7 Steps to a Successful Social Strategy
Getting your business off the ground on social media can be a real pain in the (you know what)!
There are so many steps and so much information about the “right” way to do it that it’s hard to even figure out which direction to go. So instead of just throwing out the same old advice, this article is geared for the self-made business owner wearing too many hats that doesn’t have time for the crap and needs someone to get straight to the point. If that sounds like you, then let’s get this show on the road already!
#1 Make a Plan
Like it or not, you can’t just throw out randomness on your pages and expect it to work. You need to have some kind of strategy that you can put into place. It doesn’t have to be super complicated. You just need to have something you can test against later and say it worked or didn’t so you can tweak it and make it better.
Essentially, you need to set a goal that you want to achieve. Do you want to just get your name out there more? Do you want to get people interacting with your business? Do you want to get more customers?
These things translate into measurable actions on social media.
- Getting your name out there = # of viewers on your posts (not necessarily your page)
- Interacting with you more = # of people engaged (likes, shares, comments)
- More customers = # of people clicking to go to your website (where your site can work to convert them to customers)
Each network will call these three metrics different things, but they all show these measurements. For example, when someone shares your post with their friends, Facebook calls it a Share where Twitter calls it a Retweet.
#2 Think About What to Say
When you’re planning what you’re going to put out there, keep in mind that people don’t like salesmen (or saleswomen). They just don’t.
So think about what your prospects and customers find helpful and informative as well as what would entertain them. You’ll need to help them reach a goal, answer a question, or solve a problem instead of shoving sales pitches down their throat if you want their attention.
Your current customers and lost business are great sources of inspiration. What questions do you get when you first talk to a prospect? What do you wish your customers knew about you? What problems cause them to walk in your door?
#3 Pick Your Networks
There are hundreds - literally hundreds - of possible social channels/networks that you can play on. If you’re just getting started, focus on the big 5 networks and see if you can find your audience hanging out there. The big 5 as of the end of 2016 are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Pick 2 or 3 of those that you see your customers spending time on and those will be the ones you start out with. If you can’t find your audience, then just focus on Facebook and LinkedIn to start with and see how that works out for you.
#4 Holiday Hijinx
There are sooooo many holidays in the United States. Take advantage of these to show off your fun side and loosen up a little.
You’ve probably heard this phrase “People buy from people, not from companies.”
This is especially true for small businesses. You and your team are what people buy into. They trust you, rely on you, and will be hurt when you let them down.
Social media is a great way to let them get to know the people behind the brand. If you have office parties, or decorate, or do anything fun, then you can snap pictures and share those out.
#5 Tag Them
Many of the social networks allow you to tag people and companies when you post out on them. Twitter is one of the easiest to get started with if you’re not familiar with tagging.
When you tag someone, it alerts them that they’ve been tagged. Plus on most networks, it will show tagged posts on their timelines as well where their visitors can see it.
So if you’re interacting with someone in a photo or post, tag them so they see it too. This can help you get in front of more people. Just be careful not to get too tag-happy. If you tag someone 50 times in a day on random junk they won’t like you too much for it.
#6 Hack Events
You don’t have to have a booth at expos and conventions to join the conversation. Many of them will have hashtags that they are posting on social media with - especially on Twitter. Conversations about the event will be posted throughout it by visitors, event admins, and vendors.
By posting with the event hashtag, you can join the conversation and get some extra visibility for your business. Just make sure you aren’t putting dumb stuff out there… be relevant and not sales-pitchy with every post.
#7 Get Tools (or Minions)
The hardest part of social media is posting regularly.
Social is more of a long-term strategy that gets more powerful the more you use it. In the beginning, it feels like an enormous waste of time, and you have a ton of other stuff to do, so it is easy to push it to the bottom of your to-do list.
However, an abandoned social page can actually hurt your business. If someone comes to your Facebook page and you haven’t posted anything in 6 months they might think your business is actually closed!
And even worse, if your competitor is actually posting on their page, it’s easy for a prospect to hop over there. If their page looks better than yours and they are posting regularly, you’ll lose them. Likewise, if you don’t have a page and they do and they’re being awesome, you’ll lose them too.
There are tons of tools to help you post regularly, schedule out posts, and post to all of your channels from one location. Some examples are HootSuite, Sendible, and our own Spark Social.+
Will you try any of these?
Please let me know in the comments if you plan on trying to use one of these or if you have anything you think should be on this list.
One of my first jobs was running a cash register in my grandmothers diner. My job was to talk to customers and and to keep everything in my area neat and organized. Now years later those lessons I learned help me in managing client files and projects. Making sure our team is working to help our clients reach their business goals is what drives me everyday.
I am a strong believer that to succeed in life you have to work hard and never let roadblocks stand in your way. You have to read and study but you also have to experience life and all that it can teach you.
My mission is to help clients and our team have the materials and knowledge they need to make every project a success, while making sure to spread some of the information I learn around for others to enjoy.