Without a social strategy for your business, you could be missing out on reaching a huge volume of potential customers.
The move toward online networks has made it necessary for businesses of all sizes to connect with customers - existing and future - in a digital social space and engage in conversations about their products or services directly. I guess you could even call social media the new word of mouth - and think how valuable that is to your business.
But where on earth do you begin? For smaller businesses like mine where you can't simply employ someone for the job, it can seem daunting. Which channels should you be on and what do you do once you're on them? And won't it all take a heap of time that you don't have?
If I'm honest, it did take a lot of time, not least because I was having to Google most things! But what I eventually worked out is that you need to determine the key elements of your social media strategy, including which social media channels to use, who to target and how to improve your strategies.
Here are the 5 steps I went through when setting up my social media strategy.
1. Determine your social media goals
In the past, companies only had websites to make their business known online to customers. Now creating social media pages that engage potential customers is the next step in the sales funnel.
As a business you will use social media sites as a tool to meet your objectives based on your business mission, according to Search Engine Watch.
Typically, businesses use social media to:
- Grow their Internet presence
- Sort other marketing and sales campaigns
- Increase traffic to their site
- Convert more leads into customers
- Add a sense of legitimacy to their organization
Narrow down your business goals and keep your objectives in mind when you create, manage and grow your social media pages.
2. Choose your social media channels
While the most popular social media sitesare Facebook and Twitter, according to eBizMBA Rank, there are other channels that could be useful depending on your audience or market.
Other social media sites include:
For example, if your business is involved in selling food or beverage products, you could use Pinterest to your advantage to showcase visually appealing pictures that Pinterest users can repin and share.
If you have innovations that require demonstrations, a media platform like YouTube is essential to show the ins and outs of your products.
3. Keep your audience in mind
These social media sites all have different features to promote your products or services and various consumer demographics that help increase your visibility and grow your customer base.
Keep in mind the characteristics of the users of each of these channels because they may be similar to your own business' target audience. For example, the vast majority of Pinterest users are women and the leading age demographic is 25- to 34-year-olds.
4. Track performance through analytics
The next step is to understand how well your pages are doing through analytics, according to Hoot Suite. Know which metrics to track on your social media accounts, including page views, likes for individual posts and shares.
Through establishing your social media metrics, you are more likely to collect the data you need to improve traffic not only on your pages, but also increase conversion rates, turning leads into customers.
5. Test out strategies and improve
Although your social media campaigns and pages may be successful now, you will need to constantly improve your strategy to sustain growth. Continue to test out your strategies and monitor your social media metrics to ensure your campaign is successful.
And don't forget, there are lots of free tools that can help you manage your social media marketing.