If you are a small business owner (or solopreneur) you know that social media is increasingly important to your bottom line. Whether you are using Facebook, Twitter or even Instagram you need a social media strategy if you want to be successful. But where do you start? More than likely you are focused on other aspects of your business. Let’s be honest – running a small business keeps you very busy. Here, we discuss 3 ways in which you can simplify your social media efforts to ensure success.
1) Decide which social media platforms you are going to focus on
There are several different social media sites – in fact, more than we can currently count. However, you don’t want to employ the “be everywhere” mantra in your social media campaigns. While this might initially seem ideal, it is far too time consuming and overwhelming to allow success. More than likely you should focus on just two platforms. Depending on your business the logical choices are likely Facebook and Twitter. However, the key to picking your two platforms lies in these questions:
- Where are YOUR customers?
- What social media channels do they hang out on?
Answer those, and your social media platform choices become easy. Remember, focus on just two channels and not the hundred that are available.
2) Set goals for your social media program
If you want to be successful you will want to set some goals around social media. A good start might be:
- Increase your following amongst the various channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, etc). How many followers do you have now? Set a goal to increase those numbers by year end.
- Commit to posting to each of your chosen social media channels regularly. Depending on your line of business, you might consider posting to Twitter 3 or more times per day, Facebook at least once per day, and Instagram not less than 5 times per week. The most important part about setting goals on posting is to pick your posting schedule and stick to it.
- Set a goal to increase the traffic to your website from your various social media outlets. To accomplish this, gather your current visitor statistics from Google Analytics (you do have this set up right?) and set a goal to increase your social media traffic by “x” percent. Again, the exact percentage isn’t as important as actually tracking, measuring, and pushing to increase your traffic.
- Set a goal to interact with “x” number of customers per week on social media. There are plenty of small businesses that don’t currently interact or engage with customers on social media. Whatever your stats are your goal is to actually be “social” on social media.
Since you now know that consistency, interaction, and traffic are critical to your social posting, you will want to automate this process as much as possible. We recommend using a tool to accomplish these tasks like Buffer or Hootsuite which can simplify your social media projects. These tools will take care of posting, can act as a quasi editorial calendar, and will allow you to follow the conversations that you want to be part of.
3) Plan out your content
The key to all social media boils down to one simple thing – content. You need to plan on writing, and then writing some more. Go into this understanding that this is a big time commitment. Let’s get started by answering the following questions:
- What are you going to write about?
- What questions do your customers need answered?
- What information can you provide that will connect with your potential customers?
Once you have these figured out, you should create an editorial calendar. This will help you to plan and map out what you will publish, on which platform it will be published, and when you will publish it. The calendar will also ensure that you are sticking to your posting schedule, writing about topics your customers care about, and not duplicating your topics.
Another important thing to consider when discussing content is deciding who in your business will be the social media leader. Will it be you? Or, will you outsource? If you keep this task in-house you will want to allocate the appropriate time for social media and content creation. If you decide to outsource then you will want to budget the costs associated with hiring someone else to perform the job.
Using social media can be quite a challenge for most small business owners. We would also add this for most entrepreneurs it doesn’t likely come naturally. However in this day and age, you will need to consider social media part of the sales and customer service process. Whether you are just starting your business, or are a seasoned small business owner, getting your social media game “together” should be a top priority. Like it or not, social media is now mainstream and needs to be part of your business strategy. We hope that these three tips will help simplify and systematize your social media program.
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