SMEs have a tough time as it is: the economic hardships of lockdown forced almost half of them to close down, illustrating how vulnerable they really are.
Knowing that, it’s crucial to use every weapon in your arsenal to give your business the edge, and this is where social media becomes a very powerful tool. With a savvy strategy you can use minimum spend to get maximum word of mouth out about you and your services.
Brand awareness via social media platforms is of utmost importance, but everyone always wants to see results before they have a solid social media strategy in place. Unfortunately, this is not how the cookie crumbles. Developing a solid social media strategy takes time, skills, effort and need to be adapted according to your consumers’ behaviour and needs.
A social media marketing plan is a summary of what you plan to do on every social media platform. This means planning in advance and using content to get the best engagement and meet your overall business goals.
According to Likeable Media, a social media agency, “Handling a strong social media presence is an efficient way to build your company’s reputation and showcase your business. By regularly updating your prospects on all the brand and social happenings, they subconsciously start to view your company as an authority.” In other words, if you already have social media platforms set up, use them!
It’s tempting to look at that data and decide to put your brand over all the available social media platforms, but that’s not a strategic use of your resources. In fact, establishing a social media presence doesn’t need to be a daunting task at all, but you do need to know your goals when making use of a specific platform, and you really should be working from a strategy instead of randomly posting and hoping for the best!. A social media manager is a specialist role exactly because they understand the different social media platforms, how best to do paid posts, and how to tweak content so it drives the behaviour you want in the algorithm.
A social media strategy ensures you’re using your resources in a targeted way and, as you’ll soon discover when navigating a Business Account, there’s a lot of detail and nuance that comes into play when it comes to working with an audience and how they interact with your content - not to mention the frequent changes in the algorithm and how that affects your account’s growth and reach. Use our guide to give your business a boost when establishing your brand on social media platforms.
It is important to start out by doing the following:
Set relevant goals and objectives
Before jumping into the deep end and publishing all your information online, it’s important to set realistic goals and objectives. Your goals need to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely (SMART). A good example of a SMART goal would be: Increasing your Twitter followers by 10% at the end of quarter one by posting two tweets per day and promoting one tweet each week. Make sure your SMART goals fit in with your business goals to maximise return on investment.
Identify your target audience
Who would you like to reach on social media? You need to narrow down your target market and identify and answer the following questions:
- Which social media platforms are your audience most likely to be on?
- When would be the ideal time to publish content so your target market receives your brand message?
- What type of content do you need to publish to engage with your target market?
- What is your brand’s tone of voice on social media platforms?
- What message would you like to convey to your selected audience?
Choose your platforms wisely
Social media platforms are constantly changing, and new competitors frequently go “viral” (think of Lockdown’s fave and the now infrequently used Clubhouse) and have a flurry of brands hopping on board hoping to direct some of the traffic their way. Overall, we recommend taking a “wait and see” approach to new platforms and remembering that just existing on the platform isn’t the goal - you want to get engagement and traffic and build a community wherever you are, and that takes time and work.
Here are some of the staid and steady social media platforms which come out tops and we recommend setting up accounts on:
According to Statistic Brain, an online statistics website, Facebook is currently the largest of any social media network with over 1.3 billion active users. Users are not only using this platform to post about their newborns or to brag about an achievement, but are also searching for images and brands to find exactly what they need, when they need it. With Facebook Marketplace, you can also sell products to an active online audience.
Twitter is a social network with the potential to reach a huge amount of people. Actively tweeting and posting engaging content on your Twitter feed means people will start interacting with your brand and become aware of its presence.
LinkedIn has many professional user profiles which can directly be linked to a company. It gives your brand opportunities to engage in professional conversations with people you are linked to. You shouldn’t be afraid to share your ideas and challenge other ideas while commenting and engaging with your audience.
According to Hootsuite: “Instagram is a critically important social network. The photo-sharing app is not only important for retailers, restaurants, or travel companies; as one of the most effective brand-building tools available today, Instagram is increasingly important for every kind of business.” Instagram is a visual platform and with the launch of Instagram shopping, has also become a place for people to discover brands and actually purchase from them while on a discovery journey. Like with most successful purchasing journeys, this removes friction and lets people shop where they are.
An important tip: You do not need to set up an account on every single social media platform, but you need to know where your audience is active and which platform best suits your brand tone and personality to establish the best fit for your brand.
4. Build a relationship
It’s very easy to set up a social media profile, but staying active and engaging with your audience means you need to constantly interact with them and continue to solve their problems. Focus on getting followers who will engage with your brand and increase your ROI by replying to comments, creating engaging content and giving your audience something in return i.e. a give-away, an interesting tip, etc.
5. Develop a social media calendar
Each social media platform has its unique character and best practices, but you will need to take an integrated approach when creating content online. A social media calendar will help you with planning what and when you’d want to publish content and optimising it to the best of your ability. If you’re still unsure of how to develop your social media calendar, this HubSpot blog post will give you some useful and relevant advice.
- Gives your brand increased recognition by syndicating content and increasing your visibility online.
- Improves brand loyalty.
- Gives more opportunities for conversion and higher conversion rates.
Use the following checklist to make sure you’re doing social the right way:
With all the above, you can see that outsourcing this “minor task” to the professionals, like an integrated agency instead of trying to DIY it - will give you much better results. Our team of professionals will help you reach the right people, with the right message in their preferred content format - drawing on years of experience across multiple industries with access to many different tools and technologies that provide in-depth data and reporting insights to help drive continuous growth and improvement
If you're interested in combining your social media and video marketing efforts, take a journey into the world of social media marketing for business by clicking here.
This blog post is part of the DIGITAL ESSENTIAL series:
For the full integrated marketing guide click here.
Social media is becoming an integral player in business today, contact us to help you define your next social strategy focused on results.