If you’re a small business owner, you know just how much there can be on your plate. On top of running the day-to-day operations of their business, you also have to worry about marketing and promoting their products or services. And in today’s digital age, that often means creating and maintaining a social media presence.
The world of social media for small businesses can often be a minefield. Which platform should you use? How often should you post? What kind of content should you share? Not knowing the answers to these questions can sink a small business’s social media efforts before they’ve even begun.
Creating an effective social media strategy doesn’t have to be difficult, though. Our five-step guide will show you how to develop a social media strategy that works for your business. Let’s get into it!
1. Be SMART With Your Goals
Anyone can create a social media account and start posting away. But if you’re not strategic about your social media goals, your efforts will be for nothing.
One of the easiest ways to make sure you get off on the right foot is by using the SMART goal setting framework. Here’s how it works:
- (S)pecific – Vague goals like “increasing brand awareness” are nice, but they don’t give you a target to aim for. More specific goals, like “increasing brand awareness by 10% in the next six months,” give you a much better idea of what success looks like.
- (M)easurable – Just like with specific goals, you need to be able to measure your progress. This way, you can tell if you’re on track to reach your objectives.
- (A)ttainable – Keeping your goals realistic is important. Otherwise, you’ll only end up disappointed.
- (R)elevant – Make sure your social media goals align with the overall objectives of your business.
- (T)ime-Bound – Don’t leave your goals open-ended. Set a deadline for yourself so you have a sense of urgency and can stay focused. This also helps you disengage from social media activities that aren’t moving the needle.
Of course, there are many other ways to set social media goals. But using the SMART framework is a great place to start, especially if you’re new to the game.
2. Know Your Target Audience
Understanding your target audience is critical to the success of your social media strategy. After all, you can’t market effectively to someone if you don’t know who they are.
Before you start creating content or posting on social media, take the time to develop buyer personas for your target audience. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional depiction of your ideal customer as derived from market research and actual data about your existing consumers.
Once you have a few buyer personas fleshed out, you’ll have a much better idea of the kind of content that will resonate with your target audience.
One useful tip to remember is never to conflate what you feel is important with what actually is important to your target audience. Just because you think your product is the best on the market doesn’t mean your target audience cares. Instead, focus on creating content that addresses your buyer persona’s pain points and helps them solve their problems.
3. Use Data to Your Advantage
In order to create content that resonates with your target audience, you need to know what kind of content they’re already engaging with.
Previous decades required small businesses to rely on guesswork and intuition when it came to marketing. But thanks to the power of data, that’s no longer the case.
Nowadays, there are all sorts of tools and software applications that give you insights into your target audience’s social media habits. Platforms like Twitter and Facebook have their own built-in analytics tools, but there are also third-party options that can give you even more insights.
If your company’s social media presence is already up and running, take a look at your existing data to see what’s working and what’s not. Constantly refining your social media strategy based on data will help you get the most out of your efforts.
Once you get the hang of things, you can start looking into search engine optimization (SEO) to help you get your content seen by even more people.
4. Create a Content Calendar
Now that you know what kind of content performs best with your target audience, it’s time to start creating it. But how do you make sure you’re consistently putting out high-quality content?
A content calendar is a tool that allows you to plan, schedule, and publish your content in advance. This way, you can make sure you’re always sharing the right kind of content at the right time.
When creating your content calendar, be sure to include a mix of different types of content, like blog posts, infographics, images, and videos. And don’t forget to schedule your content for all the different social media platforms you’re using to avoid getting stuck in a content rut.
5. Build a Community
Social media is all about building relationships and engaging with your target audience. If you want to be successful, you need to focus on fostering a sense of community around your brand.
Give your audience a human face by sharing behind-the-scenes content, stories, and sneak peeks. Show them that there are real people behind your brand that they can connect with.
You should also encourage two-way communication by responding to comments and questions in a timely manner. This helps create a sense of rapport and shows your audience that you’re invested in their experience.
Our five-step guide to creating a social media strategy will help you get started on the right foot. But keep in mind that social media is always evolving, so it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices.
Always keep your finger on the pulse of the latest social media news by following industry leaders and influencers. And don’t forget to keep an eye on your competition to see what they’re doing that’s working!