job, into a five-hour job. It’s useful to be aware of the sneaky extra tasks so when you’re next setting up a social media account, you’ve allocated enough time for the job.
So what do you need to do to set up a new channel and get it ready to rock and roll?
One of the first tasks which should be done is research on your potential username. It’s important to make your usernames as consistent as possible across your social media channels so that your customers can find you from one channel to another.
It sounds obvious, but it’s surprising how many people set up accounts in a hurry and don’t maintain consistent usernames. Do some research on what usernames are available on your platform to select one which best fits.
PRO TIP: If your original name isn’t available is to consider adding your city or country abbreviation to the end of your name, or adding an underscore. Don’t be one of those people who add a number ‘1’ or ‘2’ on the end!
Are you sharing the login and password with anyone else? Or is it just you? You can set up an account with your work email address, but it’s important to consider how that account will be accessed by those in your role in the future, or if others will be logging in too.
All too often are business pages set up with someone’s work email address and a few years later that person leaves the company – and their email address is disabled. Suddenly no staff member in the company can access the account or reset the password. In some circumstances, it’s better to set up a dummy email account (i.e. email@example.com), with a password which anyone on your social team has access to. Using a password manager will also help keep this secure.
Alternatively, if you are setting it up for a client and are using a client’s email address to set up an account, they are likely to need to click on a verification link, so be prepared for some potentially slow-moving back and forth to verify the login details. In this case, I recommend for this is asking the client to set a rule in their inbox to auto-forward emails from that social network or scheduling tool so you can act on it immediately without them having to manually forward notification emails.
The About Section
Your bio or About Page for a social channel is a small, but important piece of copywriting. Your description is key to help people who are discovering you for the first time to know who you are, but can also assist with SEO.
Ensure you’ve got key info like your essential business info, like your website or your operating hours.
Consider if this information requires anyone internally to review this content if you’ve got a corporate comms team you’re working with.
The profile picture
One of the essential things to keep in mind with your profile picture is that you need to be thinking about mobile first: how does this look on a mobile device? The majority of social media use (especially in Australia) is on mobiles rather than computers.
Making sure your logo or your profile picture is a clear representation of your business and seen on a mobile screen is key.
It’s also best practice to make sure your profile pictures are the same across all your social media platforms so your customers can recognise you more easily as the official channel when they’re looking for you between channels.
The cover image
For the social platforms that have a background image, this is an opportunity to show off your business. You’re not just sharing the culture of your business, but there’s also the opportunity to convey information there, too, such as marketing.
Don’t launch without content
You wouldn’t launch a website without any content, or send out a flyer without any text. Don’t launch a social channel without some posts so that the people who first join your channel can see the kinds of content and the kind of culture they are subscribing to.
It’s best practice to create at least 3 – 5 pieces of content before going live, and if you have the luxury of time, spread this out over a series of days so it doesn’t look like you’ve thrown it all up on one day. Then, over the first week especially post a little more content then you usually would to help fill up the channel to make it feel vibrant.
It can take hours to create the right copy for a handful of posts including researching the best hashtags for your industry. Spend time creating beautiful content so people see why they would engage with your business.
Keep in mind if this content will be designed from scratch (like a photo shoot), whether it needs to be researched, and whether anyone needs to approve the content. This will add another few days to the content creation process.
Signing up to the service
I know we’ve done a lot of preparation already – but we haven’t even signed up to the new social channel yet! This one is a pretty vital step. ;) Sign up your shiny new Twitter, Facebook or Instagram account.
While you have the basic design set up, you may also want to set up a social scheduling tool so the page can be managed faster and more effectively. Hootsuite, Recurpost, Buffer, Planable and MeetEdgar are all popular social media scheduling tools.
I’d suggest also scheduling in your first week of posts if you have the time. I’d bet that if you’re launching a new social media channel you’re also in the middle of launching something else, whether it’s a tv show, new product, or new business. Prescheduling this content gives you breathing space to focus on the other things you’ve got going on!
All quiet on the social channel front
Additionally, when setting up social channels, often the unspoken criteria is, of course, fans and followers.
While you can invite all your friends and family and encourage the client or your colleagues to do so too, ultimately, you will want your actual target marketing liking the page.
You can promote the new accounts with ad buys to specific audiences so they have a bit of a following. Ensure you are targeting the right audience, to run some ads to test and optimise. It can be relatively affordable to run an ad on Facebook, with ad targeting 2000 people costing $50 (give or take – do your own research should these figures fluxuate).
Apps and extensions
You might want to consider apps and extensions you want to add. Many businesses have the ‘Reviews’ section ticked on Facebook, have set up an autoresponder or Messenger Bot. Consider if there are extensions you want to keep in mind.
Promote and Embed
Once your account is live, you will want to also ensure that you’ve done some basic promotion on your owned channels.
Consider embedding a Like Button or Follow button on your website, add it to your email signature, throw it on your menu. Make sure you spread the word!
As you can see, there can be a lot more to setting up a social media account than simply reserving your username!
It’s important to fill it with content about your business, have rich and engaging posts ready for people to engage with, and, of course, spread the word!
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About Rachel Beaney
Rachel Beaney is an Australian freelance social media specialist with over a decade in digital media. She’s worked with global names like Microsoft, Samsung, News Corp and General Assembly, in addition to not-for-profits and government bodies. She loves helping clients solve their business needs with creative and data-driven solutions. Get in touch today to jump on a free consultation call to find out how Rachel can help you.