Whether you are just starting out with social media marketing or are already a social champion, my hope over the next few minutes it takes you to read this is to share information that can help you drive meaningful results from your social media investment. We’re going to cover some basics like setting up your strategy as well as get into some more advanced areas like figuring out what content drives the most engagement and how to track performance.
Before we get going, one of the best pieces of advice anyone can share when it comes to managing your brand on social media is to take a strategic approach with everything you do. That starts with having a clearly defined strategy with goals, metrics to track, content, and how your efforts are contributing to ROI and improving the customer experience people have with your small business. Otherwise, you can quickly become overwhelmed and feel like you’re wasting your time.
Let’s discuss what it looks like to build a successful social media strategy from the ground up. If you already have a strong strategy in place, perhaps some of what we cover will spark a few creative ideas for you.
The Value of Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses
Social media presents a rich opportunity for your small business to create meaningful experiences. On channels like Facebook and Nextdoor, you’re able to engage local communities and increase your online visibility, while Instagram and YouTube allow for more visual engagements.
Now, more than ever people are turning to social media to interact with one another and engagement rates are at an all-time high due to the #StayHome restrictions in place to combat coronavirus (COVID-19).
Building Your Small Business Social Media Strategy
How can your social media activity help you achieve your business goals? Whether that is to drive new leads and customers, retain the customers you already have, or create brand awareness and educate people. It’s okay to have multiple goals as well but try to rank them in order of importance so you have a clear idea of what you’re trying to accomplish.
Define your audience
You likely already have a good sense of who your ideal customers are but how does that translate to social media? Does your broader audience use social media? Could there be a subset of your audience that is really active on social media?
Decide which channels to focus on
You know Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn but what about other channels that don’t necessarily jump out as being social media channels? YouTube, Google My Business, Yelp, Nextdoor, and Tik Tok are all worth exploring for a local business looking to drive meaningful engagement with their current and prospective customers.
It’s always recommended to walk before you run. Pick a few channels and go all-in on and then expand from there. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Google My Business are some of the channels you’ll want to prioritize right from the start.
Determine your content strategy
What type of content will you share? What is most likely to resonate with your audience? In general, the more visual the content is, the more likely it’s to get engagement, like photos and videos more so than just text. Is the content you’re sharing more educational in nature (ie. helping to answer a common question or spark a new idea) or is it more promotional (ie. how your business can help alleviate a pain point). It’s important to never go too heavy on the self-promotional side. People turn to social media to explore and interact with one another. If they are really interested in becoming a customer, they’ll contact you through either your website, online reviews, or business listings like Google My Business.
Research the competition
What are your competitors doing on social media? Part of your strategy should be figuring out how you are going to differentiate your business from others in your local area. What are they not doing that you could capitalize on? What could you do better and in a more creative way? Perhaps no one is taking advantage of Facebook or Instagram Live Video.
Create your profiles (or optimize if you already have them)
Since this blog article covers all the basics, I didn’t want to make the assumption that everyone reading this already has their profiles created. Below are a few helpful links to getting started on the more popular (and recommended) social media channels.
Those that already have their profiles created will want to make sure each is optimized in its own way. That includes completely filling out the information asked, like your business name, address, website URL, phone number, hours of operation, email address, and a profile picture and cover photo that portrays your brand.
Now that you have a good idea of what content you’ll be sharing and which channels you’ll focus on, it’s time to set accountability. Who on your team will be responsible for leading the social media initiatives?
Create a social media calendar
Consistency is a big part of any strategy, not just relating to social media. The more you can get your audience to trust that you’ll share helpful content on the regular, the more they’ll seek it out on their own. A social media calendar can help you plan out what you’re going to share well in advance, and you can leverage social media scheduling tools to plan a week or month’s worth of content at one time. If you’re posting to social media manually, each day, there’s a much more efficient way to be spending your time.
Get your employees involved
You can only reach so many people as a business on social media. To amplify your reach even further, get your entire organization involved and sharing your content on social media while tagging your business profiles. You can make this as easy as possible by providing suggested copy upfront, so that way there’s nothing standing in your employees’ way of sharing.
Leverage social media advertising
In addition to your Google Ads strategy, you should also devote some portion of your advertising budget to promote your business on Facebook and Instagram. Doing so can help your business target prospective customers in specific ways, like geolocation, behaviors, and demographics.
Learn, monitor, adapt
No social media strategy is ever fully complete. There is constant learning involved so that your strategy adapts with the changing trends. Little tweaks here and there can influence monumental changes. If you’re not changing, your competitors are likely to surpass you.
Improve Productivity and Create Transparency with Software
As I touched on briefly already, scheduling social media content can be time-consuming if you aren’t leveraging a digital tool to help. That’s only one part of the puzzle though. What about ongoing monitoring and capturing data in a way that’s easy to understand to then adapt and tweak your strategy to drive better results.
The Surefire Local Marketing Platform empowers your team to engage the right prospects through targeted content and messages. You’re able to:
- Plan, schedule, and publish content to all social media channels from one place.
- View engagement metrics to determine the content that resonates with your customers the most.
- Set up alerts for any time your business gets mentioned on any social media.
- Upload and share photos and videos to spark conversations.
Having a digital tool that makes it easy to manage social media is one thing. Having an all-in-one software that lets you manage social media in the same place as your online reviews, search engine marketing, website optimizations, and customer communications, is a game-changer.
Request a demo of the Surefire Local Marketing Platform and find out how you can make digital marketing easy and improve productivity while creating transparency of marketing spend and ROI.