Social media is a powerful, yet accessible and inexpensive platform for small and medium businesses to market themselves, promote brand awareness, and keep in touch with their client community. In light of that, it’s no wonder that a whopping 71% of SMBs use social media to market themselves.
Yet many business owners mistakenly confuse accessibility with simplicity, and fail to understand that they need to invest time and knowledge to properly use social media as an effective platform. Without learning the basics and deciding on a defined social media strategy you’ll find yourself posting for the sake of it, with little gain and no long-term success. These simple tips will get you on the path to social media mastery.
1. Get SMART:
The SMART acronym is a great tool to help you keep your eyes on the ball, define your goals and focus your efforts. Your goals need to be:
- Specific: Be clear about what you want to achieve. This will help you track progress and measure success.
- Measurable: Every goal should have a metric that you can track. This will help you stay focused and motivated, meet deadlines and celebrate success when a goal has been reached.
- Attainable: Your goals should be challenging but also realistic and reachable.
- Relevant: Make sure your goals are relevant and understand how they will benefit your business on a larger scale.
- Timely: Every goal needs a timeframe. With a defined due date, you can plan ahead and stay focused more easily.
Need an example? Let’s say you have a Facebook page in the works. You can decide on the number of followers you have after three months of activity or the number of entries to your website from your page. Doing so will help you better understand what needs to be done to achieve your goal.
2. Use the right platforms to reach your audience
Small business owners are at an advantage when it comes to knowing their audience. Many already communicate with customers regularly and have a good sense of what they like or dislike.
Use your knowledge to focus resources on the platforms that your target audience is most exposed to. Not every platform is relevant for every industry or market segment.
The table (below) identifies what works best on each platform:
3. Build a social media calendar
Planning is important. A social media calendar will help you post the right content on the right channels at the right time.
Include important dates, events, and national holidays in your calendar as well as mixed content (video, infographics, and images) that will entertain, educate and inform your audience. Planning your posts will ensure you’re giving yourself time to produce relevant and timely content, and not just posting for the sake of it.
When it comes to posting frequency, every platform has its best practices:
- Facebook: once a day is enough. Don’t overpost as it could lead to customer disengagement.
- Twitter: schedule tweets to go out 1-5 times a day, specifically at times you know your audience is active.
- LinkedIn: share relevant content several times a week. Take into account that video content is proven to be most effective on LinkedIn.
- Instagram: it is recommended for businesses to post 2-3 times weekly on Instagram.
- TikTok: post engaging content at least once a day and a maximum of 3 times a day.
4. Competitive research:
Research your competitors.
- How are they using social media?
- What works for them and what doesn’t when it comes to engaging their audience?
- What engages you when you look at your competitors’ profiles?
While you don’t want to copy what your competitors are doing, you can analyze their social media behavior to pinpoint what to do and what not to do.
5. Build communities:
Spend time establishing a sense of community with your audience. Engage with them. Ask questions, encourage them to share their opinions, preferences, likes, and dislikes. A strong sense of community fortifies brand loyalty.
Learning and applying the basic principles of social media strategy may seem overwhelming at first, but if you invest the time, you can master them. More importantly - it pays off in the long run: Having a solid, clear and measurable social media strategy will help you support your overall business goals, and to make your brand stand out.