Social media can be a great way for small businesses to market themselves without a big budget. When you decide to spend time on your social media marketing efforts, there are a few things you can do to plan ahead. Bring out a calendar and take notes on these tips and you could have your whole year planned out ahead of you.
1. Set Goals
As with any plan you need to start by setting goals. Not just numbers but what you really want to get out of your social media marketing. Do you want to generate traffic, or revenue? Do you want to create a larger following or create more interaction? These goals will ultimately decide how you lay out your plan. It’s okay to have more than one goal and they might even change over time but setting these kinds of larger goals is a great starting point.
2. Look at what other companies are doing
It’s good to think outside the box but sometimes it’s also good to see what your competition or even big brand names have done. Look at what’s worked for them and what hasn’t. See how you can emulate their types of posts.
3. Create “social media” promotions to create more followers
Creating deals on your Save Local Now account that require following your company on social media is a great way to get more followers. With smart phones it is easy for customers to walk in and show that they have done this to receive the promotion. You can also go another step and ask that they share your promotion on their own account. This works especially well with Facebook and Twitter and is easy to set up from your Save Local Now deal creator.
Automatic posting and clicking “like” or “favorite” aren’t good enough sometimes. If a customer decides to interact with you on social media, sometimes it’s nice to leave a comment or engage in a conversation with that customer. One of my personal favorite clothing companies Conversation Pieces has built an entire marketing strategy around interactions and it has definitely made their customer base grow!
5. Up the Ante
Maybe you have time for this and maybe you don’t but eventually you should try to post more than once a day on your social media accounts. Use your research to see what days are best for posting and maybe try to do more posting on those days at first. This can make any small business appear more friendly and create even more brand awareness.
6. Use hashtags
Hashtags might be something that a lot of people use to be funny but a lot of people use it to search for products or even services. Facebook has jumped on the hashtag game but these are more commonly used on Twitter or Instagram
7. Follow back
When a customer follows you on social media, it’s obviously more likely that they will see your posts. If you were to “follow” them as well, there is an even better chance that they will share your content. Imagine that you start following your favorite little cupcake shop on instagram, and then you see that they have started following you back. It’s exciting and you’d probably tell at least 2 friends! It might also be a good idea to follow some other companies or organizations in town. The chamber of commerce is always willing to share your business and other groups or companies might be willing to do the same.
8. Use photos
Sharing photos of you and your coworkers is definitely a great way to show your stripes. It adds a human side to your marketing. Photos could be serious, silly, creative, or show some charity your team might be doing. You can also share pictures of products or satisfied customers (with their permission) but make sure you do include yourself and your team as well.
9. Create Brand Identity
Make sure that across all your social media pages you have a similar message and similar branding. It makes it easier for customers to find you if you have the same profile picture across all platforms plus it creates awareness for your brand. Big companies like Nike and Apple know the power of using a logo at every opportunity and just because you are smaller, doesn’t mean you can’t do the same.
10. Always keep your customers in mind
Ultimately your customers experience is what you want to improve. You should keep your own goals in mind but it’s important to ask yourself what your customers might like or want to see when planning. Take a peak at your social media followers and see that they are into. You can also just create one on one conversations with your customers in person to see what kind of things they might like to see on your social platforms.
These 10 tips are a great way to get started on social media planning. You might not use all platforms but I suggest you try at least one. Get started and see how you can improve and strengthen your companies marketing plan with social media.