Many businesses find social media overwhelming - there are so many networks available, and they’re always adding new features for you to learn and integrate into your plan. If you don’t have a full-time team of social media experts at your disposal, your success depends on creating a simple and sensible strategy that fits your resources and goals.
Here are a few steps you can take to focus your energy:
1) Define your target audience
If you haven’t already identified and documented your buyer personas, start by defining the key demographics of the audience you’re trying to reach - age, gender, occupation, income, hobbies and interests, etc. Think about the challenges they’re faced with, and what problems they’re trying to solve on daily basis. Try to focus on the 3-4 types of people that represent the majority of your buyers - don’t get hung up on all the exceptions, or you’ll never get started!
2) Start blogging
Fresh content is the linchpin of a successful social strategy, so you’ll need to commit to creating fresh, quality content on a consistent basis. Brainstorm a list of the most common questions you hear from your prospects, and commit to writing at least one new blog post a week focused on addressing these questions.
3) Create educational content
Consider creating downloadable content like ebooks, checklists, videos, and infographics that address your buyer’s pains. If the content is truly helpful and educational, people will be more likely to share it on social media and extend your reach.
4) Focus on a few key social channels
Most small businesses don’t have the bandwidth to establish and sustain a great social media presence on more than a handful of channels. It can also be overwhelming to learn the rules of engagement on a bunch of different networks at one time. Start small. Research key networks to learn where your target audience is most likely to spend time, and focus your effort on building, nurturing, and sustaining a community there before moving on to another channel.
5) Develop a recipe card to guide you
Social media isn’t an exact science, so you need to establish a consistent posting and engagement schedule to start seeing results. Start by developing a reasonable recipe card you feel comfortable sticking to. Set goals for how frequently you'll post content and engage your followers, and hold yourself accountable to following your recipe. (Get a free social media content calendar here to organize your efforts.)
6) Measure your results
There are a million things you can track related to social media, so start by looking at how much traffic is being driven to your website or blog from social media. Watch your posts to see what people are responding to, and look for trends related to particular topics or keywords that generate more interest than others. Once you have a sense of what's possible, set goals for key metrics and start keeping a scorecard to measure your progress. Be sure to chose metrics that are easy to gather - if it's too time-consuming to track, you'll fall off the wagon!
- Net new fans and followers
- # of interactions
- Visits to your site from social
7) Adjust your tactics
Unless you're a celebrity, social media doesn't start working overnight. It takes time to build a following, establish yourself as an influencer, and start seeing results. You'll need to experiment a bit to find the right combination of channels, content, and messaging that works for your audience. Over time, you’ll be able to adjust your recipe card, content, and personas based on the information you’re gathering - which will help you fine tune your strategy and generate more consistent results!
Still overwhelmed? Try using the Whole Brain Group’s handy Sensible Social Media Checklist for Businesses - newly updated for 2016 - to get yourself organized.