There is no getting around it. Social media has become a must-have for all businesses today, even small businesses. However, many small business owners find it daunting to create a social media strategy that works. After all, large companies often have massive resources and departments dedicated to this type of work, making it appear more difficult than what it is to attain social media prowess and success in a digital landscape. In this case, it makes sense to take a cue from big business and to use the same strategies that they do when crafting a social media campaign and replicating it on a smaller scale for your small business.
Step 1: Figure out what questions your customers are asking
Your customer is the life force of your business, even if they are only potential customers right now. What do they want to know? What’s important to them? What questions are they asking? Craft a list of the most common questions your consumers ask you on a daily basis, then focus answering those questions using social media as a platform.
Step 2: Use your voice to create your brand
Most consumers today want to feel like the message they are receiving is a personal one. Use your personality and let that shine through in your messages and in your responses on social media as you interact with a large room of people who are likely to buy from you. Being genuine is crucial in a fake, online world. Don’t adopt a persona, just be yourself. Interact with other people’s posts. Post answers to their questions using the content you have created already, or create content that answers their questions or their needs. This cements your brand as a subject matter expert and helps promote your business without making it feel like a sales pitch.
Step 3: Have a plan, and stick to it
Most successful social media strategists use a calendar. They will leverage holidays and other major company events and create social media posts around such things. For instance, if you know the holidays are coming up and you focus on Black Friday information, this will boost engagement and sales. So before you begin, craft a calendar at least three months in advance to plan your social media posts appropriately.
Step 4: Use the right tools
Making posts three or four times a day can seem cumbersome, if you don’t have the right tools. However, there are great tools out there. Hootsuite, for example, allows you to post to up to five social media accounts for maximum engagement, and even gives you a cross-interface platform. What’s better is that the basic account is free.
Step 5: Adjust as Needed
If something isn’t working, ditch it and try something else. It is not uncommon for social media websites or even Google to change the rules on the fly, so it’s important to make your social media strategy adaptable to such changes. Take a little time once per week to see what is working for you and what isn’t and make adjustments as needed. Also, take a little time to see what your competition is doing. It never hurts to stay up to date with things that are working for “the other guy”.
Step 6: Master one platform at a time
If you are new to the world of social media marketing, try to master a single platform at a time, as trying to master all of them at once could be too much. As you master one, start learning the next one, and cross promote as much as possible.
Step 7: Don’t discount advertising
Advertising on social media increases your exposure and engagement. Most social media ads are behaviorally targeted, meaning that they are automatically put in front of customers with an itch to buy something. No matter how small your advertising budget, it can pay to boost your online recognition using social media advertising as a vehicle.
Above all, don’t give up. Rome wasn’t built in a day and social media advertising campaigns are not designed to offer you flash-in-the-pan success. The key is consistency and follow up. Make sure you design a plan that you can easily stick with, and do that for at least 90 days.