Online marketing company, Constant Contact, has been doing research on the use of social media in business. They released those results which showed that a large portion of small businesses need assistance on social media. As per their findings, over half of all small businesses were struggling with and failing at social media use. Most small businesses are unable to get past creating a social media presence. They are unsure of how they should engage on these social platforms in order to meet their goals. The reality is that all they need is smart planning in the form of a social media strategy. Here are 7 action points on how to create a robust social media strategy for your business.
1. Define business objectives
Your objectives as a business on social media must be well defined and achievable. This calls for an understanding of what your business is capable of achieving realistically within a set period. The objectives need to be measurable in order to allow you to monitor your overall progress on them as you take them on. A good example of a well defined business objective is generating 20 new leads from social media on a monthly basis. While this may sound low, you have to remember that social media is a long term investment and a small achievable and regular target is better than a large unrealistic one. Establish clearly defined objectives to provide markers and milestones that you can use to measure your progress. This will help you understand what your social media metrics mean for business. Some of the best objectives that a business can set for social media are:-
- Building their brand image in order to use it as a catapult for their products and services. Brand image is more important than just generation of leads.
- Generate new leads by using social media to funnel traffic to your business. Social media can be an extremely effective funnel when well deployed. Use it to increase the sales conversions that your business sees.
- Engage consumers on different levels about your brand and its products and services. Use social media as a tool for getting feedback and providing customer service.
2. Define your target audience
You need a clear definition of which audience you are seeking to engage on social media. This forms the social media target market. . The better you know and understand your social media audience, the easier and more effective your social media engagement will be. Here is what you need to know about your audience:-
- Demographics and psychographics of the target market. This refers to the composition of the market segment and their behavior as consumers. Think in terms of interests, preferences, and proclivities.
- The influencing forces of the market. Consumer decisions are the visible result of different sets of influence on the end buyers and users.
- Which social media platform your target audience uses. There is nothing as one size fits all approach to social media platform selection. You also need to know how they engage on these platforms if your approach is to be effective.
3. Define your core topics
Your businesses core topics are defined by the objectives of the business that you have defined previously. There should be between three to five main categories of interaction between you and your consumers. These core topics will be the focus and basis of all the content that you create. You will use these topics to define interaction between your consumers and yourself. They will be the focus of the conversation with your consumers and will help the business to achieve its desired results. Here is how to go about this:-
- Use your promotional calendar to create an editorial calendar. Develop a framework that integrates relevant keywords into content with a focus on assisting the promotional calendar to achieve results. This will reduce the time it takes to create content as you will be ready ahead of time.
- Develop a list of topics that you intend to cover. Use this list to have brainstorming sessions for content creation ideas. A reasonable approach is asking yourself what questions are consumers likely to have pre and post purchase. Link content to product pages but keep the content informative instead of promotional.
- Select a variety of content formats to use. Research on which content formats are available and which of these your audience will best respond to. Every social platform has a preferred content format, and you must make sure that you utilize this in the creation of your content.
- Use a blog to archive and curate your content, build a resource center and encourage sharing of content.
4. Define your social media turf
You need presence on all of the leading social media platforms. While you will likely end up focusing on the social media platforms that best cater to your audience, it is useful to own and secure your business name across all of the social media platforms. This will allow you to create a brand image hinged on your online presence. A brand image is beneficial as it allows your audience to identify your business automatically. This is the foundation of social media marketing. You need to place focus on the ability of the social media user to find and interact with your business. This calls for you to provide them with contact details and business location on your social media profile. It is also useful to inform the social visitor of the operational hours of your business.
5. Define engagement balance
Most businesses assume that social media activity should take up a large portion of their time. What you need is a strategic approach that will help you to achieve a balance between time usage and other activities. Make sure that the engagement integrates physical and online aspects of interaction, for example, signing into a store location online. When you take up social media, it does not mean that you need to abandon existing modes of communication; integrate them into the overall plan.
6. Resource utilization planning
Your time and other resources are valuable, and you will only succeed if you are capable of using them effectively. This calls for a plan on how to utilize them to get the desired results in the best possible way. Failure to do this will turn your social media activity into a series of emergencies and will waste time and other resources. Here is what you need to do:-
- Determine who is in charge of social media in the business structure.
- Create guidelines for social media interaction for your employees and to guide the person handling it.
- Create systems that allow the use of social media to bolster business goals.
7. Monitor social media metrics
Your defined objectives will create markers that you can use to define your social media metrics. This tracks your progress on achieving your set targets. Use promotional codes, landing pages, and calls to action to generate results and measure the performance. The use of track indicators to monitor accomplishment of objectives is encouraged.
With a compelling social media strategy, goals are defined and executed. Over time, this will yield measurable results and lead to growth of the business.