As a person who has previously worked in several small businesses who have worked with social media to gain awareness, this article has brought up some awesome points for small businesses that are looking to make an online appearance. However, you must remember that social media is NOT a source of advertising. It is a source of getting information to people that you have ALREADY advertised too and have gotten them to like your page. If you try and advertise solely to your followers, you are only reaching out to the same potential amount of people every time. Social media is a business booster, not a business maker.
STEP ONE: CHOSE YOUR PLATFORM
It’s obvious that Facebook and Twitter are rocking social media, but if your product or service is visual, you may consider Pintrest or Instagram.
Your choice of your social media platform should be based on your business itself. If you have a large image based businesses like a jewelry company or a high end deserts company, you want to use Pintrest, Instagram (now Facebook), and other image based sites. If you are more of an informational site like auto insurance or a gaming company, use a media that is text based and accompany images with your posts.
STEP TWO: DEFINE YOUR GOALS
Consider your overall business and marketing goals. Which of these translates to social media marketing? Create both quantitative and qualitative goals. For example, you may want to “generate six leads per month from social media,” “increase website traffic from Facebook 30%,” or “increase brand awareness.”
What this means is that you do not want to have a random posting schedule. You want to be able to define how many posts per day, week, and even month you want to put out to your medium. These posts should also be apart of an overall strategy to increase exposure and interactivity to those already in your following. Posting at random will do nothing but get your posts over looked, ignored intentionally, or your page being un followed. And based on these goals, you should be able to define specific % goals and user views. While you want to be enthusiastic with your goals, try and be realistic. Having a 300% increase to your viewer base in a small amount of time will not work,
STEP THREE: PLAN YOUR CONTENT CATEGORIES AND TYPES
If you are a PR Consultant, for example, your content categories might include PR tips for small businesses, stories of how big companies handle PR crises in the media, client successes, and “behind the scenes” sneak peeks.
Your content types might include links (to your own blog and outside websites, too), infographics, videos of yourself explaining a hot PR topic, or podcasts interviewing happy clients. Your content types may vary by social media platform, as some are more conducive to certain types of content than others.
In a small business, this is probably the largest and most important thing you can do. Why? Well because in a small business, word of mouth spreads like wild fire. You want to be able to categorize things like PR crises campaign posts, successes and other post types so if something should happen, you can get information regarding the issue out there ASAP! The longer you wait, the larger the potential damage to your reputation OR the exact opposite. If you do something amazing and no one knows about it will weeks later, the message gets degraded.
STEP FOUR: DETERMINE YOUR POSTING FREQUENCY
Do research for the platforms of interest. Create a plan for how often you will post.
This step piggybacks step two. What this means is that you do not want to have a random posting schedule. You want to be able to define how many posts per day, week, and even month you want to put out to your medium. These posts should also be apart of an overall strategy to increase exposure and interactivity to those already in your following. Posting at random will do nothing but get your posts over looked, ignored intentionally, or your page being un followed.
STEP FIVE: CREATE AN EDITORIAL CALENDAR
I suggest creating your own in Microsoft Excel (or Numbers for Mac). You can setup the spreadsheet in a way that makes sense for you. Plan a month in advance, and map out when and what you will post each day on which platforms. This will hold you accountable and help you spend less time on a daily basis, as the work is mapped out for you in advance.
This also piggybacks off Step Two and Step Four. Plan how how much time you want to put towards content creation in posts, how often you want to do this, and how you will analyze the information retrieved.
STEP SIX: WHO WILL EXECUTE THIS?
Do you have time to manage your company’s social media presence in a way that will achieve the goals set? If not, you may need to hire a social media manager.
Do you want to do all of this on your own? Or do you want to hire a third party company or a person to do this intentionally? This is all your choice based on the time you have, the resources you have, the goals you set, and many other factors. Be realistic!! Don’t set goals that will overwhelm you.
Steps Accredited to Stephanie Winans of Social Media Today