“Our customers know who we are, and they know where to find us.” Sounds familiar?

Having a social media profile your customers can use to engage with your brand is great. Unfortunately, it’s not enough. It takes more than having a profile and publishing sporadically throughout the month to grow your business.

That requires a strategy ― one that positions your brand as a trusted entity in the eyes of your customers and prospects.

“Consumers pay special attention to the messages that establish a meaningful connection by making it feel as if they were speaking to us directly as a customer and as a person. If you’re a small business trying to market on social media, make consistent authenticity a priority! If your brand isn’t oozing personality and looking to create meaningful interactions with your audience on social media, they just won’t trust you.” — Robert Johnson, Founder of Sawinery

But social media can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t have a full-time team of experts at your disposal. With a solid social media strategy, you can plan how to use social media to achieve your business objectives, while meeting your customers’ expectations.

Are you not sure how to create one for your business? This guide will give you the framework and essential elements you need for your social media strategy.

You’ll learn:

  • The value of social media for small businesses
  • Tools you need to execute a successful social media strategy
  • How to create and execute your social media strategy

What Is the Value of Social Media for Small Businesses?

There are 4.55 billion people active on social media worldwide. They aren’t just mindlessly scrolling — they’re making purchases online. Social media helps you reach these users, drive traffic to your business, and generate income.

But there’s more value you can draw from adding social media to your overall strategy. Here’s a quick look at some high-impact benefits social media can add to your business.

Increase Brand Awareness

Social media platforms are a natural place to reach your target audience, plus new and highly targeted prospects. They’re not just connecting with brands they already know. About 83% of Instagram users use the platform to discover new products or services.

Stillhouse Spirits, for instance, ran video ads on Facebook to spread the news about its relaunch. The result: a 17.5-point lift in ad recall — a significant increase in brand awareness for the company.

Stillhouse FB Ad

Establishes Thought Leadership

While the world seems to be clouded by misinformation and mistrust, businesses enjoy a 61% level of trust. People are looking for insights and information — not your latest achievements. There’s no better place to share valuable information than on social media. You can establish your brand as the go-to source for information in your niche and use platforms like LinkedIn to establish thought leadership.

Keeps Your Business Top of Mind

More than half of the world’s population hangs out on social media. Of that, 70% log in at least once per day while 49% check their social pages multiple times per day.

These are opportunities for you to connect with your target audience each time they log in or check their feeds.

Just make sure your posts are informative and entertaining so they’re happy to see your new content. Staying top of mind increases the likelihood of them choosing your product or service when they’re ready to make a purchase.

More Traffic = More Leads

The more you post and advertise on social media, the higher your chances of getting more traffic to your site. As you get more traffic, potential customers get to know more about your business and products, which means you have more sales leads to nurture. For instance, Momentum used Facebook lead ads that allowed people interested in knowing more about their insurance products to learn more about it in a few taps.

They had three goals in mind:

  • Drive online leads from prospective customers into sales
  • Improve overall campaign performance
  • Establish effective practices for long-term success

The lead ads produced 4,264 additional leads, which was 2.4X more annual leads than the previous year.

Boosts Conversions and Sales

Your social pages are critical to your sales funnel. Several things drive social word of mouth for your brand, the main one being recommendations from family and friends.

However, partnering with influencers, as Gymshark did, can increase conversion rates and boost sales for your business. Gymshark hand-picked popular influencers to represent the brand authentically while attracting a new audience for its women’s line.

The result is that their products became best sellers and went viral. It’s common to find Instagram fitness celebrities wearing one of Gymshark’s cult-famous two pieces or leggings — including Melissa Alcantara, Kim Kardashian’s personal trainer.

Instagram Post

What Tools Do Small Businesses Need to Execute a Successful Social Media Strategy?

Great social media doesn’t happen overnight. There’s no magical recipe to it. To execute a successful strategy, stay up to date with the latest practices, trends, and tools.

Are you curious about the latter? Here’s a list of the main ones you’ll need at different stages:

  • Conduct a social audit: You want to know where your business stands as far as your social media marketing is concerned. You can use tools like Creately, Facebook Analytics, or Instagram Insights to conduct a social media audit and find out where you’re at.
  • Understand your audience: Knowing your ideal audience helps you create personas to build targeted campaigns. Tools like Google Trends, BuzzSumo, surveys, or industry reports help at this stage.
  • Set objectives: With smart goals and objectives, you can measure your progress and optimize your strategy in the long run. Use worthwhile key performance indicators (KPIs) like engagement rate, reach, or referral traffic.
  • Choose the best content formats: Creating unique posts for each social network diversifies your content. Tools like Canva, Biteable, Splice, and others create videos, professional graphics, and ensure your content stands out and supports your overall goals.
  • Designate tasks: Distribute tasks between your social media team members wisely. With project management tools like Asana or Trello, you can ensure seamless collaboration and effortless completion of those tasks.
  • Social media management: Some good tools to automate social media management include Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and Buffer.
  • Organize your content: A content calendar tracks all important dates, events, and holidays for easier planning and scheduling your posts.
  • Increase your reach: It’s not enough to post your content. You need to maximize your reach and get more attention. Use boosted posts on Facebook, Rocketlink for link retargeting, or team up with influencers.
  • Analysis and optimization: Figure out what works and what doesn’t to determine if your social media strategy is working. Tools like Social Blade and Sotrender can come in handy at this stage.

How to Create and Execute Your Social Media Strategy

Having a clear social media strategy and workflow gives you tangible results from your social campaigns. Below are the steps to get you started.

Step 1: Set Goals That Align With Your Objectives

Without goals, you can’t measure your success or ROI. The S.M.A.R.T.-er your goals, the more effective it’ll be to execute your strategy. For instance, you can set goals like “Grow our Twitter audience by 20 new followers per week.” Start with three goals and build up as you go.

Step 2: Create Audience Personas

Not knowing your audience is like creating your strategy with blinders on. Personas sharpen your marketing tactics and help you plan how to turn prospects into customers and customers into fans.

Create personas based on characteristics like:

  • Demographics
  • Emotional needs
  • Common buying motivations or objections

Personas provide valuable insights needed to create campaigns that speak to your buyers’ desires and motivations.

Sprout Social
Source: Sprout Social

Step 3: Research Your Competitors

You need to know your competitors, what they do well, or where they struggle. Conducting a competitive analysis helps you:

  • Spot gaps you can fill and set your own targets
  • Know what networks to focus on instead of winning fans from dominant players

You can also use social listening tools to monitor competitors and discover shifts in their social media strategy.

Step 4: Conduct a Social Media Audit

A social media audit assesses the performance of your current social media usage to determine:

  • Whether it works well for you
  • Who connects with you
  • The social sites your target audience uses
  • How you’re doing compared to your competitors

With this information, you get a clear picture of the purpose of your social accounts and plan how to improve results.

Step 5: Decide Which Networks to Focus On

Besides choosing the social networks to use, define your strategy for each channel. For instance, deciding to use:

  • Facebook to acquire customers via paid ads
  • Instagram to engage existing customers
  • Twitter to engage customers, influencers, and media
  • LinkedIn to attract new talent and engage current employees
  • YouTube to provide helpful video content, such as tutorials and product tours, and support customers

Once you have your list of networks, create profiles for each channel, and optimize them using keywords and correctly sized images for each network.

“Don’t blast every media outlet — stick to one. Marketing in smaller, targeted ways works better.” — Anthony Martin, founder of Choice Mutual advises.

Step 6: Create a Content Calendar

A content calendar guides you on:

  • What to share (images, blog posts, and videos)
  • When to share it (dates and times)
  • Which channel to share to for maximum impact

The calendar spaces out your posts so they’re published at optimal times. It also reflects each of the social profiles and their mission.

For instance, if you decide Facebook is for customer acquisition, you can write: 30% of content will drive traffic back to your blog and do the same for each channel.

With a calendar in place, use scheduling tools to set up your posting in advance instead of manually updating your timelines daily.

Step 7: Implement, Track, and Adjust

With everything set, you’re ready to test your social media strategy. You may not get it right on the first try. Continue to experiment to identify what works for your brand and its audience.

That’s where your analytics tools come in to help you see what works and what doesn’t so you can adjust your strategy in real-time.

Are you ready to get started? Then use the steps in this guide to build a social media strategy designed to reach your business goals.

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