Social media is a very powerful tool when it comes to building a successful business. You can really interact with your target market, grow relationships and encourage peer-to-peer referrals.
Because social media has grown so quickly, many businesses jumped on the social media band wagon to make sure they didn’t miss out. But, they never really took the time to make a plan of attack.
- Why are you using social media to market your business?
- What are you trying to achieve?
- How will you do this?
- How will you measure your success?
When it comes down to it, there isn’t one reason to be on social media -= there are several, and they differ for each business.
While some businesses may be using social media to increase leads, or drive traffic to a website, a new business may simply be trying to build their brand awareness.
Other businesses use social media as an extra way to provide customer service or after sales support.
A well planned social media strategy can help you do several of these things. There is no hard and fast rule about why your business should be using social media. However, there are many things social media can help you to do.
The clearer you are on your main reason or reasons for using social media, the more success you will have.
What Can Social Media Do For Your Business?
Here’s a quick overview of the most common ways social media fits into most businesses:
- Develop relationships
- Generate leads
- Drive traffic to your website
- Create credibility
- Provide social proof
- Build an email list
- Create awareness or your business or brand
- Encourage loyalty
- Increase sales and revenue
- Keep you in control of public comments
- Complement and strengthen your overall marketing strategy
It’s a good idea to choose 3 main reasons your business is using social media. Feel free to choose either from the list above or reasons of your own. For each of these reasons set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely).
Set Your Strategy Guidelines
With any good strategy it is important to set guidelines. When writing these guidelines, don’t just write them for yourself: write them for anyone who could look after your business while you go on holiday.
Imagine all you get to do is hand them this strategy before you get on a plane bound for somewhere sunny and warm. Before you get on that plane, you want to know your business is in good hands and the right things are being posted on your social media sites. Right? The way to do that is to include all the details in your strategy.
You should cover:
- Which platforms will you post on?
- What type of content can you post?
- What can’t you post?
- How often will you post?
- If you create images for posts, which colors and fonts do you use?
- How will you respond to negative feedback?
- Do you use templates? If so, where can they be found?
- What is your company voice on social media?
- What type of posts do you consider spam and delete off your page?
- Which other pages can you share from?
- Do you post regular posts on certain days (e.g.Friday Funny)?
For great tips on what to post and how to configure your content check out Rivka’s “Ultimate Guide to Social Media Content Success”
Who Does What
Once you have worked out the why and how of your social media attack plan, it is important to set roles so everyone knows where they fit into the equation.
Even if you’re a one man show, I still recommend listing all the roles and responsibilities to do with your social media strategy and putting your name next to them. This will make it easier for you to hand over certain tasks if you get more staff later on.
Advertising has become a big part of social media marketing plans. If you are going to use paid advertising, be sure to include these details as part of your strategy:
- Who are you targeting – demographics, behaviors, interests, etc?
- What is your budget?
- What is the purpose of each ad?
- How will you measure the success of the campaign?
How you measure results will differ depending on your goals.
Some tools you could use to measure results include:
- Inbuilt insights in the social media platforms. This can show you increase in likes, followers, shares, subscribers, views, interaction and more.
- Google Analytics. This can show you how many visits you got from social media sites and also how many conversions to sales.
- Your email marketing provider. Whether you use Aweber, Mailchimp or Infusionsoft, you will be to see how many new subscribers you have garnered in a certain period and where they came from.
- Facebook advertising insights. If advertising is a part of your strategy, you can measure your results through the Ads Manager insights.
Return On Investment (ROI)
This is always a tricky one as social media isn’t always a monetary investment. Also depending on your goals, your returns may not be centered around generating sales.
You may be striving for reach, website traffic, leads, form conversions, event sign ups, or online or offline purchases.
Return on investment is different for everyone. You need to look at the results you achieve for your business compared to the time and money you put in to achieve those results.
At the end of the day you need to ask yourself if that ROI is worth it for your business.
Some businesses may be happy to spend 50 cents on a new like or a click through to a website. Another business may be happy to spend $5.00 for the same thing. It totally depends on what the outcome of getting that like or click does for your business.
I was talking to a lady last week who spent $75 on an advertising campaign which resulted in one solid lead. She was happy with this result, as the lifetime value of a client for her is between $10,000 – $15,000.
If you look at her example, spending $75 to make $10,000 is great ROI. However, she would have been losing money.
If you’re thinking “that’s all well and good but I want some hard and fast numbers,” you can check out Jon Loomer’s post “How much should you budget for Facebook Ads?” His tips can be carried across other platforms.
So Now What?
I don’t want you to read this post and go “Yeah, I should put a plan together some day”. I want you to take action and put one together today. Until you have a social media strategy in place, you really are just going round in circles. Clearly defined goals with a strategy in place to achieve them will catapult your social media success.
Do you have a social media attack plan? If so, what difference has it made in your business life? I’m looking forward to your feedback in the comments below.