There are many benefits to having a social presence as a small business, from engaging with customers to increasing sales and boosting your reputation.
The key to reaping these benefits and becoming successful on social is to create, execute and monitor a social media marketing strategy. Here, we’ll share eight steps to help you get started, but first let’s take a look at what a social strategy is.
What is a social media strategy?
A social media marketing strategy is a summary and plan of everything you want to achieve on your chosen social platforms and what you need to do to get there. Outlining everything from your goals, to your audience, to your posts and how you’re going to measure your performance, it allows you to address and plan what’s going to make your brand successful across social channels.
Businesses of all sizes need to have a social strategy – not only does it allow you to clearly outline your plans for social media in one succinct document, but it will help you optimise your social activity to reach customers.
How to create your social strategy
Follow these eight steps to define, execute and monitor your own social media strategy. For more advice on each of these stages, plus best practices for using social as a business, check out this social media guide.
1. Define your goals
Identify what you want social media to achieve for your business – after all, this will determine what follows from what you post to how often you share. Also think about how you’re going to measure these goals, for example if your aim is to promote a product, you’ll most likely want to measure the number of sales or enquiries that come from social media.
2. Do an audit
If you already have a presence on social media, think about your current strengths and weaknesses to help determine what is and isn’t working. This could be anything from how many likes you get to whether particular captions are getting more engagement.
3. Understand your audience
If you don’t understand your audience, how are you going to create relevant social content for them? Understanding your target audience is key to a successful social strategy. Think about:
- The age, occupation and gender of your target audience
- Their interests
- Their online activity – when do they go online and why?
- How and why they use social media
4. Choose your social platform
While each social media platform out there has its benefits, it’s good practice to focus on one channel and get it right rather than rushing in and creating multiple accounts straight away. This doesn’t mean you can’t add more social profiles to your portfolio in the future, but it does prevent you having to juggle content creation for numerous new accounts.
The platforms you choose for your small business are likely to come down to two factors: who your audience is and what resources you have. Here’s a list of the main platforms that are popular with small businesses.
Have a think about which ones could add value to your brand:
5. Conduct some competitor analysis
Keeping an eye on what your competitors are doing on social media is a good way to identify who’s a threat and what does and doesn’t go down well with your audience as well as highlighting any gaps in your own strategy.
You could simply keep an eye on your competitors by regularly checking in and looking at their profiles, engagement on recent posts and checking the comments. If you’d prefer to automate this process, there are plenty of online tools out there.
6. Create a content calendar
A content calendar, used to schedule and keep track of the posts you’re pushing out on your social platforms, helps you stay consistent, stops you missing important dates or events and helps support your wider marketing activities.
Create a calendar for each of your social profiles with key information including the date and time of a post, caption, hashtags and imagery. How you create your content calendar is your choice – you may be happy to make your own using Excel or perhaps you’d prefer to invest in an online tool. Scheduling your posts – either directly on the platform where possible – or via a tool, will also help you to post consistently across all your feeds.
7. Execute your social strategy
Follow these tips for a seamless implementation:
- Keep referring to your goals
- Explore social media management tools to keep on top of your social activity
- Download a social media strategy template
- Keep track of who’s in charge of what in your team
- Don’t rush
- Keep consistent
- Measure your results
8. Monitor your strategy
Knowing what’s working and what isn’t will help you improve your offering to followers and ensure you’re achieving a good ROI.
Tracking your social media success depends on what your goals are. For example, you could monitor how many likes and shares your posts are getting if your engagement is a key focus for you. Or if you’re looking to gain more web visitors you might want to look at the click-through rates on your posts and advertising.
Ready to get started? You can find more advice and tips on each of these steps alongside some social media best practices in this online guide for small businesses.
If you’re looking for more helpful social articles and guides, why not take a look at these?
Instagram Marketing for Small Businesses
Standout social campaigns from 2019 (and what you can learn from them)
How small businesses can use ‘stories’ to reach target audiences
This article was brought to you in partnership with The UK Domain.
How to create a social media strategy as a business leader