If you own a small business, there’s no getting around it; you probably need to use social media in some way, shape or form. It’s no longer possible to have a website and expect to be found without marketing the site in some way, and the intelligent use of a social media strategy is an excellent way to achieve that goal.
Given the overwhelming number of channels out there, you may want to give some thought to the following before you even think about which ones would be useful for your local business or organization.
Who is going to be responsible for keeping it up to date?
Our experience tells us that even the most motivated and dedicated organizations fall down when it comes to researching appropriate articles and consistently updating their social media pages. Because this is such an important part of your online marketing it pays to figure this out ahead of time. Whether it’s one individual in a small organization, or a team of people in a larger company, this needs to be a mandated part of their job description, with time allotted to its completion on a consistent basis.
Why do you think you need Social Media?
Discuss your ideas with your customers and listen to their comments/suggestions about where and how you should engage with them. You can also create a detailed profile of your ideal customer. Start by giving them a name. How old are they? What is their income? Do they have children? What do they like or dislike? What motivates them? And so on. If you have more than one ideal customer, create a persona for each. From this you’ll be able to determine what to use Social Media for. Sales? Customer loyalty? Awareness? Choose one; a narrow focus will allow you to determine which is the most useful channel for the business.
What is your “Thing”?
Who are you and how will you be representing yourself to your target audience? Emotion sells more than a string of features and benefits; figure out how you can appeal to your customer’s emotions by solving a problem or satisfying a need and use that information to create a persona for your company that your customers can relate to.
Look at the Competition
One of best ways to figure out what you should be doing is by assessing what your competitors are doing. They’re going after the same customers that you’re targeting after all. What channels do they use? What kind of content are they publishing? Do they use humor? Are there a lot of videos on their social media channels? Using this information, assess how well they’re doing based on the number of followers / engagement / comments, etc. they’re getting and use this to develop ideas for your own content. Your search engine rankings will benefit as a result.
Create Measurable Objectives
Set clear objectives based on your goals. Focus on the S.M.A.R.T. strategy for goal setting to ensure your objectives are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time based.
For example, if you want to increase sales, you might decide that you want to generate an additional 100 online leads a month. If your goal is brand awareness, then you might want to increase the number of times your brand is mentioned on social media by 50 percent. In all cases, these objectives should be directly tied to your business goals, and they should be achievable and time limited. For example, in 6 months time you want to achieve that 50 percent growth in brand awareness, not at some undefined time in the future.
How will you measure the success of your social media strategy?
Once you set your objectives, make sure you can measure them. Some judge success by the number of added phone calls coming in to the business; some relate it to the number of comments they get on Facebook.
Find the right tools to track and analyze each one, so that you can quantify your progress. Not only will this let you know when you have arrived, it will also help you to spot problems early and adjust your course if you need to.
Choose Your Channels
Determine which channels will deliver the best results based on your goals and develop your plan.
Create a plan and follow it
Your content should align with your existing messaging, be engaging and informative and be delivered in a variety of media. Think about delivering value to your customers and remember to be consistent and regular with your posts. Take periodic measurements to ensure that the plan is working. If necessary, tweak things along the way, trying different social media channels, and posting different kinds of messages to see which ones get the best results.
The best advice we can offer is: be consistent. Some strategies take longer to work then others. Keep plugging away, tweaking things as you go along and your efforts will pay off in the long run.
If you need help implementing a social media strategy you are welcome to contact us; we’ll be happy to meet with you to figure out what you need to do to be found, along with some marketing ideas.
About Lighthouse Marketing
Lighthouse Marketing Inc. is an 18 year old company specializing in visually appealing, mobile friendly website design. In addition to our existing website services, the past 3 years has seen dynamic growth in the area of SEO services, particularly with regard to local search. Our evolution to a full service SEO company means that we now offer complete online business solutions that involve Google local search as well as an effective social media strategy.