How to create a social media marketing strategy for your small business

How important is social media for your small business? Almost 65% of Canadians are active on one or more social media platforms. In fact, social media has drastically changed the way businesses interact with their customers. When used properly, social media can help you increase brand awareness. It’s also a great way to interact with prospective clients.

So how do you make social media work for your business? In this article we’ll walk you through the basics of:

  • Building a S.M.A.R.T. social media strategy
  • Knowing your audience
  • Engaging with your audience
  • Understanding basic analytics

Be S.M.A.R.T. about your social media strategy

Trying to grow your small business by randomly posting to social media is like trying to bake a cake without a recipe. As with most things, having a plan for your social media marketing will make your efforts more successful. Set goals before you begin and you can track your success and continue to grow.

Make a list of your reasons and goals for using social media, then turn them into SMART goals.

SMART is an acronym that stands for:

  • Specific: Define your goal in clear terms. If you want to get more people to know about your business, figure out what this might look like. For example, maybe you want to gain 10,000 new Instagram followers within one year. This is a lot more tangible than stating that you want to grow your brand awareness.
  • Measurable: Imagine playing a game that nobody knows how to win. Quantify your goals with concrete numbers. This will help you or your staff know whether they’re on track and keep them motivated.
  • Attainable: Setting realistic goals doesn’t mean you can’t dream big. Aim for the top and then build a plan to get there. Remember that achievements are motivating!
  • Relevant: Ask yourself: What is the current social media climate? What apps are people most active on? How does your audience engage with social media? What are the larger conversations happening online? Place your brand within the context of what’s current.
  • Time-Based: A goal without a deadline may never get done. When do you want to gain 10,000 followers on Instagram by? Include this in your goal.

Once you’ve turned your broader goals into S.M.A.R.T. goals, break each one down into steps. Remember to review your goals periodically and adjust the desired outcomes as needed. Now you have a social media strategy!

Who is your audience?

Social media allows you to target and home in on your audience. First, you have to figure out who they are. Once you know who you are marketing to, you can create a strong content marketing strategy that will reach the right people at the right time. The more specific you can be, the better.

Start by getting a clear idea of who you are currently engaging with online. Look at things like:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Income
  • Industry
  • Interests

Then, dive a little deeper into what these demographics are engaging with on social media. Create content in line with this information.

Now that you have a plan for engaging with your existing audience, how will you reach more people? If you have an online business, you can expand by location. If you’re local, you can expand by age, interests, etc.

This is how you build brand awareness and drive new customers to your business.

What are the keys to a successful social media strategy?

Start a conversation. We don’t call it social media for nothing! Get social! The current algorithms favour accounts with high engagement rates, so this is a metric you’ll want to invest some time and energy into.

  • Ask Questions: Design visuals that will draw people in. Write captions that will get them to stay awhile. Ask questions that will encourage your audience to comment.
  • Jump on Bandwagons: Being trendy isn’t reserved for your fashion sense anymore. Look at what topics are trending online and if it’s relevant to your brand, join the conversation.
  • Play Tag: Post photos of happy customers and tag them, which is an easy way to get people to share your content. Encouraging users to tag friends through giveaways and contests is another.
  • Do it for the ‘Gram: Think of creating a product (or space) that’s naturally photogenic. Doing so will result in free advertising courtesy of your customers’ personal social media accounts. Encourage your clients to post photos and videos of your products or services by sharing posts your customers tag you in.

What are analytics and how can they help your small business grow?

Social media analytics are the data from your social media accounts. Analyzing this data can help you understand what is and isn’t working so you can course correct.

Social media success is all about metrics. Each platform will have its own specific set of metrics. The top three broad-spectrum metrics you should pay attention to are:

  • Reach: This is based on your followers and the audiences of anyone who shares your content. You can learn a lot about your customers via this metric.
  • Engagement: This is based on clicks, likes, comments, retweets, reposts, tags, etc. This serves as a tool to help you create content that your audience is more likely to engage with.
  • Acquisition: This allows you to track how many people are visiting your website from each of your social media networks. Knowing this will help you figure out which platforms are worth investing more time and energy into.

Social media is where most people connect with their friends, family, colleagues, and favourite businesses. There are more than 2.3 billion active social media users in the world, making it a necessary part of your small business marketing strategy. With the right tools and a little bit of planning, social media marketing can help boost your business’s success.

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