Q. What is it about social media that brings so many small businesses unstuck? A. Not having a social media strategy.
Over the past month, I have fielded a number of phone calls from small business owners asking for help ‘doing’ their social media marketing. As I always do, I continue the conversation by firing off a couple of questions, so I can understand the issues they are facing.
After the generic ‘what are you currently doing?’ and ‘why do you need help?’ garnering equally generic responses (Facebook, posting memes and I want to get more likes), it’s the third question that usually bring them undone. This question asks, so ‘what role is social media playing to support your marketing strategy?’ The sound of chirping crickets tends to follow, filling the silence on the other end of the phone.
From my experience working with small business, both one on one and in training workshops, too many businesses jump head first into social media without thinking about how it should fit under their marketing strategy or without its own social media strategy. As a result, there is no ‘why’ around using social media, and this means there are no goals or metrics around their social media activity. ‘It’s just Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest right?’ ‘It’s just a bit of fun, a way to connect with our community, right?’ Uhm, well it can be, but to be honest, that’s just a waste of time. When it comes to marketing your business, social media can be so much more.
Social media is a relationship with your consumer’s that is initiated by them, they choose to like, follow, tweet or pin you, and as a result, it is a direct line into their lives. Therefore, if social media is used right and with purpose, it can be one of the most powerful tools in your marketing arsenal.
What does a social media strategy look like?
Just like a business or marketing strategy, a social media strategy is about the ‘why’ and ‘what’ that you are trying to achieve by using social media. An important point to remember is that social media is not marketing in itself, social media is a marketing tactic that sits neatly under the promotion P of the marketing mix. Therefore, it is fundamental that your social media strategy aligns with the marketing strategy (which in turn aligns to the business strategy) and will deliver on your achieving your marketing and business objectives.
Examples of social media strategies include:
- Customer Service – do you want to use social media to manage customer queries, complaints, requests and feedback?
- Thought Leadership – do you want to establish your business as a leader in its industry amongst peers and customers?
- Brand Management – do you want to build, develop or reinforce a brand personality?
- Drive Sales – do you want to drive your social media community to your brick and mortar store or online retail environment?
- Data Capture – do you want to use social media to drive back to your website to collect customer data, through newsletter sign-ups or white paper downloads?
- Event Marketing – do you want to drive awareness, ticket sales or manage event day communication through social media?
- Crisis Management – do you want to manage critical information flow around crisis situations?
Understanding the ‘why’ and the ‘what’ around your social media activity with a strategy will not only play an influential role in making sure you select the right platforms, it will also help you develop the best content, target the right market, and most importantly set the right goals to meet your strategic focus. That way you will be able to confidently assess whether your social media activity is working for your business or not.
We can help you develop and manage your social media strategy. Want to find out more? Contact us today, we will be only too happy to help.