Social media is the most powerful tool a business can use to promote its products and services. But for many small businesses, it can also be quite tricky to understand how it can be used effectively, with the many tools and platforms available.
Every great social media campaign starts with a well thought-out plan—and with any good plan, one needs to be asking the right questions.
Here are five questions for small businesses to consider when developing their brand’s social media strategy.
1. Why are you doing this?
Before anything else, identify your objectives for going on social media. When using social media for business, it’s not always about getting as many likes or followers as possible. Social media objectives have to be tied to your own business objectives.
If you are a new or unknown brand, for example, a good objective would be to increase brand awareness. This is measured by understanding how many people you are reaching through your social media presence, which is determined by your number of followers, and the reach of your social media posts. It’s also important to understand how many people are talking about your brand, which can be determined by the number of mentions on social media platforms, as well as shares or retweets of your content.
If you wish to increase your customers or improve sales, another key objective would be to drive traffic to your website or online store. Google Analytics is a tool you can use to measure to determine how many of your website’s visitors are coming from your social media platforms, or how many clicks your posts are getting.
2. Who are you talking to?
A good understanding of your customer should be at the core of your business. Create a target market profile which will serve as the core of your social media strategy. First off, lay out the demographics of your target customer. Tools like Facebook Audience Insights can provide you with in-depth information on your existing audience– not just their average age, gender, or location, but even their interests, relationship status, mobile device used, and educational status.
Next, put yourselves in the shoes of your target customer and understand, what are their problems that my brand could help them solve? At this point, consider as well how your product or service could come in to help them solve that problem.
3. Where do they go?
When it comes to choosing the right social media platform for your business, there is no one-size fits all solution. Do some research on where your target audience spends most of their time online. Another key consideration would be to understand how they use those platforms.
Facebook is easily the most effective social media platform to use to promote your brand. However, consider that people generally use Facebook to connect with friends and family, so your brand has to post content that fits that atmosphere–something that’s not just focused on pushing products and services.
If your business relies heavily on visuals, which typically includes food, art, fashion, design, and beauty, then Instagram or Pinterest may be the right platform for you. Businesses can also use YouTube as a platform for sharing instructional videos, talks, or even funny shareable video content.
Twitter, on the other hand, is a fast-paced platform where users go to get real-time updates about news and trending topics. Many brands use Twitter to participate in popular topics of the hour, while some also use it as a customer service channel.
4. What are your competitors doing?
Understanding how your competitors are performing on social media is key to creating an effective strategy. Look at brands offering similar products or services, what kinds of content they post, how they’re engaging their audiences, and whether those methods are working.
Observe the kind of brand voice they have chosen to adopt, in their content copy, or through stories they may be posting on Facebook or Instagram. Take a look at what their customers are saying about them in the comments section of their Facebook or Instagram pages, or through user-generated content posted on individual’s social media accounts.
5. How should you talk to them?
Effective and engaging content will go a long way in ensuring that your brand’s social media campaign succeeds.
Also, remember that people ultimately make decisions based on emotions, more than on facts or information. Provide relatable content that inspires strong feelings in your target customer. Humorous content will inspire joy and could encourage your audience to engage with your content by reacting, or even sharing it. In some ways, fear is also a good emotion to channel–that is, the fear of missing out. There are many ways to make customers feel like they’re missing out on something good if they’re not availing of your product or service.
Great visual content will also set your brand apart on social media and will help make your content more engaging. Invest in eye-catching photos and videos for your content. If you have products to sell, it’s a good idea to have them styled and photographed in a tasteful and professional manner.
If all of these seem like a lot to think about, don’t worry, and don’t hurry! A carefully considered approach to social media marketing is always a good step towards building and launching successful campaigns.
Begin with research, draft a plan for your strategy, and try your hand at building a page and content for one platform. Take small steps to see what works best for you, your business, and ultimately, your relationship with your customers.