Quick tips on how to build an effective social media strategy for your small business.

Social media is its own little world – one that is ever-changing and therefore tricky to decode! If posting cat memes is your idea of what social media is good for, it’s time for a reality check: social media is one of the most powerful ways to market your small biz. Let the world know what you have to offer, but do it smart! That’s why it is important to create a good strategy. Here is my guide:


Establish goals

Before you go about chasing different social media channels, think first about what you’re hoping to achieve. This is going to dictate everything that follows from this point, as your goals determine the metrics you will use to measure success (and therefore how to break down the steps needed for success!).

Are you hoping to generate new traffic? In which case, the most important thing is to take note of new visitors. This metric is about how many unique visitors from from social media channels as a result of your efforts.

Are you hoping to generate interaction with your audience? In this case, you should be aiming for quantity and quality commentary, whether they are in the form of likes, retweets, comments, etc.

Are you trying to create a following? If you’re establishing yourself as a business to follow, you should look out for subscribers or followers.

Are you looking to generate revenue? Everything might feed back into this goal, but ultimately you should be trying to determine what is the generated dollar value of your leads from social media.

Of course, you might want to do a few of these, but don’t spread your efforts too thin. Focus on one or two at a time!

Consider time and resources

Think About Frequency. You can’t be out tweeting at all hours, chances are, so think about how often you’ll need to be posting for the best outcome. Much of this can be scheduled ahead. Some suggest 5-10 Tweets a day and 1-4 Facebook posts a day, as a rule of thumb.

Think About Timing. The hours between 8am and 8pm are more likely to get views that odd hours of the morning. If your brand caters to international audiences outside your time zone, it’s important to get in at least a few posts that will address those just waking up as you head off to sleep.

Determine your audience

Different channels appeal to different users. Consider who your target audience is – and ask yourself the following questions:

What does this platform uniquely offer?

What about this platform is relevant to my business?

Who is the target audience of this platform?

Is that audience the same (or overlapping) with my business audience?

How much time do I have to dedicate to using this platform effectively?

Facebook

Facebook has the great benefit of flexibility. It offers an easy, free way to build your brand’s loyalty whilst placing your business in a community of similar businesses, establishing status as an influencer. Demographically, Facebook users are 60% female and 40% male. They range from 25-45 years on average, and users are very much spread out across the globe.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is very much a professional networking site. It is used predominately by men, and older users with a higher income. With its Influencers program, it’s a great choice for those aiming to embed themselves in a professional network of like-minded companies. Posting here can be a little fiddly however, with less capacity for cross-posting from the site.

Instagram

Instagram is another visual medium, which has high engagement levels. It’s recently overtaken Facebook and Twitter in terms of younger users – 53% of 18 to 29 year olds use Instagram, and most users are women. Another interesting fact to note is that users tend to come from educated backgrounds, and live in urban areas. The recently introduced draft saving function means you can save posts for later.

Twitter

Twitter is a sharp, speedy platform which prioritises trending topics. This means that it’s great for breaking news about your product or service, being a quick and easy way to get an update in 140 characters or less. It’s not so great for long testimonials, or in depth discussion between you and your customers. Contact is more likely to be quick fire queries, requiring instant answers. Users are 50/50 male to female, ranging from 18 to 29 years of age. It is recommended that businesses tweet 3 to 4 times a day, making this channel much more time intensive. Read more about using Twitter for Business!

Establish a tone of voice

It’s important to have a voice when you post to social media. After all, it’s the same as when you follow any friend you know in real life: you’re reading because you know what their personality is, and you like that personality. The same applies to your business. People want to know what your brand “feels” or “sounds” like when they check out your posts online. Think up some key adjectives that describe the way you want people to perceive your social media and keep these in mind as you post.
Create consistent graphics

Beyond creating a voice, you also have to create a look. This should tie in to your main blog or website, or other branding. This way you are able to create a professional and consistent look wherever people read about your brand.

Join the conversation

The best way to begin creating a social media strategy that is effective is to participate with your immediate competitors, friends, or the experts in your field. Being a part of the community will immediately establish your brand as one that is relevant and interesting to the industry you are in, and will form a good basis for testing the effectiveness of your posts online.

Test and reflect

As you put up content, quips and images, take note of when and what you are posting. Every channel offers stats into how your posts are performing, and if you determined your goals well at the outset, you should be able to see whether you are starting to meet them!

Test out different kinds of posts, and experiment to figure out whether or not your social media strategy is working. Balance automation with flexibility and responsiveness – create a calendar of content that can always be shifted and changed in accordance with new events or news!
Overall, a good social media strategy is all about being organised yet flexible, and figuring out what components are required to make your online presence a success. Read more about how social media can help with brand awareness here. Get strategizing ahead of the new year and make your business pop amongst the wealth of social media content