Are you realising that your small business should be on social media, but don’t know where to start?
Your first step should be making a plan – deciding which platforms you should be on, knowing your social media marketing goals and how to measure them, having a strategy and planning your content. Does it sound too complicated? Don’t worry, I’m here to help you!
Step 1. STRATEGY
Do you know who is your target audience and where do they hang out on social media? You should figure that out!
Think about your customers, who are they? Young, older, women, men, working, students, local, international, what are their interests? Write down all details and create a buyer persona. When you know who your customers are, find out which social networks they use, to do this research online or ask your customers directly.
Now you know who your customers are and where they spend their time online. Pick one social network to start with and dedicate some time to getting familiar with it, I’ve got some great tips for you at the foot of this post, but before you jump in and start posting, observe and listen first. Then start planning!
The most important part of success on social media is a well-informed social media marketing strategy! Without such a strategy, you’re lost! To be successful you need to know why you are doing what you are doing and be able to measure it. Have a look at this simple table showing the relationship between business goals and social goals:
Sounds too complicated? Ask yourself: What are your main business goals at the moment? Most of you will answer to ‘grow your business, get more sales, have bigger profits’, but there are many different ways how to achieve and measure this. It also depends on the nature of your business – are you an offline or online business, are you marketing directly to consumers or to other businesses?
You can grow your business by growing your exposure, in this case we’re talking about brand awareness and word of mouth and you should be focusing on measuring your reach and post engagement (shares, likes, retweets, mentions). If you want to drive more sales you should focus on collecting leads to grow your customer database and implement an email marketing strategy. If you have an online shop, you can grow by getting more online sales and in this case you should identify your marketing funnel, increase web traffic and watch conversions.
Step 2. CONTENT
So now you know what you’d like to achieve with your social media. Now let’s dig a bit more into how to do it.
Having a content strategy is another really important step to your business success. Planning your content calendar at least a month in advance will save you lots of time and will assure you’re consistent – but don’t forget that this doesn’t mean you need to keep engaging with people along the way!
What should you talk about?
You should talk about stuff your audience is interested in reading about. It usually isn’t about how amazing you are. Focus on demonstrating how you can help.
The most successful brands on social stick to the rule of thirds. What is it?
The social media rule of thirds says that ⅓ of the content you share on social media should be ‘shareable content’ (interesting industry news, education, tips & tricks, fun & engaging posts), ⅓ should be engagement and conversations and only ⅓ should be used for self-promotion (special deals, marketing offers, lead generation).
Another popular content rule is based on Pareto’s 80/20 principle. In social media context it means that 80% of all updates you share should be ‘shareable content’ & only 20% of updates should be promotional, with a strong call to action.
In addition, you should be absolutely clear about your key business message! I’m always surprised how many businesses doesn’t know what their key message is! Do you? Are you clear about what your business does and how your product/services are helping?
Usually you have only few seconds to explain what you do (and what your product does) and why should people buy it. Use all means available to help people understand your business and the benefits of working with you!
Listen more than you talk
If you should take only one advice from this blog post, it would be ‘More social, less media’ rule! Social networks are place for people to engage, learn and have fun. Not for companies to do hard sales. Respect your audience and understand uniqueness of each platform!
Some companies very often forget about listening. They’re so self-absorbed and focusing on their goals and needs, that they ignore people around them. Don’t be like them! Care about people and they will care about you.
Social media is a great place for businesses to learn more about their customers and it’s as simple as asking ‘What do you like? What should we do differently?’ If you’re not courageous enough to ask them directly, at least be present and listen. Watch what are people saying, what discussions are involved in and learn from there.
Every business is unique, so there isn’t a golden rule that would fit everyone, but no matter what you do, always be consistent, helpful and authentic!
Step 3. MONITORING AND MEASURING
Measure, analyse, take an action and repeat
As important the first step of creating a strategy is, measuring results is as crucial. Without strategy you don’t know where you’re going, but without measuring you don’t know if you’re going the right way of if you should change direction.
Make sure to regularly check your results, understand what they mean and adjust your strategy accordingly.
Big congratulations if you managed to read the whole article! Right now you should have a much better idea of how to start with social media for your small business. It’s not that simple as you might think before, but once you get into it’s not that difficult.
The most important thing to remember is always having a plan, so you know why you’re doing what you’re doing and how to measure your success!