Too often, businesses jump into social media marketing without a social media marketing strategy. If you're one of those people who thinks a couple of random posts a month is going to help sell your product and build your clientele, then go ahead and throw in the towel now. It's going to take more than that.
Social media isn't random. It takes strategy and preparation. As a business using social media, you want to share things that your customers actually want to engage with - a picture of your favorite customer; an update about an exclusive deal they can only get by liking your page; etc.
Your posts are a reflection of your business. They tell your story.
But how do you put all of this into action? How do you come up with the perfect story? It all starts with a strategy. A social media strategy entails choosing your networks wisely, planning your content accordingly, and engaging. (Yes, you need to comment back to your customers.)
Step # 1: Choose Your Social Network(s) Wisely
One of the most important tips I give to clients is to research their audience. We need to know where your audience is and what they're saying about you. Forget that idea that you have to be on every social media network out there. You don't. In fact, your particular audience may only be utilizing two social networks. Choose your social networks wisely. Don't think you have to be on every channel.
There's an old Chinese proverb that says, "The man who chases two rabbits catches neither." The more we add to our plates, the less we accomplish. We waste our efforts because we can't focus. The same goes with social media. You can't be everywhere - and you won't be effective trying. Find out where your audience is and put your focus there.
If you're stuck on how you can find your audience, a good place to start is by researching brands similar to yours. Think about your competitors. Find out what social networks work for them and what type of content is getting the most traction. Of course, I don't mean go and copy your competitors, but it may help inspire you to come up with your own ideas.
Step # 2: Create and utilize a content calendar
In social media we often see brands across multiple channels sharing irrelevant content with no rhyme or reason. This is a huge no-no. You have to think about your audience - they're waiting for you to show them interesting, meaty content. Just "winging it" isn't going to work. Success doesn't happen by accident. A successful social media strategy is a product of proper planning, and it's a habit built by consistent execution.
This is where a social media calendar comes in handy. Choosing your content wisely and prepping in advance will not only keep you organized, but it'll also help you stay efficient and effective. When you plan your content ahead of time, you enable yourself to also schedule content at optimal times, increasing its odds of getting seen. This doesn't mean you can't spontaneously post an amazing off-the-wall idea from time to time. It just helps to have some sort of game plan in place when it comes to posting content.
If you're someone who doesn't have time to plan ahead every detail, at least consider sticking to a daily theme to keep your content consistent. Here are a few ideas to get your wheels rolling.
Ideas for weekly content:
- Monday: Motivation Monday Post a motivational quote that is relevant to your specific audience.
- Tuesday: Tuesday tip Post a tip or a hack about your product or service
- Friday: Funny Friday. Show your customers the fun side of you and your business
Step # 3: Engage and Engage Some More
Once you've established a content game plan, use social media to connect with your customers. Don't be afraid to add people first. If you made a connection at a recent event or had a great conversation with a customer, find them on Facebook. The worst they can do is deny your request.
Once you're connected, make sure you engage with your customers content. "Like" their pictures. Comment on their posts. Make your engagement personal. If you're on Twitter or Instagram, use the search function to seek out conversations about your specific industry. Engage in these conversations and make connections. Get involved in the noise. As you build this rapport, people will want to connect with you because they will see you as a leader in your field.
If you're not sure where to start, take a look at the following networks and how you can leverage each:
- Twitter: Use the search bar to look for relevant conversations related to your industry and #hashtags. Answer questions. Follow other people in your industry.
- Facebook: Join industry related groups. Actively participate in post conversations. Share industry insights. Connect with customers by commenting on their statuses and photos.
- Instagram: Use the search function to look up related hashtags. "Like" other people's pictures, follow other businesses and engage with their pictures.
To a business owner who already has a busy schedule, adding social media marketing to the mix can be a daunting task. If you take the time to do it right, however, it can be hugely rewarding.
This blog was originally posted to www.katelynrhoades.com