Social Media Marketing for Small Business
As an entrepreneur and small business owner, you are busy, hiring staff, helping customers, and generally doing whatever it takes to run your company, and while you know social media’s important, you’re time just can’t be stretched any further. How can you possibly add another item to your to-do list? But these days, you can’t afford not to be on social media, because it’s one of the best ways of connecting and building relationships with your customers and prospects.
While traditional advertising is always effective, in today’s climate where social media dominates, recommendations for your business is paramount. Social media is PR on steroids. Social media is not just another platform; it allows you to deepen your relationships with your customers and see your products and service from their point of view. It allows you to interact with them even when they are not on your website or in your store.
Our article will highlight how to use a social media marketing plan using the three Ps: Publishing, Producing, and Publicity, and build awareness and engagement for your small business. We will also touch on how to use a social media editorial calendar and analytics to make sure you’re on track.
At the heart of your social media strategy, you need to map your customers’ pain points and figure out the kind of content you can create to help solve your customers’ problems when they need it. This will likely include a combination of blog posts, videos, visuals, white papers, forums, and of course, social media updates that help amplify your content and build community.
Develop Your Social Media Strategy:
Social Listening and Social Research:
Social Listening allows you to research, analyze and discover insights about your customer. While not free, there are various social media management tools that you can find to fit your needs and budget. These tools help small business owner track of what your customers are talking about, what problems they are having, and how your business can help.
Set your social media goals:
Every business has goals. Some are soft, like increasing followers on a social media channel and others are lofty, like expanding your market share by 25% over the next 2 quarters. Although the latter is a marketing goal, your social media plan can help you get there as part of an integrated marketing plan.
By using your social media channel to help you promote the outcomes that you want your customers to take, such as signing up for a newsletter. It’s important to track the effectiveness of your social media campaigns through tracking your signups via analytics. An IT specialist can help you track your signups through Google Analytics so you know which channels are working for you.
Understand your customer’s social media habits:
One of the most important things to consider when developing your business’ social media plan is picking the best channels and times to connect with your customers. Pick your social media channels based on the ones your customers are using, and where they’re most likely to engage with you. You can find out a lot about customer social media habits by listening and seeing where, when, and how they’re most active.
You want to engage your customers and be helpful to them. Not just sell to them. A good rule of thumb for businesses to consider is the rule of thirds: 1/3 of your content should be about yourself, 1/3 should be sharing other peoples’ posts, and a 1/3 should go to building relationships for your brand.
Craft a social media policy
A social media policy offers a code of conduct for the way your company will behave online. It also sets the tone for your business’s culture and online persona. For example, are you going to be serious and helpful, funny, critical, hard-edged? It starts internally, with the things you and your team members are saying, and then it extends outward, by the delineating the acceptable tone and language for all your company’s online properties, including your blog or website, social media channels, and customer forum.
Create a social media plan
Your social media plan is just one aspect of your overall marketing plan. It is one tactic to help you reach your business goals. Say you are a clothing retailer with the goal to sell your summer line. You need to look at the marketplace and do a strategic analysis of the market landscape. The strategic consideration are a clear assessment of your organization and the marketplace and often include a SWOT, that is, a look at an organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Then make your goal specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time bound (SMART). For example, you might restate your goal as “increase sales of your summer line by 20% during the months of June, July and August compared to the previous summer.”
Now for your social media plan:
- What creative assets will you use? Pictures on Instagram, blogs on fashion, videos?
- Will you reach out to influencers? Consider reaching out to fashion bloggers and ask them to showcase your fashion line. Other influencers might be fashion influencers on YouTube and Instagram who will review your clothing line.
- Brand Selfies by customers: Have customers wear your clothing and post on their IG accounts with a branded hashtag
- Budget: Know your budget for social ads, sponsorships of influencers, writers, and prizes for contests.
- Measurement: Measure throughout the process to see if you are on track.
Build a social media team:
Your social media team should include a writer, a photographer, a graphic designer, a video editor, a community manager to interact with customers, and a researcher to find out what your customers are talking about and which influencers are worthy of reaching out to. Next decide if your own staff has some of these skills or if you need to hire an external agency.
Making Time for Social Media
Once you decide what social media content you’ll create, which channels to focus on, and how frequent you’ll post, put it all down in a content calendar to keep you on track. Many businesses focus on themes or try to align with seasonal holidays.
Marketing for your small business is a larger topic than social media alone. But social media planning for small businesses should be a significant portion of your overall strategy to reach customers, build loyalty, and increase sales.
-Shira Kalfa, BA, JD, Partner and Founder
© Kalfa Law 2021