As a small business owner, have you considered using social media to promote your services and products? Maybe you have already created a social media account, but deciding what to post has been difficult. Either way, if social media is right for your business, social media marketing can propel your business forward.
So, how do you get started? Like all marketing, it is essential that you have a strategy when establishing a social media presence. At Succeeding Small, we understand the strategizing can be overwhelming, especially if you haven’t done it before. As we strive to be a consistent resource for small businesses, we have gathered some of the basic steps you need to successfully strategize your social media.
1. Create SMART Goals
SMART stands for “specific,” “measurable,” “attainable,” “relevant,” and “time-bound.” By creating goals that are this detailed, it ensures that you will have evidence to track your progress and determine where changes need to be made.
Let’s look at an example. Say your overall goal is to promote your small business. Now, let’s make it SMART.
Honing in on your goal will make it clearer, allowing you to determine actionable steps to achieve it.
Example: “I want to use social media to reach more people.”
Find steps you can take to make progress toward your goal. Setting actionable steps allows you to have small wins along the way, as well as adjust as you go.
Example: “I will have a social media presence on three platforms to reach more people.”
Be sure your goal is attainable. Knowing you can reach this goal keeps you motivated to keep moving forward.
Example: “I will create a social media strategy to guide my use of the three social media platforms to reach more people.”
Make sure your goal is relevant to your small business. This means it should connect to your values and long term goals.
Example: “In order to promote my small business, I will create a social media strategy to establish a strong social media presence across three platforms, in order to reach more people.”
Establishing a deadline further motivates you to achieve your goal. It also helps prevent you from continuing to push back your goals, saying you’ll “just do it tomorrow.”
Example: “In order to promote my small business, I will create a social media strategy by the end of the month to establish a strong social media presence across three platforms, in order to reach more people.”
And there you have it. That final example is your completed SMART goal. Now, let’s take a look at measuring metrics.
2. Determine the metrics you’ll measure
Metrics are the means by which you measure your social media performance and it’s correlating Return on Investment (ROI). Key metrics you will want to track include:
- Brand Awareness
- Audience Growth Rate
- Average Engagement Rate
- Post Reach
For a thorough overview of important metrics to follow, take a look at this fantastic Hootsuite resource. This list of metrics is a great place to find specific measurements that align with your business goals.
3. Create a buyer persona
A buyer persona is a detailed description of your target customer. A buyer persona should be incredibly detailed, including an image of the “ideal” customer, age, income, location, interests, and motivators. This allows you to really hone in on your target market and determine the most effective content and marketing strategy to speak to them.
4. Know your competition and do your research
If you want to perform better than your competitors, it is important to know what they’re up to. By taking a look at their social media account(s) and reviewing the type of content they post and how it performs, you can decide what would put you ahead.
Along with analyzing your competitors’ social media platforms, it is important to do industry research, in general. Take a look at how those in your industry use social media to be successful (yes, even if they are not a direct competitor). This allows you to get a thorough overview of what effective social media marketing looks like for the industry, in turn, guiding how social media would be best utilized for your small business.
5. Choose the proper social media platforms
Different social media platforms have different purposes, so every platform may not work for your business. It is important to only use social media that is relevant and helpful in your industry.
6. Establish Social Media Branding Guidelines
Consistency is key when it comes to making the most of your social media platforms. This is why establishing specific branding guidelines is important. To really ensure your business’s voice on social media is cohesive, you should address the following:
- Taglines – Choose taglines to use throughout your posts. Your business may already have some established taglines, or you may need to brainstorm some that make sense. Either way, have 3-5 that really capture the essence of your business.
- Emojis – in most industries, emojis are a great addition to a post. However, it is important to set boundaries, as emojis should be used sparingly and intentionally. Using too many emojis or adding unnecessary or irrelevant emojis can leave your business appearing unprofessional and childish. Your best option is to choose 3-5 on-brand emojis and use them when relevant.
- Social Media Graphics – If you plan on posting graphics, you should create templates that are consistent with your brand. Essentially, this means you use your brand’s color scheme and specific fonts to create cohesive graphics, whether you use Canva or another graphic design software.
By establishing your brand guidelines, you will not only will it give your audience a consistent brand, but you will also save yourself time as you create content.
7. Create a content calendar
A content calendar is the best way to stay organized and not miss great opportunities to post new content. Using a comprehensive template of your choosing, you can keep track of things like types of posts, captions, photos, when to post, etc.
A great way to get started on a content calendar is to brainstorm post topics. In some instances, deciding on a relevant topic can be what slows you down during the content creating process, so it is helpful to have general post types and an established list of brainstormed ideas beforehand.
A good rule of thumb is to post content that fits into one of the following categories:
- Branded – These posts should reflect your business in every aspect, including using taglines and branded hashtags.
- Community – These posts are aimed at building a sense of community amongst your followers. This can look like an engagement-based post where you ask a relevant question.
- Industry – These posts allow your audience to take a deeper look at your business’s respective industry. These are meant to educate, so a blog post share or industry-related tips would be great options.
- Sales – These posts are focused on promoting your business’s products or services. This can look like explaining a product or service or offering a discount.
Overall, your content calendar should have a healthy mix of these types of posts (that follow your social media brand guidelines that you established in the previous step, of course). By tying all of these steps together, your small business will reap the benefits of social media in no time!
Establish a Social Media Strategy That Works For Your Small Business
Are you ready for your small business to benefit from social media? At Succeeding Small, we love helping small businesses find their voice in the marketplace. This is why we are committed to providing resources that can help your business get the visibility it deserves. Get started with this free social media strategy template!