A Step-by-Step Guide to Developing a Social Media Marketing Strategy For Your Small Business
Small business owners are told almost every day that they no longer have the option of choosing whether or not they include social media as part of their marketing strategy.
That makes sense when you know that 69% of Australian internet users use social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – with 46% of them accessing these sites at least once a day! (Yellow Social Media Report, May 2014)
In this day and age, running a small business without a social media presence is just not viable if you want your business to succeed. So, what does that mean for small business owners?
As a small business owner in 2016, you need to consider which platforms are most appropriate to use in order to promote your business and engage with your target audience; what you’re going to say; and how often you’re going to say it! Below are four (4) steps that you can follow to help prepare your social media marketing strategy and activity calendar.
Step 1: Define your Target Market
Who are you aiming your social media marketing efforts to? Defining your target audience is the first step in creating a social media marketing strategy.
Target markets can be separated by the following aspects:
- Geographical: Their location e.g. Suburb, State, Australia-wide, International etc.
- Demographics / Socioeconomic: Gender, age, income, occupation, education, household size, stage in family life cycle
- Psychographics: Similar attitudes, values and lifestyles e.g. sporting enthusiasts
- Behavioural: Occasions, degree of loyalty
- Product-related: Relationship to a particular product e.g. owners of a motor vehicle
Step 2: Decide on the RIGHT social media platform for YOUR business
Not every social media platform is going to be right for your business. You’ll need to spend a little time researching what platforms are best for your individual business, your products and services, and where the majority of your target market is spending most of their time online. The most common social media platforms used (and how many Australian’s are using them) for business include:
- Facebook (95% of Australian social media users)
- Twitter (19% of Australian social media users)
- Pinterest (12% of Australian social media users)
- Instagram (21% of Australian social media users)
- LinkedIn (24% of Australian social media users)
- Google+ (19% of Australian social media users)
- Tumblr (6% of Australian social media users)
Each social media platform has been developed for a different reason. For instance, Facebook is used by many businesses to engage with their target audience through images; regular status updates about the business or a particular industry as a whole; announce product or service promotions and events; and encourage people to click on links to read blog posts and articles that may be of interest to them.
If you are a visual based company e.g. you sell visually appealing products, then you may want to consider using a platform like Pinterest to showcase your items and link ‘pins’ directly to your store.
Whatever you do, just make sure you consider your target market when deciding on which platforms to use for your business.
Step 3: What are you going to say /do on each platform?
So, now that you’ve decided that Facebook and Pinterest are the best platforms for your business, it’s time to think about how you are going to use each platform – what are you going to say and do?
The easiest way to do this is to start brainstorming some ideas for each platform. Get yourself some paper (I find clearing some space and using butcher’s paper and a few different coloured pens best whenever brainstorming) and write the platform name as the heading on each one e.g. Facebook on one piece, and Pinterest on the other. Then, under each heading, list down all the things that come to mind that you believe will be of interest to your target market.
Another way to help you brainstorm some ideas is to think seasonally e.g. Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn, or around particular days of the year e.g. Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, St Patricks Day, Anzac Day, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas and other Public Holidays – what can you do during these times of year that will engage your audience?
Once you’ve decided what you’re going to use each social media platform for, you can then move onto the next step and start planning when you’re going to use each platform.
Step 4: When are you going to say it?
What days, and times of day, is your target market spending most of their time online? When are you going to get the most engagement out of your followers?
Download our timetable template and highlight what days / times your target market is most likely going to be online. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to post status updates, link to blog posts and upload images at a time in which your target audience has a higher chance of seeing them.
Step 5: Download our social media activity calendar and start filling in the gaps!
We recommend you fill out this calendar no more than three (3) months in advance. That way, you will stay focused and not get too overwhelmed when it comes to social media marketing. It also gives you the chance to make any necessary changes to your strategy along the way – you’ll gain a much better understanding of what posts are engaging your followers (and what posts aren’t) within the first 3 – 6 months of carrying out your plan – allowing you to adjust it to suit your findings in the following three month period.
Download your 3 month social media activity calendar here and get started today!
Need help preparing a social media strategy and activity calendar for your business? Contact Lasso Group to help get you started.