By definition, a small business is any company that employs fewer than 500 employees. While this makes for quite a broad pool of organizations, most small businesses are significantly smaller than this, employing no more than a few dozen employees at most. In fact, firms with under 100 employees make up the majority of small businesses.
The small business world can be a thorough work in and on the business to achieve and grow goals and milestones. Sales, operation, payroll, invoicing, service and satisfaction demands require a ton of time and energy every day. Marketing is something that is squeezed out.
The marketing mix for a small business often covers the essential and the most intimate. These are often referred to as the website or campaigns that generate leads or sales. Those include things like email marketing, SEO, and paid search.
Often, social media is left out of that mix. Social media need not be a massive undertaking or time investment. It also doesn’t have to be a big mystery as to how it could impact the business and fit into the marketing mix.
With these eight tips, you can work smarter and not harder, to develop a social media strategy that makes sense for the resources you have. Finally, it can engage your audience and have a positive effect on your small business.
1. Identify Personas
There are numerous resources that talk about persona development and how it can help you market content and market your small business in an overall way. If you haven’t defined who the target audience is for your products, services, or offer, then you should start here.
If you don’t know where to begin, I recommend you jump to your present Google Analytics account and activate the interest area. Using any working or refined models of specific personas, you can save time and fine tune your messaging and targeting in the social media networks to cast the right-sized net and get specific enough with your content.
2. Know the Customer Journey
We understand the most about what step or two is the best at driving engagement, sales, or leads. That may be a specific marketing channel, a campaign, or even a category of content.
The issue is that many businesses have no 1-touch client journey which results in sales after their first visit. The client journey can be a little hard to get an overview of, but there are methods of looking at what content your audience love before they convert and you can speak with them to see their decisions as to what they think is worthwhile.
3. Track Everything
If you’re finding difficulties with the first two tips, it is likely because you don’t have as much data or information as you’d like. Tracking and measuring are critical for digital marketing.
Without capturing data, you’re just giving it your best guess based on what you know about your industry and the things that work in the offline world.
Make sure that all pages on your site are tracked in Google Analytics. Ensure that all content you are deploying in email, social, and other sources uses UTM tracking parameters so it can be properly categorized in Google Analytics.
4. Use Agile Methods
A great way to test out social and figure out the right types of content frequency of posting, targeting options (for sponsored and ad content), timing, etc., is to perform more frequent, smaller tests.
You probably don’t have time or budget as a small company for a statistically significant sample size, so go all in with a wide range of content and options and see what works before you invest a ton into a single piece of content or single strategy by which you plan on judging the viability of social as a channel.
5. Repurpose Content
You can and should look for ways of exploiting current content and sources as far as possible. If you created a great blog post as part of your SEO strategy, test it on social? If you’re creating content for your email audience, repurpose some of it on social.
By using content in more than one place, you can get a better return on investment for individual pieces of content, plus get more data and see how it performs across various channels.
6. Learn From Your Competition (Other Small Businesses)
When asked how often a company should be posting on social media and what types of content, I can never right away answer the question directly.
The answer is always “it depends.” I don’t have a special best practice number of times to post per week or month. It is all relative to the industry and audience.
Competitors are a great place to look for cues and help. Don’t assume that any or all of your competitors are doing it right.
Do know that you can look externally at their social profiles and see:
How often they post
What days of the week and times of the day they post
How large their follower bases are
What specific types of organic, sponsored, and ad content they post
Whether capturing all of this in a spreadsheet or other format, you can quickly see patterns that emerge in what is working and what isn’t.
7. Plan for Times When You Don’t Have Time
Unplanned situations occur. Something more important will come up. Plan for the times when you don’t have the time and attention now. Build a content calendar and framework. Know who is posting what content and when.
If you can spread the roles around to others and make sure everyone is committed and following the plan and guidelines, you can ensure that the content strategy, implementation in social, and
8. Optimize As You Would in Other Channels
Know that there are going to be some wins as well as some losses. Take an optimization and agile mindset into social like you would in search marketing.
Set a period of time that you want to test, set your strategy, and then optimize through testing.
For ads and sponsored content, you can A/B test
For organic content, you can at least compare and contrast the different pieces of content, messages, types of posts, and see how they perform if you can control enough of the variables. Always be testing!
There are a lot of reasons why social media is not at the top of the priority list in the marketing mix of small businesses. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be effective.
There’s also no reason it should be the biggest investment you make.
Talk to AFROSAGES Today to get you started the right way for Growth and Profitability. Share you thoughts with us in the comments section below.