Like it or not, social media is here to stay and as small business owners, it’s important to realize that
Businesses don’t have a choice of whether or not to do social media, their choice is how well they do it. Erik Qualman, “Socialnomico”
Social media is another marketing tool that you can use to grow your business. I like to say that social media is the old fashioned word-of-mouth using 21st century technology.
Your happy customers can now reach hundreds if not thousands of their followers in an instant and tell them how great it is to do business with you.
Added benefits of being active on social media
- You can engage with your customers in real time and also
- Give potential customers the opportunity to experience and become familiar with your brand before they purchase your products or services.
Use the following steps to a successful social media marketing strategy
Step 1| Define your social media objectives
Your social media objectives should always align with your marketing goals and objectives. What do you want to accomplish? Here are a few reasons why you might want to jump on the social media bandwagon:
- Generate sales
- Increase traffic from social media platforms to website
- Drive traffic to store
- Social influence
- Engage with fans and followers
- Build relationships with customers, build brand loyalty
- Build your email mailing list
- Develop new products or services based on customers’ social media feedback
Step 2| Analyze your competition social media strategy
Look at what your competition is doing, what they are doing well and not so well, what opportunities they might be neglecting. There are many ways to analyze your competition social media strategy. Here are a few:
- Their audience size
- Their page and profile set up
- What social media platforms are they using?
- How are they engaging with their fans and followers?
- What do they post? Pictures, their own content, etc…
- How often do they post?
- When do they post (days and time)
Use those strengths that are unique to your company to decide what you can do better and stand out from the crowd.
Step 3| Define your target audience
Defining your audience will help you deliver the right message, in the right platform, at the right time. (You may have more than one target audience.) A few questions to answer:
- Demographics: age, gender, etc…
- Where do they “hang out”?
- When do they spend their time online? Days and time
- What websites or blogs do they visit?
- What brand(s) do they interact with?
- What are their hobbies?
Tools you can use: Facebook Graph Search to find out what interest your customers.
Step 4| Choose your content
Based on your competitors and audience research, what will interest your target audience(s)?
- Exclusive offers, discounts or deals
- Contests and promotions
- Fun content
- Photos and images
Step 5| Organize your content
Use the rule of thirds:
- 1/3 self-promotional – Post content that will promote your business and generate sales including your blog posts, promotions, ebooks, etc.
- 1/3 personal interaction and brand building such as press releases, announcements about your upcoming events, speaking engagements, glimpses of what’s going on behind the scene.
- 1/3 third party content – Post topics or information related to your industry. Ideas for sources to curate from: Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc…
Step 6| Assess your resources – people, time and money
- Who will be responsible for executing your social media strategy? Will you use internal resources or outsource?
- What department will be responsible to contribute content?
- What is your budget?
Step 7| Select your social media platform(s)
The hotshots of social media are: Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Although it’s tempting to try to be present on every social network, choose your social media platform(s) based on your above research to reach your target audience(s) where they “hang out” online.
Focus on one or two platforms first and use them really well. Remember to be consistent with posting updates, status and comments.
Step 8| Get organized
- Add social media plug ins and icons to your website and make your content easy to share
- Create a social media content calendar
- Link your social media accounts so you can promote across different platforms
- Choose how often you will post and when
- Define a clear social media policy. Read this article on Mashable
- Create a profile for each social media platform and include link to your website and/ or blog
- Add social networks to email signature, letterheads, business cards, and advertisements.
- Simplify your postings by using hootsuite or Buffer
Step 9| Define your metrics
How will you measure your success?
- Traffic to website
- Social mentions
- # Shares or retweets
- # of online coupons redeemed
- # of fans or followers
Tools you can use to track your success online:
Step 10| Measure your ROI
Measuring your success depends on your social media marketing goals (step 1). For example:
Since one of the main reasons for a business to start any new marketing tactics is to drive revenues, measure your investment in time and money versus your sales.
- How does social media results compare to other traditional marketing tactics that you may be using?
- Use coupons, contests, promotions or just ask your customers how they heard about you to track those results.
If your goal is to increase traffic to your blog or website. Use Google Analytics to find out if your activities on a chosen SM platform for the past month increased views to your website.
Measuring your social media efforts on regular basis will help you identify positive (or negative) trends, assess what is working and what is not, and make adjustments.
Related Post: Is Your Marketing Working?
The best social media platforms for your business depends on
- The size of your business,
- Your industry
- The type of services or products that you offer,
- Target audience,
- Business goals and objectives, and
- Your resources (time, people and money).
As with any marketing tactics, it takes time to yield results and being consistent is the key in attaining your social media marketing goals.