It’s important for your business to utilize social media, but it’s even more important that you plan and execute a strategy. Research tells us that over 50% of small businesses need help with social media. The truth is, many businesses have a social media presence but are not engaging, therefore not reaching their goals.
With the right planning, your business can use social media effectively, but it starts with the right strategy.
- Establish your business objective
Before jumping on social media, ask yourself these questions: “What goals do I want to achieve?” and “How do I want to use social media to help my business?”
Make your goals as concrete, measurable and achievable as possible. For example, if you currently get 3 new likes a month, setting a goal to get 500 new likes in the next 12 months is more realistic than setting a goal to get 5,000 new likes. Here are some specific objectives to consider when planning your social media strategy:
- Build your brand by gaining awareness and positioning your product in association with your business’s name
- Support Sales by communicating with your customers
- Attract new customers by driving traffic to your social platforms, website, and blog
- Engage with your fans by building brand personality and creating relevant, shareable content
By setting specific objectives, you establish markers for your business, helping to define your social media metrics and ultimately making effective social media marketing easier for you to manage.
- Know your audience
Your target audience are the people whom you want to engage with on social media. To help define your target audience, create a set of marketing personas for each segment you want to reach. This will help you understand the various characteristics of your selected audience.
- Understand your target market’s point of view and activities. Think demographics, psychographics and past purchases, as well as interests and priorities.
- Consider influencers, buyers and end users. Most purchase decisions, including consumer purchases, are made with input from more than one person.
- Know where your audience engages on social media. Not everyone is on Facebook. Depending on your business, your target audience’s prefered social channel may vary.
- Consider your audience’s social media behavior. Does your market share or create social media content? What incentives will make them act? What content do they consider to be valuable?
The more you know your audience, the easier it will be to engage with them on social media and get the results you’re looking for.
- Take ownership of your brand’s name across social media
Think branding. Create a presence on all major social media channels and make sure you are easy to find. This isn’t possible with all businesses, since there are many similar-sounding company names out there. But to the best of your ability, make your social presence stand out uniquely in order to differentiate from any other business that customers may confuse with yours. Branding helps customers to recognize your company without thinking, and that should be an objective of any small business social media strategy. After you’ve claimed your space, remember to incorporate elements of your brand into your profile. You could do this by posting your store location, phone number and local hours, as well as a link to your website. All these steps will increase your brand’s level of “findability” on social media.
- Be strategic with your social media time usage
It’s easy to spend more time on social media than you need to. Prioritize your time and set your social media engagement. Use your existing communications such as email and in-store signage to encourage your customers to get onto social media and engage with you. Time and engagement management goes hand and hand with managing your use of resources.
- Decide who will handle your social media engagement. For most small businesses, this is often the owner – however, some choose to use third party marketing agencies like Suit Social Media, who already have the tools to set up an effective social media strategy.
- Set parameters for social media use. This means defining your social media guidelines for both employees and visitors.
- Create processes where possible. Depending on your business, assess where you have opportunities to develop content that supports your goals. Think customer interactions, purchases and conferences.
Prepare for creating content. Have a camera, smartphone or iPad ready to capture content while you’re doing business! Don’t forget to get customers’ permission to use their images to ensure you don’t have issues later. Have a plan in place to determine how and where you’ll use the information – the more content you have in your pocket, the better.
- Measure your results
Social Media channels like Facebook and Twitter make it easy to track your success rate via analytic tools found directly on your social platform. However, measuring your results is the most important aspect of your social media strategy because it ultimately determines if your campaign is working / if you are reaching your objectives! Make it easy to measure your results.
- Incorporate a social media call to action. Don’t just assume prospects will take the next action without prompting. Guide them to engage and interact with contextually relevant calls to action.
- Track indicators that help show that you’ve accomplished your objectives. For most businesses, this means more than comments and social media shares.
The metrics you’ll want to track will be based on the business objectives you defined in step 1. So if you haven’t noticed, your social media strategy should come full circle. Establish what you want out of social media, define your audience, set parameters, execute, and measure your results. Repeat and refurbish these steps until you have achieved a working social media strategy.Business Strategy, Marketing, social media, Strategy