Creating a strong social media strategy takes a lot of guesswork out of your marketing plan.
A little planning goes a long way, and you want to be prepared for using social media in your business because the opportunity is tremendous!
Social media usage in the US has grown by from 7% to 65% in the last 10 years.
The rapid consumer adoption of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram makes it nearly impossible for businesses to ignore.
So how do you make the most out of social media for your small business?
You don’t have a marketing team prepared to tackle every platform, so you know you need to be strategic with how you spend your time and ad budget.
Instead of shying away from social, let’s develop some simple social media strategies that work for you.
Start by setting SMART goals.
Lots of small business owners know they “should” be using social media to grow their business, but have you stopped to ask yourself why?
What outcome are you working towards with your social media strategy? If you’re clear on your goals, it’s a lot easier to make a plan to reach them.
SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. This helps in goal setting because you know exactly what you’re trying to do, and how soon you’re going to make it happen.
An example of a great SMART goal for your social media might be to: Increase my email signups by 10% in the next 6 months.
This checks all the boxes because you can easily tell if you’ve reached your goal. After 6 months you can look back on your subscriber rate and determine if you hit the goal.
Plus, it’s relevant to your business if you mainly use email marketing to nurture leads and get new clients.
It might not be as realistic to expect your social media strategy to directly increase your sales by 10%, it’s possible, but social media is primarily a tool to grow brand awareness, trust, and familiarity with your services and your brand.
Do a few things really well, and grow from there.
Some small business owners get overwhelmed by thinking they need to turn into a media company producing videos, blogs, and podcasts to keep up with all the platforms.
Spreading yourself too thin can dilute your marketing efforts. This is why we recommend starting with a few key platforms, learning those really well, then growing from there.
If you just focus on growing your brand using Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram…that’s much more manageable than using all the social platforms at once.
Remember, it’s about quality first and quantity second. It’s true that active accounts typically have a higher engagement rate, but when it comes to social media it’s all about what works for your clients.
As long as you’re reaching interested customers, turning them into fans of your brand, and getting them involved in what you do, that’s an effective social media strategy!
Understand your audience.
Knowing your clients and posting about what matters to them is the best way to grow your social media influence. So do a little research and see which accounts they follow, what posts do they like and share?
How can you join the conversation they’re already having? One mistake businesses make on social media is only talking about their business. They post about their products, services, and employees, but forget to post as a service to their customers.
Think about why you follow certain brands. There’s a reason beyond their product, right? So apply that same thinking to your business and figure out exactly what your ideal client wants to see from you.
For example, if you’re a business consultant, your ideal client might follow you because you post inspiring quotes. You can talk about how you helped a client overcome a problem and how they can do the same thing. Maybe they love hearing your own story of struggling in business then learning your path to success.
Every business is different, so find what your clients want to see from you and show it to them!
Start conversations and keep them going.
Once you know what your audience likes to talk about, join the conversation.
Your posts should vary between informative, inspirational, and promotional, but in every post try to include a call to action. Train your followers to interact with your brand.
Ask them questions, get their opinion, talk about things that stir up emotion. No matter which industry you’re in, there’s an aspect of your product or service that’s tied to a feeling or experience your ideal client wants to have.
If you’re a business coach, what you’re really selling is confidence, peace of mind, and success. Those are all topics that stir emotion. Posting about your definition of success and inviting them to share theirs is a great way to bond with your audience.
Once someone responds to a question you asked, you must keep that conversation going. They took the time to say, “yes” to your brand, but only 10% of messages and comments left on business social media accounts are actually answered.
This conversation is what makes social media a sales funnel for your business. Posting great content is how you get people interested, but having conversations is how you get people to buy from you.
Schedule posts in advance.
You’re running a business, so every minute counts! Posting consistently shows your potential clients you take your business seriously and they should, too.
But how do you stay consistent when you have a to-do list longer than an octopus arm? (yes, arm, octopuses don’t have tentacles!)
Make technology your best friend by scheduling posts in advance. This keeps you consistent, plus it saves time. If everything is scheduled, you’re not getting distracted scrolling through your feed instead of posting and getting back to work.
Set aside a day every month or a few hours each week to sit down and schedule your social media posts. Then, you can rest easy knowing you didn’t forget to post anything!
Pay to play is okay.
Whenever the algorithm changes, business owners get nervous about their organic reach. But why do we care so much about that number?
Gary Vaynerchuk, social media expert and early Twitter and Snapchat investor, says in his book, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, that boosting a post to your existing followers has a greater ROI than trying to reach a cold audience.
When you think about it, paying a little to reach a warm audience is probably going to get better results than paying to reach people who’ve never heard of you.
So while everyone is talking about trying to increase their organic reach, you can take comfort in knowing you can easily reach most of your existing audience for a fraction of the ad spend.
Experiment and pivot.
No one gets it right the first time. There are so many ways to make social media work for you, it comes down to figuring out what’s right for your clients.
The only way to know for sure is to get started. Try lots of different things! Then look back to see which posts performed the best and create more content like that. Don’t let perfectionism keep you from getting out there and trying.
We like to say perfectionism is procrastination in high heels. It’s okay to learn a little as you go, as long as you get started! Ultimately, the best social media strategies are the ones you can do consistently that work for your ideal clients.
How are you going to start your social media strategy? Which platforms do you think your audience is active on the most?