How to Create a Social Media Strategy

What’s the strategy behind your social media presence? Are you posting online with a purpose? Chances are, if you are posting without a clear strategy, your business will struggle to get customer engagement, acquire the right customers, and increase sales. Without a clear plan of what you want to accomplish online, you are unlikely to reach your business goals, including financial goals. Also, different social media goals require different sets of action. When planning social media content, you need to ask yourself – is your goal to convert a certain percentage of prospects to sales or is it to build your prospect list? Your social media plan should vary for both purposes. The key is to set realistic expectations, both in timeframe and results, so you are not left frustrated and disappointed by the results.

 

When done correctly, a social media strategy can build brand awareness, grow a mailing list, acquire prospects, retain customers, as well as increase sales.

 

To get the most out of your social media efforts, you need to develop a strategy that answers the following questions:

 

  1. What are your social media goals?

Increasing your followers or likes are not tactical social media goals. These should be considered reach-building efforts, and are important, but should not be the main focus of your social media. Your higher-level goals, such as converting prospects into customers and increasing sales, should be supported by smaller, measurable goals.

Firstly, describe your objectives specific to the results you want. The more specific you are with your goals, the better chance that you will achieve them. For example, instead of writing down, “increase brand awareness,” write down “increase website visitors by 30% in the next two months via a targeted Facebook ad campaign.”

By setting a specific number as an objective, you can then use this number to see if the Facebook ad campaign was successful or if it needs to be tweaked.

When setting an objective, make sure it is realistic. For example, increasing your traffic by 100% may not be realistic and will set you up for disappointment, however growing your website traffic by 30% may be more achievable.

Get specific with your objectives and incorporate a time frame. This makes your goals real and tangible. For example, when running a Facebook ad campaign, you may want to run it for two weeks, measure the results and see if your objectives are closer to (or further from) being reached.

Ensure you have the resources to meet your objectives or you’ll frustrate yourself. This could mean outsourcing someone to monitor your social media campaign. This person would be the one to manage and report on whether or not your social media efforts are meeting the objective.

It is vital to make your goals measurable so that you can track your business’ progress towards each goal. To test how measurable your goal is, ask yourself what it will look like when partially or entirely achieved.

 

  1. What is your content strategy?

Creating quality content to be used across various social media channels is the most important aspect of online marketing success. This may seem like a daunting task, but if you break it down, a blog post can be used as multiple pieces of content across various social media channels. It also helps to increase your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). For example, if you are a brick and mortar store that sells shoes, you can write a blog post on that season’s trends, then promote that post and content across various social media platforms through visual images, videos, links, etc.

When developing a content strategy, think about your brand’s story. There is usually a lot of content available in the story of why we started our businesses, why we are passionate about what we do, the history of our businesses as well as who we are as well as who our employees are.

Content should always be quality and on-brand. Your marketing messages should always be top of mind when posting to your social media channels – that means you should think twice about posting that funny cat video (unless you are a pet store and sell cat-related products).

To keep track of your social media content, create an editorial calendar. An editorial calendar lists the dates you intend to publish a blog post, Facebook posts as well as dates you intend to go Live on Instagram, as well as any other social media content you plan to publish.

 

  1. How do you plan on measuring your results?

It is important to regularly check your analytics to see how your social media campaign is performing. Many social networks have their own analytics tools, including, Facebook Insights that lets you dig more into your audience demographics as well as how many people are seeing your posts, as well actions taken on your posts. Instagram Insights, available for business accounts, let’s you find out when your fans are online, how many are seeing your posts, and post reach. Google Analytics can show you who’s viewing and engaging with your web pages and how they got to your website. 

When looking at the analytics, think about whether or not your posts are reaching the intended audience? If not, it may mean your messaging needs to be changed. Once you’ve analyzed your current campaign, plan to do more of what is working and change what is not working. Remember to make time regularly to measure and analyze your social media efforts.

 

A social media strategy will simplify your online social media presence with a clear and outlined plan. The key to an effective social media presence is creating a community and conversations within the community using on-brand content that is both relevant and interesting. Use social media effectively, and you’ll dramatically ramp up your online audience and with it your prospects and sales! For more information on how Crummy Media Solutions can help your business develop and implement an effective social media strategy, contact us!

 

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5 Tips to Using Instagram for Business

instagrammarketingBefore the existence of smartphones a social network app such as Instagram, which is a visual social platform in which users share pictures and short videos, would not have been such an active social network. Smartphones and other portable digital devices have made sharing visual content easy, less time consuming and a necessity for many small businesses.

Instagram currently has more than 400M active users many of whom could be a part of your target audience, but many small business owners hesitate because they don’t know how to effectively use Instagram for business. Other than making sure you have a smartphone capable of 1) taking quality photos and 2) is able to install and run the Instagram app, here are 5 tips to capitalizing your business’ presence on Instagram:

  • Create a professional profile: As with any social network, your profile is a visitor’s first impression of who you are and what your business is all about. Make sure your profile image represents your brand i.e., your logo or your face and that your username is recognizable i.e., your business name or closest to it depending if another user has that name.Your profile description should also represent your brand and have a call-to-action, such as a link to your website. For example, if you are a shoe store in Carleton Place then you should state that: “CP Shoes is a leader in footwear fashion in Carleton Place since 1984. Visit us at CPshoes.ca”
  • Balance business-related images with more personal images: Loyal followers and those interested in your business niche will likely follow and engage with images from your business, but to attract new followers as well as to create a sense of community, you should share an equal balance of business and personal images. Using the shoe store example, they could easily share images of their latest rain boot arrival, but they could also personalize it by taking a fun picture of him or her self or another staff member wearing the rain boots while standing out in the rain.
  • Mix videos with images: Some followers will prefer images over video and vice versa, so having a nice mix keeps everyone happy. Videos on Instagram are only 15-seconds long, which make them the perfect length for a new-product unveiling or launch, to share a quick tip or to just share something personal such as a beautiful sunrise. Videos help build community by telling your clients you care enough about them to take the time to share brief moments throughout your day.
  • Engage with followers: Pay attention to who is following you and take some time each day or week to click on their profiles. If they live nearby, are a regular client or are in an area of business that is similar to or compliments your own then follow them back and engage with them by liking or commenting on their Instagram posts. This will help build your following and online community.
  • Use hashtags: Hashtags play an important role on Instagram. Not only are hashtags a great way to organize your own posts, but to be found by potential followers. Again, using the shoe store as an example, if they regularly post when a new product arrives in store they could consistently use the hashtag #CPJulyArrivals and every month change the hashtag to coincide with that month’s new arrivals. This way customers could click on that hashtag to see all of the posts pertaining to new arrivals that month without having to scroll through the store’s entire Instagram feed. Similarly by using hashtags used by other footwear stores or manufacturers anyone searching those hashtags will come across their store’s Instagram account increasing their chances of finding new followers.

Like any social network it is important to post on Instagram on a regular basis. If you make Instagram a part of your social media marketing plan remember that building an audience takes time, but while you are building your audience take the time to explore how other like-minded businesses are using Instagram and engage with others – you may be surprised at how fast your Instagram community will grow.

Are you using Instagram for your business now? If so, what type of posts have worked well for you?

 

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