Most small business owners understand the importance of social media marketing for building brand awareness and engaging with customers. What you may not know is how important it is to make your social media strategy an integrated part of your overall marketing strategy, with goals that are measurable and achievable and a commitment to consistency.
In this post, we’ve put together a social media marketing checklist to help guide small business owners in developing a social media management plan. Follow the steps to get started or, if you’re already set up on social media, keep them in mind as you revisit and refine your plan.
Step 1: Get Set Up
Determine which social channels are best for your business.
- Find out which social media platforms your target audience uses. You don’t have to be present on every social channel out there, and it’s not effective to spend time posting on platforms where your target audience isn’t active.
- While your choices will depend on your industry and business, LinkedIn is a great place to showcase employment opportunities if your business is growing.
Set social media guidelines for your company.
- Social media for business is very different than personal social media use. Focus guidelines around your brand priorities, and the kind of image and voice you want to convey. Avoid the types of social media activities that could disrupt your brand strategy.
Define the person or team responsible for social media management.
- Set clear expectations about posting, scheduling, responding to comments and interactions, following other pages and handles, and sharing third-party content.
- Ensure that the person or team you choose is aware of potential legal issues involved in posting on social media and that they understand they should always be professional and on-brand.
Develop a posting schedule to maintain consistency.
- A social media schedule can be extremely helpful in staying on top of your strategy and maintaining a consistent presence. Your schedule should be flexible and take into account holidays and relevant events for your target audience.
- How often you post will depend on what platforms you use, but daily posting is recommended—even multiple posts per day on sites like Twitter and Facebook, where your content is viewed within constantly changing Newsfeeds.
Offer a consistent brand experience.
- That means including your logo and being consistent with your cover images, bios, and other “About” info across your social media accounts.
- Ensure that you include contact information with a link to your website, phone number, and information about the services you provide (where appropriate).
- However, don’t try to duplicate all the information that can be found on your website. Just provide the essentials visitors need so that they can easily contact you or find more information.
Step 2: Grow Your Followers
Start with who you know!
- Encourage employees to like and follow all company pages and share content with their contacts.
- Send an email to existing customers inviting them to connect with you on social media.
Promote your company’s social presence as part of other marketing efforts.
- Add social media icons to your website, in employee email signatures, and in the footers of marketing content like eBooks and case studies.
- You can even include icons on company business cards (so long as they are accompanied by your handle, e.g., @TwitterName).
- One social account can be used to promote your following on another. For instance, use your Twitter handle to drive traffic to additional or exclusive content on Facebook, or use Twitter and Facebook to promote job postings or longer articles on LinkedIn.
Consider social media advertising.
- Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms offer powerful targeting capabilities for advertisers. Social ads can be a simple, cost-effective way to grow your social following.
Step 3: Be Engaging!
Create content your followers actually want.
- Don’t just add to the clutter or do exactly what your competitors are doing. Customers don’t want to feel like they’re being “sold to,” so tell stories and share helpful, relevant content.
Commit to posting only high-performance, high-quality content.
- Ensure that videos load properly and that you are using high-quality images.
- Provide links to expert content and use a friendly tone that’s clear and direct.
Engage with followers.
- Respond to comments and engage followers in a conversation when appropriate.
- Have personality and put a human face to your brand.
Step 4: Stay Consistent
Keep your content pipeline full.
- It’s important to dedicate time to developing and sticking to your social media strategy. Make sure you’re staying active across your platforms.
Don’t go dark.
- If you stop posting, your followers will forget about you. Don’t let prospects or potential loyal fans find old content on your social media pages.
Bonus Tip: Be Patient
It takes time to grow your social following and to see an impact on your marketing goals. But having a social media presence is no longer optional today. If you’re not on social media, it puts you at an extreme disadvantage, no matter your size. Chances are your competitors are on social media, and more importantly, your customers are there, which makes it well worth the investment.