29 Nov The 8-step Social Media Blueprint for Small Businesses
The story of David and Goliath teaches us that with the correct vision and strategy, even the little guys can win. Business is hard these days, especially when you have big league brands to compete with. I mean, they have billboards, TV commercials, Youtube Ads, flyers and a lot more, while the best thing you could come up with is a brochure and a business card. That doesn’t seem fair, does it?
So how do we even out the playing field without emptying our wallets? Simple. Social Media. It’s free, campaigns are inexpensive and it’s global. You don’t only get to reach a larger market, but you’ll also be equipped with the tools to continuously promote your brand without having to pay for it. Sounds too good to be true, right? So what’s the catch? Using social media instead of those expensive marketing tools is basically a trade. Instead of money, you have to put in double amount of time and effort. And just like any marketing strategy, it could go wrong if not done properly.
Here are 8 basic steps to help you get started with social media.
1. Establish Your Goals
People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan. Not properly identifying your goals is like going on a journey without a map. You won’t be able to measure your success, nor will you be able to know if your marketing plans are worth your time and effort. So before even planning on doing anything, try to answer the following questions:
- What do I want to get out of this?
- How much money am I willing to spend?
- How much time do I have?
- Do I have the right skills for this job?
- What do I want my audience to know about me?
2. Identify Your Customer Avatar
The problem with most business owners is they don’t properly target their customers. While reaching the entire world is tempting, it’s also a sign of probable disappointment. You will easily drown in the competition, and fade in the background. So how do you stand out? Know who your audience is. Who are the people who are going to be most interested in your product? What age group are they in? Where do they live? What time of day do they go online? What type of things are they interested in? And yes, you might sound like a stalker while doing this, but the reality is, not everyone can be your customer. Make sure that your efforts won’t be wasted by keeping a close idea of who your potential client is.
3. Choose your platform
Once you’ve established your customer avatar, it’s now easier to pick which platform you’re supposed to use. While having more than one social media account will more likely get you more leads, having to focus on all of them will be too overwhelming and you won’t be as effective as you could be when launching social media campaigns. The key factor in choosing the best platform is “What platform is your potential customer using?” Check out the latest social media demographic and determine whether your customer is in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Tumblr, Instagram or Pinterest.
4. Choose your tools
If you decide to choose more than one social media platform, it would be a challenge to handle them all at one time. Every platform is different and thus should be approached in a unique manner. Automating the process will help you be more effective and consistent. Hootsuite is a social media scheduling tool that will allow you to see all of your social media feed in one place. You’ll also receive notifications, reports and other data that will help you improve your campaigns and content strategies.
5. Create an editorial calendar
An editorial calendar is one of the most crucial steps in developing your social media plan. This will eventually determine the success of your marketing efforts. So what makes a good editorial calendar? Engaging content.
There are two points you need to consider when brainstorming for content ideas:
- It must be something that people want to share.
- It must be so valuable that people would want to pay you for it.
Once you’ve come up with the ideas for your content, it’s time to determine the best times to publish and distribute it. Research from mycleveragency.com reveals the optimal and worst times to post in the following social media channels.
|SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNEL||BEST TIME TO POST||WORST TIME TO POST|
6. Find cool graphics
Social media is all about catching people’s attention. It’s not a book that people would want to read, but it’s a magazine that people scan, constantly. So in order to generate real traffic and be recognized by followers, you should be able to add cool graphics to your posts. In places such as Facebook and Instagram, a book is indeed judged by its cover. Visual is one of the most effective marketing trends there is, so always have a cheat sheet or a social media image guide.
Your social media profiles should also be cohesive with each other. Make your brand more recognizable by incorporating the same colors, the same font and the same style in all your designs. Find a good graphics designer that will help you develop a good image that will reflect your brand’s personality. Make it simple, professional and credible.
7. Engage with your audience
The task doesn’t end with simply posting content. Through social media, brands are now given the opportunity to connect with their followers. Don’t be the snobbish, unrealistic Facebook page or Twitter account. Be someone that people can relate and talk to, a business that actually exists and cares for their customers. If you establish this concept, you’ll be nurturing your clients and encourage them to share their experiences with you.
This is my golden advice: before you can sell anything, you should feed your followers with valuable information, whether educational or entertaining. When you have finally earned their trust, that’s the time when you would reap the benefits of effortless marketing. Once you have an established list of followers, you’ll know whom to sell to without actually convincing anyone that your product is good.
8. Measure and tweak
Reports are an essential part of the social media marketing business, but they are often disregarded due to busy schedules. A good social manager should always measure his results and match them to the goals of the business. This is essential even if your business is doing well in the financial aspect. We need to know if our marketing really works, and if there’s a part of it that doesn’t. Growth is dependent upon our ability to determine the strengths and weaknesses of our campaign, and deal with it accordingly.
There you have it, a perfect 8-step plan to get you started on Social Media. While it’s not easy, we trust that by starting you will be able to get on the right track towards success!
Want more tips on how to create a great Social Media strategy for your business? We can help! Schedule a free consultation and get started on building a solid foundation for your company!
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