This list goes to 11, sorry I love Spinal Tap. You know that “everyone” is online and on mobile constantly reacting and posting to things on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and on and on and on. Is your small business using social media? Are you using it well? To get started, let’s break down what you need to ask in order to get on the optimized path for your social media channels.
- Who is your audience (personas)? Even if you are already on social media, you need to, as a business owner, have a keen understanding of who you are marketing to. Who is the ideal client/customer for you? What is their breakdown: gender, education, age, location? What keywords are they using? Without having an understanding of who you are using social media to talk to, you are not creating what they want. If you are not creating content that is relevant to your audience, then you are not relevant.
- Where is your audience? You should not be on every social media platform just to be on there. You should use the platforms that your audience is using. Go where your audience is!
- If you are using social media already, how is it performing? Do you have any engagement? Are you seeing any growth in followers?
- What is your objective for social media? Brand awareness, Send people to your website? Get them to call you? Go to an event? Donate? Get leads? Be a resource? Depending on what your objective is, you need to keep this in mind for everything you post.
- What is your voice? If you are trying to be a resource, you should have a professional but approachable and friendly tone. What adjectives do you want to describe your brand? Make sure your voice aligns with this.
- Who is doing your social media and what are their responsibilities? It is important to figure out who is doing your social media (one person or many) and what they are responsible for. You can have everyone post, or divide by platforms. It is important to maintain an understanding of who is doing what and make sure that if you have multiple people taking care of your social media that they ensure they are using the same brand voice, as listed in number 5.
- What are the key components of successful posts for each platform? It is crucial to understand how to construct posts that are optimized for each platform. Facebook loves live video, video, and images. Twitter and Instagram likes hashtags and need images, gifs, or Instagram Stories. You need to know what works best for each platform. Putting up hashtags on Facebook will make you either look like you are being rhetorical or you don’t know what you are doing. Using the exact same verbiage, hashtags, and images on all of your channels doesn’t usually work well and will keep your content from being seen by the most people.
- How often will you post? The easiest way to think about this is to think about how often you want your audience to view your social media. If you only post once a week on Facebook, your audience will probably only go to your Facebook once a week. Also, each platform lends itself to different levels of posting. I would post more often on Twitter than Facebook, but I would also post more often on Facebook than on Instagram. You can always schedule posts in advance in order to make sure that you have key posts ready to go on certain days; like thanking your customers on Thanksgiving Day.
- Is my content relevant for my audience? Now that you are ready to post, you know who your audience is, and you know where to find them, are you going to post things that your audience/personas want to see? Do not post just to post. Post with a purpose!
- What will you automate? It can be difficult to manage a lot of social media platforms, but there are tools you can use to automate your posts in order to save time and your post consistency. Try like Hootsuite, Buffer, and Sprout Social to start automating major posts that need to go out on specific days and times. Automation can be very helpful, but remember to make sure your audience realizes that there is a human behind the posts. Do not automate everything. Spontaneous posts can help, especially with breaking news and updates.
- What is your budget for promotions/boosting your posts? Today’s social media platforms want to make money like any other company and are making organic reach (impressions your posts get without you paying for it) harder and harder to get. Are you willing to spend money on digital advertising to make sure certain posts can seen by your audience?
This list could definitely go longer, but it is a starting game plan for taking the steps to get your social media strategy for your business and your audience. Social media should enhance your brand, it should supplement your current efforts with your customer audience.