By now it’s no secret: For businesses to thrive in this busy, high-speed world we live in, they need to be on social media. If you’re a business owner, it’s likely you’ve already created a Facebook page or set up a Twitter account. Here’s a question – and answer honestly – before you created that social media presence, did you create a social media plan?
Whether you’re starting a new business or you want to revisit your social media strategy, here are five must-have pieces for your company’s social media plan.
1. Focus on the networks that are RIGHT for you
There’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest…and those are just the big-name networks. If you tried to create a presence on all of these networks while running a business, you would go mad! The good news is, your business does not need to be on every social media network. Pick only the ones that make the most sense for your company and customers (and you can pick more than one).
- What does your company do?
- Will your services appeal to the general public or just a specific group of people?
- Do you want to engage with other businesses or with consumers?
- Does your work produce strong, captivating visuals?
Think about your target audience, research which networks are most popular for them and start there. Which brings me to my next point…
2. Define your target audience
You may think your preferred customer base is everyone, but there’s a good chance you can narrow it down. Who would really benefit from knowing about your company?
Make a list of the key characteristics of your perfect customer. Think about their age, gender, online habits, stage of life, families, hobbies, careers…any defining qualities that would draw them to your business. This is your target audience. Creating this group will not only help you choose which networks to use, but also how to speak to them on your accounts.
In terms of speaking to your audience…
3. Outline what you want to say
Now that you’ve decided who you want to reach (audience) and how you’re going to reach them (network), develop a plan for what you want to say to them. Some days it’s easy to come up with the perfect posts on the spot, and some days it’s more of a struggle. A breakdown of key topics to share on a regular basis can help get the creative juices flowing.
- Come up with weekly themes such as Savings Saturday or that you will always share business tips on Wednesdays. Your themes don’t always need to have official names, but that way you know every week, you will be posting something specific to that topic on that day.
- Create monthly calendars of important dates, both inside and outside of the company. This will help you keep track of special deals, milestones, holidays and seasons that you can create content around.
- Make a list of all hashtags that are pertinent to your business. Not only does this give you content ideas, but you’ll know any time you use one of those words you should include the # sign in front of it. This will allow other users to discover your content and your accounts.
When you’ve come up with your list of hashtags, take them to the networks to see how effective they will be. How popular are they? What relevant hashtags are businesses like yours and other social influencers using? This list will always be evolving, so continue to add and subtract hashtags as needed.
Speaking of social influencers…
4. Find social influencers and follow them
One of the best ways to have your accounts discovered is to use them to connect with others. Opinion leaders in your industry, other organizations you have partnered with or hope to in the future, news outlets and reporters, even your competitors – these are all people your business should find and engage with on social media.
Side note: You don’t have to engage with your competitors, but it never hurts to keep an eye on them.
Not sure how to find these influencers? You may not have specific platforms to help you with this, like we do as a PR firm. So, do a Google search of social media influencers and bloggers in your industry, there may be articles out there with this very information. Search for appropriate hashtags on Twitter and browse who’s using them. Find the influencers you do know about and see who they are connected with. Just like your list of hashtags, this list will constantly change.
Last but not least…
5. Create a posting schedule
If you find it hard to make the time for posting on your social accounts, create a posting schedule. Appoint time each day for posting and set reminders or block out this time as a meeting on your calendar. That way you’ll never miss it. And if another responsibility bumps it, be sure to reschedule.
Social media never sleeps. Your company may have business hours but your social presence does not. To be effective, your posting schedule should include off hours (early morning and late evening) and weekends. Take advantage of the scheduling features on networks like Facebook, or use one of the many handy scheduling tools out there. That way your content can reach your followers even when you’re out of the office.
One more for good measure…
6. Get ready to boost your content
There is so much chatter on social media, it can be hard for your business’ posts to be seen. Give them a boost by putting some cash behind them. It doesn’t need to be a lot – on Facebook you can pay $15 and still have your post delivered to hundreds more people – every little bit helps. Prepare for this by including it in your overall social media plan.
Outline your target audience for your boosted posts (which should be easy since you did this already) and determine which types of posts you want to promote. I recommend any exciting news coverage, big company announcements, blog posts and other thought leadership content and new products or services. Making these decisions ahead of time will make the boosting process a breeze.
Do you have certain steps you like to do when building a social media presence? Share them in the comments below.