If your business is on social media, no matter how big or small it is, you need to have a social media strategy.
A social media strategy is simply a list of everything you are planning to do and what you want to achieve on social media. It helps with your action plan, and you can measure what’s working and what’s not.
Many small businesses find the whole strategy thing overwhelming and simply don’t know where to start. But the success of your business hangs on having a straightforward strategy that you can fit to your resources and your goals.
This week’s blog post looks at how you can create your social media strategy, with a simple step by step plan that will work for you…and help you avoid that overwhelm.
Know your audience
I know that I bang on about this constantly, but to create the right kind of posts and give your audience what they want and need, you must know who they are. The easiest way to do this is to ask them! Find out where they hang out and what their pain point are. The more you can find out about them the better. So, identifying your audience and finding out what they want is your first task.
Have clear goals
What is the purpose of you having a social media account for your business? What do you hope to achieve? The most important goal is probably that you want to highlight your products or services to persuade people to buy from you or employ your services.
You might want to use social media to advertise the events you attend, increase your brand awareness, or get people to visit your website or sign up to your email newsletter.
Whatever it is that you want to achieve, write it all down in a list.
Make sure that your goals are SMART, (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely).
Conduct a social media audit/measurement
You can either do this yourself or pay someone to do this for you. This gives you the chance to see where you are now and how your various posts, stories, reels or whatever are working for you. Check out your insights and make a note of what kind of people engage with your posts, where they are in the world, what posts work best, when the best time to post is for that particular channel etc. You can gain a lot of insight from your ‘insights’ – hence the name!
It’s also worth looking at your page with a customer head on. Does your profile immediately let someone know what you do? Are your images clear and appropriate? Do you have a good cover photo? Is there a photo of you – the business owner?
Does your profile say what your business is and what you do in a clear, easy to understand way?
Conducting an audit isn’t done just the once. It is a form of measurement that will help you decide what works and what doesn’t. I change the wording on my profile regularly, along with my cover photo and profile picture. It helps to keep you on track, so that you know that what you are doing is right and working for you.
The right channels
Make a list of the channels you use for your business. For example, I use Facebook and Instagram. I do have a LinkedIn account but tend to use it to keep in touch with previous work colleagues and to keep an eye on some of the market trends.
Do you have the right channels for your business? Are you spreading yourself too thin by trying to be on too many?
Look at each one in turn and decide if it’s working for you or not. Do you get engagement on your posts? Do you get sales or work from that channel? Does that channel help you with what you want to achieve?
Stick with the channels that work best for you, and ones that really help you engage with your target audience.
The Brand factors
If you have a website, a blog, and a newsletter, as well as several social media channels, look at them all in turn.
Your brand is NOT just your logo. It’s about the look and feel of everything you do and needs to be consistent across everything you do. So, does the tone of voice you use for your website content, blog etc., match with your social media sites? Do you have a consistent colour theme? Would someone who knows your social media pages well, know it was your website without you telling them?
To enhance the experience that your customers, or potential customers, have with your business, you need to have a positive and consistent presence. They need to know where they stand with you and be able to trust that what you say is true. If you get comments or questions on your sites, answer them all, even if you think they might be trivial. Customers like to know that someone is there, someone is listening to them and reacting to them.
No social media strategy would be complete without talking about engagement. This is one of, if not THE, cornerstone of social media interaction with your audience.
I’ve previously said that it’s important to reply to customers’ comments and questions…even if that comment is just ‘Love this’ or ‘This is so good’ or just a list of emojis. To encourage more engagement, ask a question. Now, I’m not saying that I do this all the time, but I know that when I do, I build a much better rapport with that person.
For example, you’ve posted your latest craft item, let’s say it’s a winter knitted hat. You state that it can be bought on Etsy and post a lovely photo of your hat on a happy looking child.
Someone posts, ‘this is so cute.’ Your instant reaction is to probably reply with a simple ‘thank you.’ But if you do this, you’re missing a trick. Instead, give a bit more information, ‘Thank you, yes it really is. Did you know we also do winter hats for adults? If you were to choose one, what colour would you like to see?’
Now, you’ve not only thanked them for their comment and agreed with them, but you’re also giving more information about other products you sell. And you’re asking them a question that they really need to answer. ‘What colour?’ When they reply…if you do the hat in the colour they’ve said they like, you could reply with a link to that product telling them you have that colour. If you don’t do that colour, you could thank them for their choice and say that you’ll have to think about adding that colour shortly.
This shows you are listening to them and you’re striking up a conversation.
Engagement on social media, as I’m sure you are aware, isn’t just about engaging on your page. It’s also about engaging in conversations on other peoples’ pages. It’s worth spending half an hour a day reacting to posts from accounts you follow, make comments, ask questions, or have a short conversation.
Networking groups are also worth their weight in gold when it comes to meeting other like-minded people, getting your business name out there and getting sales, making friends, and finding things that you want to buy yourself. I spend around an hour a day on networking groups, sometimes more and sometimes less. I’ve met some lovely people, bought some wonderful products from small businesses, get the most amazing support, and have even found a few customers.
Engagement is about you giving some of your time to build relationships with customers and potential customers. It gives you the opportunity to show your personality and get to know what it is that your customers want and need.
And…did you know? The algorithms take note of the interaction you instigate with other businesses, which helps to push your content to more people.
Social Media Content Strategy
This is slightly different to your overall social media marketing strategy. This is about your content. Without content you won’t be able to engage your audience, attract new customers, show off your products or services, or measure your performance.
There are lots of small businesses who don’t plan their content – they just run with whatever comes into their head, or just continually post photos of their products, without giving it much thought.
But there is a strategy to it. For me, and this is what I recommend, it involves lists! For those of you who know me, you’ll know that I just love a good list!
But seriously, this really works to help you plan content.
Take each of your social media channels in turn…
- What is the average age of your followers on that channel and what do they do?
For example, I know that the average age of my followers on Facebook is between 35-65. I also know that my business page followers are mainly small businesses, crafters, artists, writers…generally people who create things for other people.
However, on Instagram, my followers are mainly in the 18-45 age group. They are mainly people who do a similar job to me. So, I learn a lot from their posts, in the same way as they learn a lot from mine. I get asked a lot more questions in DMs on Instagram.
So, think about the different audiences and age groups you have for each channel and write it down. This will help you when making your content.
- Know when the best time is to post – you can find this out on your insights. You can also find out what day of the week you get most interaction on.
- Have a list of hashtags that you use – research new ones as you don’t want to use the same hashtags for every post.
- I always suggest the 80/20 rule. 80% of your content should be a mixture of educational, engaging, entertaining or inspiring posts. Only the remaining 20% should be selling posts. If you only ever post sales posts, you will lose the interest of your audience. XXXX
- The content that people find attractive changes constantly, but generally, here are some tips…
Facebook – People are starting to prefer video on FB than ever before. But they also like good images, funny or inspiring quotes, and information. They love ‘how to’ videos or videos that you’re your working environment or how a product is made.
Instagram – stories are the most popular on this channel. If you have a shop or website where you sell your products, shoppable product posts are also popular…where you show your product and tag the product directly to where it can be bought. Carousels are also popular, where people scroll across a static post to see more information.
Twitter – Images and GIFs work well as this is fast moving and tweets get buried very quickly. You must post many times a day to keep your business in peoples’ minds.
TikTok – a young audience, very fast paced and video based. Trending dance videos, decent music tracks and very current.
LinkedIn – a single image or video get most views. You also need to really interact with groups and post your content in groups to be really noticed.
Pinterest – this channel is about sharing images and infographics that people can share. Users want to see vertically orientated images and expect each pin to link to a website or more information. Particularly good for blog posts and for getting traffic to your website.
These are only the basics for those platforms. I only use Facebook and Instagram, so I am not an expert on the other channels.
- Repurposing content is something that you can include in your content strategy. If you write a blog, you can make various posts for your social media from just one blog post. For example, video, list of tips, e-book, checklist, infographic, story – the list is endless.XXXX
- -Make a plan – have a calendar and plan in advance. I plan my content a month ahead, so I know what blogs I’m going to write and what content I am going to use for my social media posts.
-Check out what special days will appear in the next month, for example, Halloween or International Dog Day. Plan to write posts specifically for just that day, or a series of posts leading up to that day – make sure you choose occasions that are relevant to your business.
-Batch make content – I make a week’s worth at a time. And schedule posts wherever you can. This not only saves you loads of time, but it also saves you the worry of ‘what shall I post today?’
- If you do regular posts, such as quotes, or shoutouts to other businesses, now is the time to plan them for the month to be inline with the rest of your content.
- If you have an event, plan that into your content – and don’t forget to factor in advertising the event in posts leading up to it.
- If you use paid ads, make sure they are planned to link in with other relevant content.
As you all know, the social media algorithms are constantly changing as is social media in general. But if you plan well, and stick to the basic marketing tactics, it will work for your business, and you will see results. I really hope that this blog has helped you. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to email me or message me on social media!
Happy social media marketing!