If you are like many small business owners you’ve probably put very little effort into optimising your social media profiles let alone have the time to cultivate a proper online presence.

That doesn’t mean it’s not worth the effort now.

There are advantages in developing your brand on social media, like improving your customer service, engaging with clients and prospects and building your authority.

And with a social media strategy in place you can drive growth for your business.

Even if you only implement some of these 10 steps you will be standing out and showing up online.

1. choose where to show up

There are thousands of social network platforms on the interwebs but when it comes to your business the best place to be is where your ideal clients are.

Facebook as the largest platform has over 2 billion monthly users aged 14-65+ so ultimately you can expect your audience to be on there at some time during their day.

While LinkedIn was once only referred to as the professional network it’s now used by B2B and B2C B2G and everything in between.

Then there’s Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, SnapChat TicToc and the latest on the circuit is Clubhouse.

You don’t have time to be EVERYWHERE so start with one, do it well before jumping on the next.

TIP. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t claim your url to be prepared.

2. set your goals

Before being active on social media it helps to know just what you want to accomplish by being there. While most people will say their primary goal in being on social media is to make money, your audience is smarter than that and will not be sold to.

With a strong online presence, you can accomplish such things as performing customer service, engaging customers, generating leads, expanding your audience, driving sales, increasing web traffic, gaining valuable insights and feedback, and more.

In order to achieve any measure of success, you must have a goal in mind that you can work toward because from there you will need to create a strategy.

The methods for driving sales, will be different to your approach to improve your customer service offering, so it’s important to know what you want to accomplish.

TIP. Keep it SMART

3. design a social media strategy

Having a goal for improving your online presence is great, but it’s only the beginning. Now you need to come up with a plan to help you get there.

From deciding on the platform and a posting frequency that suits you and your clients to defining clearly your ideal client.

Additionally, you will need to determine the types of content you will need to create or curate to keep your audience educated and entertained.

Implementing your strategy is a dynamic process that is always changing, so its important to monitor your progress and adapt where necessary.

TIP. Make it simple

4. have a content plan

Knowing your audience is essential when it comes to finding success with social media engagement because the interests and needs of your audience will determine the type of content you should be sharing and the way you engage your followers.

Some of the things you should know about your audience include age, location, gender, goals, likes, needs, behaviours, challenges, and pain points.

No matter who your audience is, however, the content you share should always be high quality and relevant, video, images, and other types of visual content are known to be popular among all audiences.

TIP. Have a variety of content

5. use tools

Staying active and present on social media could take up every waking minute of your day. But implementing your social media strategy using your content plan can be made easier with tools to schedule content ahead of time. Posting natively is not always convenient, and using these tools can free up time for you to prioritise engagement. 

TIP. Don’t get caught up in the tech

6. engage with your audience

Although content is supremely important on social media, it’s not enough to just post your content and expect that its done. Social media is about connection and engagement, and that’s the only way you can develop the relationships you want to build and gain the trust of your audience.

Engagement happens in numerous ways. Participating in conversations publicly and privately are a good start. Showing appreciation for clients and sharing their content when appropriate is a great way to engage.  Sharing relevant information that follows the E I E I O formula ensures that you are engaging with clients and followers along all paths of the client journey.

Tip. Be authentic

7. stop the sell sell sell

The practice of social selling is becoming more acceptable, the actual process of using social networks to drive growth is much different from what most people are used to. Instead of using social as an active sales pipeline, it’s recommended to use it as a tool for engagement and communication.

When you provide content that meets the needs of your audience, they are more willing to accept your promotional content.

TIP. Give first with an attitude of gratitude

8. maintain a reliable presence

Followers demand a reliable presence on social media. Dropping a post once a month with nothing in between does not build connection. While each platform has its own algorithm they all rely on the interaction of followers to determine what is “good” content, and if it doesn’t meet the grade it wont be shown to followers.

These platforms want people online ALL THE TIME, that way they can charge more for those that pay for ads. The algorithms need that great content from you to keep people online, and if you are not providing it you get less free air time.

With the right tools, you can minimise the time you’ll have to dedicate to social media, but even still it requires daily time to monitor your channels and respond to questions and conversations.

TIP. Be committed to your plan

9. have a consistent voice

Social media is ideal for brand building and recognition, so it’s important that all posts are in line with your brand and image. This can become a problem if there are multiple people managing your socials, as each person will bring their own personality to their posts. In these cases a well-defined style guide is a must for all to follow.

This also applies across the various platforms you choose to use.

TIP. Keep the message the same

10. monitor the metrics

Your social media goals will determine the metrics that matter to you, and it’s important to measure these to ensure you’re on the right track with your strategy. Keep in mind that the vanity metrics such as Facebook Likes aren’t always an indicator of your success.

For instance, if your goal was to increase traffic to your website, then you would be monitoring Google Analytics for the amount of referral traffic coming from your social networks.

As long as you have set up your profiles as a business, each platform has its own insights to measure the results of your social media strategy, as well as any software/apps you are using to schedule your posts. 

TIP. Monitor. Measure. Manage

Social media use is growing and changing all the time, and every month there are more active users.  Instead of just throwing content out there, it’s a much better strategy to define your goals and audience, use the sites that are right for you and publish content that is relevant.

When you invest the time and effort to grow and develop your online presence you will see results in both your social media engagement and your business bottom line.

If you need assistance in planning a social media strategy that aligns with you and your business, contact Sharon here.