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Building a strategy to build your business on social

Nov 16, 2016

Facebook: 42.1 minutes. Pinterest: 20.8 minutes. Twitter: 17.1 minutes.

That’s how long the average U.S. internet user spends online each day, according to eMarketer. Each day! Add in Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat and LinkedIn and you’ve got a lot of screen time.

Yet only 13 percent of marketers felt they were very effective in measuring their social campaigns, according to The Real Time Report. Not only is that a lot of screen time – it’s potentially a lot of wasted time for businesses trying to connect with internet users.

What’s a small business owner to do? Build a social media strategy to help build your business on social.

What’s in a social media strategy? <Hint: It should feel familiar.>

Just as you would with a business plan, marketing plan or sales strategy, the key to solid social media is setting clear, measurable goals and realistic, timely action steps – or tactics – to achieve those goals.

With social media, the only real difference than with any other planning process is the tools you use.

Where to start?

In building a social media strategy, it’s important to set a baseline for tactical measurement (those likes, follows and shares so popular among marketers) as well as address some of the issues holding you back digitally.

Start by gathering all of your current social media stats – how many likes and follows you have as well as common engagement trends – but then go a step further and ask:

  • What are some of the primary challenges facing your company? How can digital media help you to address those challenges?
  • What do you wish you were doing better on social media? Why is this important to the business?
  • Why aren’t you doing better yet? What’s holding you back?
  • What do you want to change about your social media and why?

Know what you’re trying to say, and trying to achieve.

For a social media strategy, you should build off of your other marketing, sales and communications messages and strive to be consistent across all of your platforms.

In addition to your consistent elevator pitch, you should be able to outline:

  • What is the most important thing you want people to know or understand about your business?
  • Why should people care what you do?
  • What is it you can say or share that is of value to people?

Oh sure, you may get 500 likes on a kitten photo, but if that photo doesn’t help your customers better understand what it is you do, does it matter? In social media, quality is more important than quantity.

And finding that quality means asking yourself and your team:

  • What is it you are trying to achieve through all of your marketing efforts? What role will social media play in helping you to achieve those goals?
  • How will you measure whether or not you’ve been successful in these efforts?

Choose the right channels and get creative

Should your business be on Instagram? Is Pinterest a good vehicle for you?

Each year, the Pew Research Center publishes a fantastic Social Media Update to help you understand who is on each social network and how they’re using it. Let the data guide where you focus your time and efforts.

And then, get creative.

Tactics are what most of us think of when we first think of social media – contests, videos, photos and memes. But make sure those tactics have meaning. Your tactics should directly impact and support your strategic goals. And they should be specific and measurable, with a clear time frame indicated.

Building a social media strategy takes time, but just like anything in business, investing in the infrastructure and strategy now can help save you time – and build your business – in the long run.

 

This post originally ran in SBAM's FOCUS magazine.

Tags: social media, Digital media, social media strategy, small business, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest

Kate Snyder, APR

Kate Snyder, APR

Kate Snyder focuses her head and heart on creating communication that makes our world better for everyone. She is dedicated to uplifting women in business, she’s a passionate advocate for the arts, and she makes it her mission to ensure those without a microphone are heard loud and clear.

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