Social media might be the secret weapon that you need to gain more local business customers, but social media only works well when it’s done right. At Welcomemat Services we often hear small business owners say that they know they need to be on social media, but they are unsure where to begin! Even the most advanced social media experts will admit that social media can be overwhelming with the amount of platforms and the always changing algorithm. Currently there are 65 million business accounts on Facebook alone, which speaks to how beneficial the platform can be but how do you ensure that you are reaching potential customers? That is the real question, and the truth is, if you want your business to stand out in the noise, you need a playbook.
Creating a winning social media strategy requires detailed preparation and constant evaluation. It may seem intimidating at first, especially since it’s still a fairly new marketing medium that is constantly changing, but don’t let that frighten you! We pulled together a few high-level tips that will help you add a game winning social media playbook to your local marketing strategy.
Understand the Social Media Game
Whether you consider yourself proficient at social media or a beginner, make sure you can talk the talk! These are the terms that you will hear often in the social media community and what they really mean:
Engagement – When a user takes an action on a post or ad. So, engagement could mean a click, like, share, reaction, comment, message or click on a post/ad. Engagement is a key part of social media because it indicates that you are being social and engaging with your users – and consumers are more likely to remember a brand that they interacted with.
Followers – The number of people following a social media account. Your followers are your organic reach, or the number of users that will regularly see your posts. Generally speaking, the higher your followers, the higher your engagement.
Impressions – The number of times an ad or post appears on a screen. It’s important to remember that a user can have more than one impression of your post/ad.
Reach – The number of users that see your post or ad. This metric is tracked by the IP address of the user.
Boosted Post – When you put money behind a post to increase its reach beyond your followers. A boosted post will appear like an organic post and will be a visual on your page.
Ad – For a cost you can create an Ad with a stronger call to action. Ads appear in the user’s news feed and are not permanent posts on your page. In an ad you can offer a download, require a form fill, offer a gift, provide a ‘call now’ link, etc.
Define Your Goals
Social media can make a major positive impact on your business and one of the greatest benefits of the tool is that you can create many different results based on your strategy. But to be successful, you need to know what you want to achieve. Set goals, define milestones, and understand what defines success for you! We find it most helpful at Welcomemat to set goals for our clients by looking at the client’s preferred outcome. Here are some examples of potential social media goals for your small business:
Get more followers
Get lots of engagement
Get names, email addresses, phone numbers, etc. of prospective customers
Get people to call you
Try to focus on one goal at a time and learn how to achieve each one individually before you try to tackle too much at one time. Once you have your goal set you should learn your baseline and set milestones that define success.
Study the Competition
Because social media doesn’t have a streamlined path to success, you can learn a lot about what works and what doesn’t by looking at your competitors’ social media activity. It will also help you see how you can separate your local business from others in your industry.
Know Your Crowd
You need to know who you are talking to on social media. Knowing who your audience is will help you establish two very important things:
The types of content that you should be sharing. If you want your audience to interact with you, you need to know what content is relevant and interesting to them.
The social media platforms that you should be on. There are tons of social media platforms out there, you don’t need to be on all of them. You only need to be where your audience is. Find out which platforms your potential customers are active on and prioritize those.
Design a Content Playbook
Before you go head-first into creating content and running ads, take time to create a content calendar. This can be done by building a spreadsheet that contains the following:
Social media platforms
Links (if needed)
Evaluate Your Performance
Just as we talked about in, Set Local Business Marketing Goals you Will Actually Achieve, track your metrics! Tracking metrics makes you twice as likely to achieve them!
Looking at your social media goals, decide which metrics matter most to you. Use these metrics to assess your performance and constantly adjust your strategy from there. Most social media sites have free analytic features you can use to track your social performance.
Any business owner will tell you, a positive social media presence is essential for all local business’. Many will also tell you that social media is free! Which we know is not true- the time, effort, and strategy that goes into social media planning is valuable time that you as a local business owner don’t always have the time for. If you’re looking for turn-key social media marketing support, be sure to contact Welcomemat Services to learn about our local business marketing options including: small business social media, small business reputation management, and small business email marketing.