You’re a small business owner with a couple social media accounts. You’ve asked your friends to follow your business accounts, and gotten some initial Likes. You hung up a sign on your front door with a Facebook logo and a “follow us!” message. You’re publishing social media posts here and there, as you think about it. So this means you’re all set with your social media, right?
While you do have the basics covered – social media profiles, asking people to follow you, and making posts – you don’t necessarily have a strategy for your small business’ social media. And without a social media strategy in place for your small business, the work that you’ve done and will continue to do likely won’t pay off for you.
Here’s why you need a social media strategy for your small business.
Why you Need a Social Media Strategy for your Small Business
In short, creating (and following) a social media strategy for your small business will greatly improve the likelihood that your social media posts will be relevant to your small business and its ideal customers, consistent, representative of your larger marketing plan, and effective in driving awareness, trust, leads, and sales.
Let’s now take a closer look at each of these.
- A social media strategy = relevant social posts When you develop your social media strategy, a big part of it will be determining the type and nature of posts that you’ll make. Since you don’t want to be all promotional all of the time, your content mix needs to be more than “Buy from me! And buy NOW!” type posts. Think about your small business, industry, and ideal customer type(s), and figure out other buckets of content that you can post about that are what I call “relevant and complementary” to your small business. For example, a real estate agent’s promotional posts would be things like links to their listings, client testimonials, and calls to action to hire them to act as someone’s agent. But examples of relevant and complementary content would be information on preparing your home to sell, mortgages and financing options, staging advice, moving tips, home inspection information, renovation and redecorating…basically content that relates to the real estate business as well as a potential client of that real estate agent, but that’s not directly asking someone to hire the agent or buy one of the agent’s listings. Additionally, any small business that serves a specific geographic area can post about local events and news to show its investment in the local community.
- A social media strategy = consistency How many of you are either guilty of or have seen rarely-used (or completely dormant) social media accounts owned by other businesses? What does it make you think about a business when you see their most recent post was 3 weeks ago, and then 5 weeks before that? That they don’t have their act together? Are disorganized or over-worked? Consistency is key to most things in life, and developing a regular, repeatable schedule of social media activity makes planning and work processes easier for you (because you’ll know what your daily, weekly, or monthly social media work will be) while also ensuring that your existing and future customers are regularly seeing your activity online. You also want to develop a social media strategy that has an attainable amount of activity, so it’s reasonable to expect you can keep up with whatever new posting schedule you set. You are better off developing a social media calendar that has fewer posts per week and a pace you know you can stick to, than trying to publish one post a day, every day, when you haven’t even been publishing 1 post a week before now.
- A social media strategy = alignment with your larger marketing plan Since social media is still new in a lot of ways, it’s easy to think of it as a separate part of running your business, almost like it’s off by itself. But in reality, an effective social media strategy treats your small business’ social media as one more tool in the marketing toolbox. Just like how you’d plan for in-store sales and promotions, postcards/mailers, email newsletter, and newspaper, radio, TV, and billboard ads, and make sure that all of those things aligned and supported your small business’ overall marketing plan, your social media strategy needs to do the same. You can’t control the first – or any – touchpoint a customer or potential customer will have with your brand. So having any and all marketing channels supporting the same brand message is key to your overall marketing messaging and brand reputation.
- A social media strategy = increased brand awareness, trust, leads, and sales When you make a plan for anything – social media or otherwise – it ensures that you know what you’re going to be doing, when you’re going to be doing it, and that all your work will be completed and presented in the same way (tone, look, etc.). So, it’s through the development and implementation of a social media strategy that aligns your marketing messages, is promotional as well as relevant and complementary, and consistent in delivery and frequency, that your small business’ brand awareness, trust, leads, and sales grow.
Although it might seem like taking time to develop a social media strategy for your small business is a lot of work, it actually pays off for you in the end because it makes your regular daily, weekly, and monthly marketing work easier and expected, and helps present your brand message in a consistent and clear way.
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