Is social media a marketing strategy? It is! It’s so interesting just how many businesses of all sizes have yet to take advantage of this approach to reaping so many benefits. In this post, I’m going to give a brief, actionable method for creating a social media marketing strategy for small business.
See, many businesses that aren’t active on social media still have a marketing strategy. It’s just that they aren’t taking advantage of social to enhance their business results. But the social media impact on marketing strategy can be tremendous when handled well. One of the biggest keys to get the most out of having a brand presence on platforms like Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn is to figure out how to integrate social media into your marketing strategy that you’re already using.
Social Media vs Marketing
It all starts with a plan. And that plan must be based on what you already know about the people you’re looking to attract. So the first step to boosting the effectiveness of your marketing plan using social media is to create a social media action plan.
Creating a social media marketing strategy is a little different than creating a general marketing strategy. For one thing, each of the social platforms operate in a different way and tend to attract a different mix of audiences. Who you target on Facebook, for example, may not be the same for LinkedIn.
But when you’re just starting out as a small business, getting a good understanding of how each social channel works may only come through experience. You have to start somewhere. That’s why I recommend first creating a roadmap social media marketing strategy before approaching your social media marketing by a monthly plan.
Some people in the digital marketing industry consider the type of roadmap I’m referrering to here as a funnel. It’s a visual depiction of how a person who finds your brand on social will interact with your brand as a result of your marketing.
While this may sound simplistic, it’s not as simple as that they will see one of your posts and click through to your website to make a purchase or schedule a call. Instead, it’s about context.
What relationship stage will a person be in when they see your posts? Often, especially if you’re just starting out, those who visit your brand on social will be those who’ve heard about your business from elsewhere and are looking for more information about you.
When building your strategy, you want to take into account the different scenarios and use that information to build your social media marketing plan around posts that speak best to your various potential audience members.
What is a Social Media Marketing Strategy Really?
An organic social media marketing strategy can be very powerful in helping a small business grow, even if they have no following. That following will grow over time with a bit of dedication. Your social media marketing strategy should layout who you want to attract, what you want them to do, why they would be interested and when you’re going to carry out each activity.
The importance of a social media marketing strategy isn’t limited to maintaining your small business’ online presence. It’s also an essential element to your overall operations. You want to make space in your operations to address your brand’s need for this exposure – and that’s even if you’re working with a social media marketing agency or consultant.
No matter how capable the social media marketing service provider you choose may be, you never want to leave your marketing totally up to them. You want to be involved on a regular basis because that’s how you ensure the potency of your brand. Even without being an expert, you should have a basic understanding of how to develop a social media marketing strategy.
Also note that, if you’re planning on using paid advertising to augment your business’ social presence, you should first ensure that your organic social media marketing strategy is complete, functioning and effective. Organic simply means that you’re not paying for exposure. Going strong in organic is where you can really ramp up your social media marketing strategy benefits.
Why Social Media is Best for Marketing
The benefits of learning how to build your social media marketing strategy go beyond strengthening your ability to reach new audiences for your small business. The social media marketing questions you should be asking reveal deeper business insights you can use to improve throughout your operations.
In fact, the first element of a social media marketing strategy is to define your business goals in a way that’s often clearer and more specific than in traditional business planning. This is because a focus on your target audience calls you to look more deeply at the people behind the relationships you want to develop.
For example, a Twitter social media marketing strategy is a bit different than an Instagram social media marketing strategy. Instagram has a flavor that’s more relaxed and more about storytelling whereas Twitter is much about quick wit. The audience you target on each of these platforms will vary.
Creating and Using Various Social Media Marketing Campaign Ideas
Not only is your social strategy different than your overall marketing strategy but you will find yourself using different social media marketing strategies at different times.
Short-term marketing strategies are called campaigns. Switching things up on occasion helps you keep your audience engaged and expand to reach new people. For example, you may decide to use a social media influencer strategy to help your existing efforts get a boost. You may decide to add a social media video strategy to deepen engagement once you get a certain amount of followers.
There’s no limit to the number of great social media marketing strategy ideas you may come up with over time. The key is to commit to one campaign at a time while keeping track of any new ideas that inspiration and experience may bring.
How to improve your social media marketing strategy
Developing a social media marketing strategy is one thing. Optimizing it for the best results it quite another. But don’t be too quick to judge something as not working. On social media especially, sometimes it takes a bit of time to really start seeing some traction.
The general inability to tell if a particular campaign is working while it’s still new only reinforces the importance of commitment and consistently. That doesn’t mean you have to stand by and wait. Use the time while your campaign is running to learn more about how to use your platform of focus to your greatest advantage.
For example, building a presence on Instagram isn’t limited to routine posting. While your scheduled posts are going out you can turn your attention to getting good at Instagram stories or learning how to get more followers through commenting or outreach.
Always look at the analytics for your campaign on a weekly and monthly basis to determine the best posts. When you see that a particular post is a top performer, collect it for reuse. After a while you may notice that your best posts have things in common. Use these observations to improve your skill.
Also, making sure that yours is an integrated social media marketing strategy is a powerful way to boost results. This means you’re not just depending on the platform you post to for your audience, you’re using social media as an element of a larger relationship development strategy.
Is Your Small Business Active on Social Media?
Being active on social media can help you improve your business in many ways. There are many people who use social media to research businesses as a part of their shopping process, whether for goods or services, B2B or B2C and even nationally or locally.
To have an active presence, you have to be posting something. That ‘something’ should be content that goes beyond advertisement-style communications to let your target audience know what your brand is all about and what they can expect should they choose to do business with you. As the leader of your business, this is not a thing that you should let an agency or any third-party develop for you, though you can work with them and let them help guide you. Learn how to create a social media marketing strategy for your small business.