Christmas festivities a distant memory, New Year’s festivities distinctly lacking any memories, it’s likely you’re back in the swing of things and your business is planning, or at least contemplating, what 2017 has in store.
It’s the time of the year when small business owners set aspirational growth goals that propel their business forward in new and exciting directions. We are refreshed and reinvigorated, ready for all the challenges. But, typically, a few niggling headaches from your business ventures in 2015, return. Perhaps one of those little niggles was your social media strategy. You’d set yourself the ambition to regularly post content but you never got round to it, because stuff just gets in the way. And so you find yourself no more advanced in 2017 than you were in 2016. We have a few tips to help you get over that first hurdle and get a really good plan together for 2017.
- Is it right for your business?
We’ve perhaps fallen in to a trap of thinking that every business, no matter what marketplace it operates in, needs a presence on social media in order to generate leads and attract custom. However, it depends if your business can generate a return on the investment of both time and money in social media to make it worthwhile. The easiest way to make that decision is to ask yourself a simple question: are my potential customers using social media? If they are, then it’s likely there is value in your business engaging in it.
- Ensure the foundations are laid correctly
A social marketing strategy should form part of a consistent message about what your business is. If your marketing messages outside of social media are not fit for purpose, any marketing messages you deploy in social media will only exacerbate the disconnect. Your business should focus on core marketing activity such as ensuring that you’re clear about your competition, your USP, and that you have a great customer experience, before getting involved in social media.
- Plan content properly
Randomly posting content is not the way to go. Instead, think through some core topics that relate to your business and generate content or find content about those topics. For example, if you were a restaurant owner it would make sense to create some content about topics such as items on the menu, or special events. Once your business has some core topics, you can create a consistent template for sharing that content, so that your followers become accustomed to seeing information about items on your menu and the special events you have through the year.
- Engage with your followers
Posting good content is just the start of a good social media strategy. It’s equally as important to engage with followers and other businesses on social media. The purpose of social media is to engage. If you treat your social media channels as advertising boards, it’s likely your social media efforts will struggle to attract interest. In practice, that means you should take time to reply to any comments and messages posted on your page, and engage with other businesses. It might not be applicable to engage with competitors, but striking up conversations on social media with other businesses in your sector or your geography can be in your mutual interests to help generate new followers and get your businesses noticed.
- Monitor progress
This can be a little tricky. If your business is employing multiple marketing channels such as TV advertising, radio advertising, magazine advertising, billboards, adwords, SEO website investment, along with your customers spreading a good word about you, throwing social media marketing in to the mix is going to do little to help you decipher exactly which forms of marketing are working best for you. That doesn’t mean there aren’t ways you can track what impact your effort is having on social media. Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms have analytics tools that help you get beneath what is happening on your profiles, and tools such as Bitly and other URL shorterners can help monitor traffic through to your website. Ultimately, it is a combination of marketing activity working together consistently that is going to help attract customers and increase brand reputation. Doing any of the marketing activities in isolation is probably not going to get your name out there in the way you are aspiring for it to in 2017.
If you’re interested in learning more about the power of social media for your business in 2016, get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call through on 01604 779035. Or contact us via our website by clicking here.
Author: Tom Jullings
I work with clients to improve the digital marketing experience they present to their customers – from web design and SEO to outreach marketing and social media.
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