You already know that business social media is inevitable. Your small business needs a marketing strategy, but where do you start?
1. State the Objectives
Defining your business objectives is a crucial first step. These objectives need to be concrete and measurable goals; not simplistic aims like ‘trends’ or ‘more likes’. Think about:
a) Why are you getting involved in social media?
b) What will the business gain from this, and what do you want or need it to gain?
Examples of valuable objectives include:
- Increasing sales
- Generating leads
- Building brand awareness
- Driving higher store traffic
- Monitoring customer feedback, testimonials, and/or complaints
- Encouraging engagement with customers and potential customers
- Fundamental marketing (“Getting people to know, like, and trust you.”)
Even though it might not be possible to do this with all your objectives, we recommend setting goals that you can constantly track. Think about the metrics for each one – how will they be measured? See how the current performance compares to the expected results.
2. Market-Defining Story
A successful business knows its target market. Define your potential customers – get a clear picture in your head of who they are. Get to know them, figure out what they want, and help them through your social media. Ask yourself:
a) What are their demographics? E.g. age, gender, education and economic level, etc.
b) What kind of people are they? E.g. students, homeowners, theater-goers, golf players, pizza lovers… there are so many possibilities.
c) What are their current situations, immediate needs, and dreams for the future?
You don’t have to worry about figures or statistics for now – this step will soon lead to credible numbers. Tim Berry expands on this: “The real market isn’t some number, it’s that collection of people. Sure, the number is nice, once you know the people, but first you have to feel like these people actually exist, and the reason to buy exists, and that the people and the reason match up.”
Don’t forget, your social media target isn’t just your customers. It could also be friends and allies (see step 5); people who are interested in what you and your customers are interested in. Your market-defining story will determine your marketing messages, media, tactics, and plans.
3. Compatible Content
This comes directly after step 2 because you’ll need to first define your market, in order to present content that is relevant to them.
Describe the key content that you’ll create and/or curate for your target audience. Curating involves choosing, sharing, and recommending content made by others. This should be useful and interesting information.
This is not the easiest things to do; you’ll need to delve into and sift through a world of information. After that, tailor and offer the content to your market – this is what we call ‘up content’.
Let’s give you an example scenario:
You sell dog-care products, so your target market is pet owners. The best information to create and curate for them would be related to their animals.
a) You could recommend a blog that gives tips on grooming dogs.
b) You could write your own article about how to train a pet.
c) You could upload a cute picture of an animal in a funny situation or position (this is for purely entertainment purposes – post this type of content sparingly).
4. Incompatible Content
A social media business plan should definitely outline the type of content you don’t want to promote (‘down content’). This includes:
- Ideas you disagree with or that are controversial
- Useless and uninteresting information
- Misconceptions and outright lies
This includes any content that doesn’t align with your business’s values and mission. Also, no matter how good it is, don’t promote the content of your competitors. This directs potential clients to them!
Identify your business’s friends, allies, co-marketers, industry experts, brand ambassadors, and potential promoters.
Why? Chances are, if you recommend their content, they’ll recommend you back. This effective interaction between people or businesses is called ‘synergy’.
But don’t forget, it should be genuinely useful and interesting content; not just promotional for the sake of being promotional. And of course, it must be appropriate for your target audience too.
6. Platform Focus
This last stage involves a lot of strategy. What type of content will you post, on which social media site, and why?
Usually, a business should have a presence on around 5 platforms; but at the very least, focus your effort on 1 or 2. Decide which platforms are right or wrong. This decision will also largely depend on what you came up with in step 1 & 2 (your objectives and market).
For example, if you sell artworks, Pinterest is the perfect platform to showcase your paintings. If you want to create or join a community of experts, Google+ is your best option. If you offer consulting or marketing services, a blog and Twitter would be great.
So there you have it. Now you can start your social media business plan. If you’re looking for some ideas, you can check out some templates. Note: If you’re simply trying to incorporate social media into your overall business plan, read this post for some easy tips.
Social media for a small business is not really something you can just jump into ‘for fun’. It needs strategy. Of course, our guide won’t help if you just don’t have the time to manage and monitor your social media. If that’s the case, then why not get someone to do it all for you?
We at HavePresence offer you a personalized Social Media Business Plan. This includes expert assessment of your business SWOT, platform analysis, a content plan, analytics tools, and much, much more. You could get started with us right away.