It can be difficult to create a social media strategy for a small business. There are so many different platforms, types of content, ways to post, messages to portray etc. While it can be a lot to think about, keep in mind how much value a social media strategy can add to your business. 54% of those on social media use the platforms to research different products and 73% of marketers state social media marketing has been effective for their business. Check out 10 Social Media Statistics for more encouragement to use social media. To help with the process of embracing social media it is helpful to try breaking it down into 5 approachable steps.
1. Determining Your Purpose for using Social Media
For this first step it is important to sit down and think about what your company is looking to gain from social media. This can be the most challenging part of creating a social media strategy. For a small business it might be connecting with the community, marketing to a different group, boosting brand awareness etc. Social media is a way to build relationships with consumers which in turn creates lifelong customers.
2. Picking a Social Media Platform
Once you know why you want to use social media you have to choose a social media platform. For a small business it’s best to pick around 2 or 3 platforms. It is important to limit the number of platforms used; as this will make it easier to be efficient and successful in marketing efforts.
Start by picking 2 of the big social media platforms that fits best.
- Instagram – pictures and quick videos, fun and creative
- Twitter – 280-character messages, easy to start discussions
- Facebook – text, pictures, and videos, typically older market
- Linked In – professional, text, pictures, videos, articles
3. Creating Content
This next step is where you decide if you want to create videos, pictures, graphics etc. Often the easiest kinds of content to create are picture posts and the content that attracts the most engagement tends to be videos. Here are some tips to consider for posting pictures/videos,
- pictures should be clear, avoid blurry and/or out of focus pictures
- ensure the background is representative of what you want to present
- all pictures need to be relevant
- ensure the pictures are of quality and do not look rushed
Implementing these standards for picture and/or video content will keep content consistent and professional.
4. Posting and Engaging
Now comes the fun part, actually posting content on the selected platforms and engaging with consumers. Post regularly on all chosen platforms and make sure to be interactive this includes responding to comments, shares, messages etc within 24 hours. This helps build a strong and reliable rapport with audience.
Text that might be helpful in boosting engagement will be prompting users to respond. Adding “tell us your favorite dish that we serve” or “can you guess what next weeks special will be?” or “send us a picture wearing your recent purchase” etc. All of these prompt users to comment. Another tip is utilizing #hashtags. This will help link the post to groups and topics that are related to increase the reach of the post. Anything can be a hashtag but be sure to use the most appropriate and creative ones.
Hootsuite is a great tool to use. Hootsuite lets you link multiple social media sites in one place and schedule posts for the future. This eliminates the need to remember to post at a specific time. Scheduling on Hootsuite takes the constant thinking about posting away. This helps in seeing what is being posted when, to make sure you are posting regularly and are mixing up the types of posts. If you are a restaurant and notice that one week you are scheduled to post 3 pictures of pasta on Instagram, you might decide to switch one of the pictures with a post of a burger instead to keep things interesting. Remember though, that just because the posts are scheduled doesn’t mean that your engagement is. Make sure to log on at least once a day to engage with consumers.
5. Monitoring Social Media Using Metrics
Metrics can be confusing and it is easy to skip this step and stop at step 4, please don’t. Basic metrics can be pulled in very simple ways to help your business understand what is working and what isn’t. Some platforms, like Instagram provide these insights. Hootsuite could become a one stop place for steps 4 and 5. Metrics that might be of interest are what type of posts are getting the most likes and engagement. You could see what hashtags are bringing the most people to your page and what time of day posts reach the most people. All of this can then be taken and used to adjust and improve the social media strategy for the next month.
Social media can be very intimidating but taking it step by step and post by post makes it a lot more manageable. Utilize the steps above to get started and then explore deeper into things that seem to work for you. Have you noticed that your stories on Instagram are really popular? Research how to enhance them so they are even better. Find ways to get consumers to tag your business in posts, this could be done through contests or discounts. Social media is endless so never stop exploring and finding new ways to use it to your benefit. This week set aside 1 hour to tackle step 1. Find time to do one step a week, and in a little over a month you will have a well functioning social media strategy to help grow and improve your business.
Category: Social Media Marketing 101