How to Build a Social Media Strategy: The Small Business Way
It has been debated since its inception whether or not social media is or isn’t good for us. The jury is still out on that one but there is one thing that there is no debating when it comes to social media and that’s that social media is good for business. Especially small business!
Social media marketing, whether organic or paid, helps businesses get found, stay relevant, and stand out! But knowing social media is important and know how to handle the importance of social media are two very different things.
Social media strategy is hard! Even for me, and I do this ish for a living!
Social media is constantly changing, new platforms are being released, old platforms are changing rules and regulations, and don’t even get me started on the elusive algorithm.
Today I’m breaking down exactly how to create a winning social media strategy for your small biz, that's way easier than it sounds.
Side note: Keep Perspective
I understand that many of you have never used social media to any great extent. Maybe you use it personally or maybe you’re aware of how it all works but still have never created social media content with professional intention. I feel ya. My now-7-year old daughter is older than more of my social media profiles.
If this is the case, buckle up we have some perspective work to do. You, my dear, are a small business. Please do not compare yourself to large, multi-million dollar accounts. You will have poorer quality photos, less engaging content, and FAR fewer followers. That’s okay.
Other business owners are going to seem like they have it more together than you. They don’t. They are just farther along this particular path than you are. They’ve been here longer. You will get there.
Or maybe they do - statistically, that could be true. But in either case, there is nothing you can do about it, AND someone else doing amazing, even in the same field as you, does not inhibit you from also doing amazing things!
Keep your eye on the prize and let’s get to it!
Social Media Strategy Decision 1: Why?
You are about to make a series of decisions and these decisions are going to define your social media strategy. The first of these questions is why. Why are you getting on social media in the first place?
If your answer is because you’re supposed to - that’s not good enough. You have to figure out why you want to show up and then you hold that little nugget in your heart and never forget it. It is your driving force and the yardstick against which all of your new ideas are measured.
When I first went out on my own with The Clever Catalyst, my main reasons for starting my social media profiles were simple.
First, I needed to be found there. I was brand new. In a highly saturated market and I needed to show up. I have had the pleasure of working very closely with a client for years on online visibility and I understood its importance. That was reason number 1.
Secondly, I was offering social media marketing services so it seemed like an obvious necessity. I was able to showcase that I understood the platform and provide plenty of active examples. In a lot of ways social media - even to this day - works for me as a portfolio.
Social media Strategy Decision 2: Who?
Once you know why you’re getting social - you need to figure out to whom you are speaking. Most small businesses have a pretty good understanding of who their target market is, if you do not it is not a bad idea to define that.
Understanding who you are trying to reach will help you determine a few things:
What platforms to utilize
When to post content for highest engagement
What types of content to create
How often to post content
How to tone your content
As we progress the picture gets more and more clear.
Social Media Strategy Decision 3: Where?
Here is where I may lose some of you. I believe the standard advice in the digital marketing world is to create content for all platforms, to be optimized on all platforms, and to excel on all platforms. I love this idea - but it’s hardly doable.
Rather than posting to all platforms with all the same content you need to decide which platforms you want to post, then figure out what content works best for those platforms.
Then create content for those platforms (cross-posting only when it makes sense) content intentionally designed to reach your who, for your why.
Social Media Strategy Decision 4: When?
This part is not as simple as it sounds. When are you going to post? How often? At what time? What days of the week? Are the scheduled the same for each platform? Or does each have its own?
This is a decision unique to your small business circumstances. How much can you afford to produce? How much time and other non-tangible resources are available for social media?
In the beginning, having one platform with 2 posts per week is not a bad thing. Do not think you need to go from 0 to 100 all at once. There is no shame in slow-rolling your method.
Start with what you can afford and comfortably maintain, as your business grows so too can your social media strategy. This may be your first strategy but it will be far from your last - so don’t put too much pressure on this step.
Social Media Strategy Decision 5: How?
This part is the easiest part, but also the most important. This is not when you skip class, this is when it gets real.
This is when you assign things out, make a plan and get the systems in place. Make sure you create a clear and manageable plan for creating, reviewing, and scheduling your content. Set up a social media scheduler, to eliminate same-day posting and absorb these tasks into the bank of tasks you own as your business.
This is when social media strategy is no longer scary or intimidating it is just another project. In my world, this is when I do a happy dance.
Putting it all together
So really when you think about it, social media strategy is not that hard. It is overwhelming and there are a lot of moving pieces and more trolls and experts than a person could ever care to count - but at the end of the day, it's just a plan. A plan to connect with people on social media for the sake of your business.
The world needs more of us. The smalls. The littles. The intimidated, the non-Kardashians. It needs more mom and pop shops with baller Instagram feed and Etsy sellers that Tweet with vengeance and more of you and your business!
So do us all a favor and care less about how much you will screw up - cause no matter how good you are, you will - and focus instead on how much fun it could be! Because real talk, y’all the only reason why social media influencers have all the power is because they don’t have to share. Take your seat at the table, and they will!