Need help getting started with your social media strategy? It’s no longer time to be sitting on the fence. Social media marketing has becomes a powerful lead generation tool. And it’s time you use it to your advantage!
In this post I’ll share 10 tips for getting your social media strategy off the ground.
Why is social media so important for small business?
- It’s an inexpensive way to build a following, promote your brand and generate leads
- It’s become a major factor in the ranking algorithm for search engines like Google
But with the “avalanche” of social media platforms, how do you know which platforms to use? Basically this depends on the resources you have at your disposal and how well you know your target audience.
Most small businesses don’t have unlimited resources. In fact the average size of an effective marketing team is now 5-6 people, with many smaller companies only having a “marketing-team-of-one”. For this reason spending time defining your target audience is a critical step in creating a solid marketing strategy.
In the following 10 tips I’ll help you identify your ideal customer, choose the right social channels and create posts that support your business goals. Let’s start:
#1 Know Your Business Goals
Make sure your social media strategy supports your business goals. Which probably aren’t to get more Facebook likes and shares. Instead they’ll be focused on generating leads, converting leads to customers and making a profit.
If your goal is to generate more sales ask yourself, “How does my social media activity contribute to that goal?“.
Every post should have a well defined goal that supports your business goals. For example it may be a Facebook post that pulls visitors to a landing page and into your sales funnel.
#2 Set SMART Goals
Next, when you set a goal, regardless of whether it’s personal, professional or specific to a post, it should always be a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based) goal.
As an example this Facebook post had a goal: “To attract 5 new leads from Facebook by the end of August 2014”. The post was well defined, in terms of a SMART goal, and using Facebook’s Analytics tool Insights it was easy to measure its success.
#3 Know Your Ideal Customer
This is where we start answering questions about which social channels you should be using. Before you even start posting or choosing social media channels, take the time to create buyer personas.
A buyer persona is a semi-fictitious character that represent people within your target audience. People who share similarities, such as, challenges, ideas, the way they find information and the social media channels they use.
You can start creating personas by interviewing existing customers. Choose customers you really enjoy working with, your ideal customers. Most companies will have 2-3 personas that can be used to generate content that will attract ideal customers.
Your buyer personas will help determine which channel is best for your company so you avoid wasting your time on the wrong social media platforms.
#4 Engage Your Fans
If you already have a social media presence, don’t ignore your existing fans. People already following you are your greatest supporters, take small steps to build engagement with them. Identify the type of content that’s getting them to like, comment and share. Then gradually grow your fan base keeping in mind building quality of fans over quantity of fans.
#5 Know your Competition
Who are your biggest competitors? Make a list of the top 3-5 competitors in your industry, then get onto social media networks and look at what they are doing. It’s a great place to find information about how they engage with their customers, the tone they use and to gauge how their followers are responding.
Once you understand your competitors figure out how your business can I stand out. You don’t just want to be a speck of dust out there in the internet universe. You want to be the bright burning star that attracts visitors.
#6 Choose Your Channels Wisely
Managing 4-5 channels is going to be very time consuming, something we entrepreneurs have in short supply. Now that you’ve done your competitor research and created buyer personas, choose the social media channels where your customers spend their time.
If the majority of their time is spent on Twitter (40%), Facebook (30%) and the rest of the time on other networks. Then Twitter becomes your primary channel and Facebook secondary.
#7 Establish Roles
Managing your social media channels is an integral part of your marketing strategy. Decide who’s responsible and make sure that person has the relevant skills and expertise. This is not something to be handed to an admin assistant who’s only qualification is that they spend their life posting to Facebook or Pinterest. This person needs to understand your business goals and how to use social media platforms to attain those goals.
Work together to create a posting calendar. Having a weekly planning session works well, keep it to 30 minutes and use a spreadsheet or tool like Trello to capture, manage and assign post creation tasks. Then each morning have a quick standup meeting, taken from agile marketing, to check you’re on track. Something may also come up during the week that you want to take advantage of in your posts – some breaking news or product information.
#8 Have a Clear Consistent Message
Create a clear message that attracts prospective customers and encourages them to take action.
Make your message insanely specific. Know want you want to be know for and then sum it up in a few words. Your message needs to articulate how your product or service solves a problem, the specific benefit is delivers and how you differentiate yourself.
Hubspot is clear, they’re the number #1 Marketing platform and they’ll generate more traffic, leads and sales.
Then as they have done, make sure your message (in the red box) remains consistent across all your social media channels.
#9 Have a Content Strategy
Content leads to conversation, conversation builds relationships and good relationships evolve into customers. For this reasons you must develop a source of great content to fuel your presence. Content that provides real value to your potential customers.
Use a tool like Feedly to create a steady stream of content based on the challenges and interests your customers have. This makes it easy for you to take a little time each day to share posts that may be relevant to your followers.
Your social media strategy must integrate with your overall content creation strategy so that as you create new content is created, such as white papers and eBooks, you can promote them on popular channels.
While there’s loads of information out there suggesting the best times and frequency to post, the truth is your audience is unique, so the best way to figure out when and how often to post is to look at the analytics tools within your chosen network.
Set aside 30 minutes every week, per social media channel, to go through your analytics. This is time well spent understanding which posts are working, where followers are coming from, what content they are sharing and where you can make improvements.
Make sure you’re tracking key metrics and not wasting time on numbers that aren’t relevant.
If your goal was to generate new leads through Facebook posts, make sure you are looking at data relevant to that goal.
Did you generate the leads? If not what do you need to change? Make the adjustments and try again. Don’t be afraid to test new ideas to see what works with your audience.
I hope you’ve found this post useful. Need some help taking the next steps? Download a copy of our free eBook: How to Create Buyer Personas for your Business.