There are very few businesses out there who aren’t employing some kind of social media strategy today. Even if it’s just a Facebook page with a post or two a week, most business owners are aware that if you don’t have a social presence, you’re going to get forgotten in the noise of all those who do.
Unfortunately, if your social media marketing strategy doesn’t have clearly defined goals and measurable objectives, it will most likely end up being a waste of time and money. When properly implemented, your social media marketing plan should establish powerful, emotional relationships with your customers and build stronger brand loyalty than any form of traditional advertising can.
Which Platforms Should I Use?
In developing a social media strategy for business, it’s important to first understand where to focus your efforts. With dozens of popular social media platforms to choose from, it’s easy to get overwhelmed trying to keep up with the latest trends. A word of advice: don’t. Trying to spread your resources across too many channels will dilute your strategy, your efficacy, and your budget. Instead it’s important to first research which platforms your customers are more likely to use.
While Pinterest is an obvious choice for a home décor website, it might not make sense for a plumbing company. Knowing your market and focusing your efforts where your customers spend the most time will maximize your social ROI.
Isn’t It Just Advertising?
Successful social media advertising has blurred the lines of what can be considered an ad. While paying for ads on Facebook is still a great way to extend your reach and bring in new customers, your most successful “ads” will likely not be ads at all. We’ve said it before, content marketing remains king, and it’s imperative that your strategy includes a content marketing plan that aligns with your brand’s messaging and appeals to your target audience. Having a balanced schedule of articles, infographics, videos, and photos (or whatever works best for your business), will foster increased brand loyalty.
How Much Is Enough?
One of the most frequently debated questions in social media is, “How many times a day should I post?” Despite the fact that this has been covered to death, no one is absolutely correct. This number is going to be different from business to business and a successful social media strategy will utilize digital analytics to test what works best. Generally speaking, you should post once a day on each of your platforms and should optimize posting times for the largest engagement.
While posting 4-5 times each day may be right for your business, don’t commit to that level without completing preliminary research. An easy place to begin is to check out a few of the top competitors in your space and see how often they’re posting. Start there and test your way to your ideal frequency.
Can I Manage My Own Social Media?
In a word: yes. Anyone can post some things on Facebook and tweet from time to time. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Social media management may seem like a waste of money to many small businesses on tight budgets, but the reality is that the results you will see with professional social media marketing companies can far outweigh their costs. Social media management is a burgeoning field full of trained, talented people and you need someone in your company who is dedicated solely to making the most of your social media budget.
What’s the Best Social Media Tool?
There are tools to track all of your analytics, to find influencers in your space, and to help you create effective hashtags on twitter. There are tools that can schedule posts and even recycle your older content to keep you at the top of the newsfeed even when you don’t have time to do it yourself. Which tools you use will depend entirely on which platforms your campaign is focused on.
Ultimately there is no one-size-fits all social media strategy, and the key to creating a successful one is to test and retest and use the analytics you have to confirm what works best. The plethora of available analytics data we have means you should know exactly what works and shift away from what doesn’t. Social media management may seem like an optional expenditure, but in today’s increasingly social world, it should be considered an integral part of your marketing strategy.