There are many ways you can connect with your ideal client and in recent years social media has become one of the best and most cost-effective ways for small businesses to achieve this. Defining your social media strategy and considering how it works alongside your other marketing activity is really important.
What is a social media strategy?
A social media strategy, as with your full marketing strategy, is a comprehensive plan and approach of deciding what you wish to achieve and how you plan to get there. The main difference this time is that you are focusing solely on the social media platforms. There are many social media platforms out there such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Pinterest, You Tube to list a few. It is really important that you select the right platform for your business, think about where your customers hang out? It is better to do one or two platforms really well, rather than try to do many half-heartedly.
Your social media strategy can use be used to:
- Help build your brand awareness and loyalty amongst your existing customer base.
- Build relationships with new and potential clients.
- Demonstrate authority, knowledge or expertise within your field or sector.
- Be used as part of the process to help generate leads for your business.
Businesses of all shapes and sizes need to have a social media strategy, of course if you are a large corporate then how this is implemented will vary hugely vs if you are sole trader. The budgets will differ as well. Having a social media strategy also makes the management of your social media channels easier and more efficient to maintain.
What do you need to create your social media strategy?
When you start to write your social media strategy there are certain things that you need to consider, below is a very brief summary on the steps you need to take when drafting your social media strategy:
- Define your goals. It can be tempting to jump straight in and get posting, but without a clear plan or goals, there is no way of measuring your results and understanding what is working and what is not. Think about how using social media can help you achieve your goals and set your objectives rather than using it simply as a megaphone for your business. Set SMART (Specific, Measured, Achievable, Relevant and Timed) goals e.g. “I need to generate five new clients per month by December 2021” rather than just “I need to get more likes on Facebook”. By quantifying what you need you will know if you have been successful or not.
- Do an audit. If you are already using social media, review your current performance on the content you are sharing. Establish a baseline of success, see what’s working and what’s not. Once you know where you stand then you can work to build on your successes.
- Understand your audience. This is a key one we talk about a lot. Once you understand your target audience, it will help you to choose the right network to focus on, build content that will be shared, define the right tone of voice to connect with them and imagery that will resonate.
- Choose your platform. It is important to choose the platforms where your audience engage and focus on there. If you are a personal trainer for example where your content is visual then your customers are more likely to be in Instagram or Facebook vs Twitter or perhaps Linked In.
- Competitor review. Whilst you don’t want to copy your competitors it is important to be aware of what they are doing. How are they using social media? Are there any ideas that you can borrow, adapt and apply to your business, to help gain greater success and engagement with this media?
- Create a content calendar. This is a real time saver. If you take some time to plan out your content, it will help you to be more time efficient and coordinated when you are communicating with your audience. Doing a little bit of planning can also help you to structure your messaging for a consistent tone of voice and ensure that your social media activity works alongside your other marketing activity. Think of your content as mini campaigns – each month have one theme that runs across all of your channels – that way you have more chance of achieving cut through to your target audience in a cluttered market space. If you are stuck for content ideas read one of our articles “Content Ideas for Small Businesses” to help get you started. When planning out content you want to think about 80% of the time you are sharing useful and interesting information and 20% of the time is focused on sales or business messages.
- Execute & Monitor. This step is often over looked. As we mentioned when defining our objectives, it is important to track what success looks like and simply do more of what works and less of what does not. In today’s digital world there are many ways you can assess success, including through likes, shares, follows, comments and of course if you have it all linked up you can also track revenue generated as well.
Taking the time out to write your social media strategy is a really important task, it not only helps you to generate useful and relevant content your audience will resonate with, but will also help you to achieve your business growth ambitions. Your social media should work alongside your other marketing activity helping to take your business messages out to your audience.
If you are not sure where to start in writing your overall marketing strategy then why not read “Marketing Strategy for business – your definitive small business guide” article to get you started.