All to often small business owners hear the word strategy and the following words come to mind: complex, expensive, “that’s for bigger firms with bigger budgets”. But that’s a fallacy. Developing a strategy doesn’t have to be complex, expensive, or only for big firms. A strategy is really just a bunch of questions that, taken as a whole, add up to a plan of action. And here is a simple plan for small companies to take advantage of social media’s benefits.
1. Define your goals
What do you hope to accomplish by using social media for your business? It can be high level or very specific, but these goals should be documented to help you focus your efforts and help you develop content. Here are some examples of goals:
- Increase brand awareness
- Engage with potential and existing clients
- Customer support
- Public relations
- Support sales team
- Develop leads
2. Know what your competition is doing with social media
Have a look at what your competitors are doing. Your competitive research may help you with the next part (#3 below). What platforms are they on or not? Why or why not? Are they doing anything that you deem appropriate for your business as well? Are they posting engaging content? What can you emulate or do better? What are they doing wrong?
3. Define what kind of content you will post
If you know your business well, then you have some ideas of what to post that will be of value to your target audience. However, here are some ideas to get you started:
- Develop an “article ideas” document and brainstorm
- Ask questions; encourage sharing
- Articles that will benefit clients
- Tips for a specific group or demographic within your target market
- Resources from leading research (blogs, news articles)
- Post testimonials; ask for testimonials
- Have a guest post an article
- Photos of happy clients
- Behind the scenes articles and photos
- Ask for product input
- Tag another Facebook business partner
- Awards or accolades
- Latest news about your company or products
- Tell a story that will engage your audience
- Find out what your competition is sharing and do it better
- Engage with followers
- Share non business posts such as feel good stories
- Non-business post – holiday greetings
- Infographics, images, videos – you can use your own or find ones to share from others sites like Pinterest, Instagram, or Slideshare.
- Last but not least, consistently post a call to action to
- Buy your product
- Sign up for news
4. Develop an editorial calendar.
Participation on social media is a long term investment in your business and to stay on track we suggest developing an editorial calendar. That is, put “Do Social Media Stuff” in your calendar on a regular basis. Here’s what we recommend to get started:
- Publish 1-2 blog articles per week.
- Optimize for on-page SEO
- Get backlinks to the article
- Create a link from the blog and post on, at the very least, Facebook and Google+. (Click here for Google+ tips).
- Republish what you post on Facebook onto Google+ or vice-versa. See how we do this on Facebook or Google+.
- Post a link to your blog on other social media platforms that you may be on (e.g. Twitter).
5. What analytics will you use to track progress?
Lastly, track your progress by using an analytics tool. For example, Facebook Insights or Google Analytics.
That’s it. Pretty simple. Just 5 steps. Good luck and contact us if you have any questions. We’re always happy to help.
Photo courtesy: mkhmarketing