December 9, 2019
Social media strategy tips for small businesses
It’s tough running a small business. The daily requirements of hustling for sales, managing operations, paying and invoicing suppliers, and making sure your customers are happy can take up way too much time and energy. Small business owners and employees often wear a lot of hats and are forced to juggle 10 billion tasks every single day.
Given that there’s always so much on every small business owner’s plate, marketing is not usually seen as a priority. And when a small business owner does decide to spend whatever spare time they have on marketing, only the bare essentials are covered — and usually, those that directly impact the bottom line such as paid search, lead generation, and SEO. In most cases, social media is left out of that mix or is considered only out of a perceived obligation to show the business exists.
The good news is that crafting a social media strategy doesn’t have to be a massive commitment or time investment. In this article, we’ve put together 6 tips for a successful social media strategy that can help you better engage your audience and help your small business grow.
Create buyer personas
First things first. If you haven’t gone through the process of working out who your target audience is, now would be a great time to do so.
Buyer personas sum up core segments of your target audience, helping your team to quickly grasp what makes your customers tick. While defining your target personas can feel like you’re excluding other potential buyers, this process actually brings clarity and focuses you on your target audience — the 80% who have the most to gain from your offerings and are most likely to respond to your social media content.
Using buyer personas can help your small business save time; it can also assist with fine-tuning your messaging and targeting on social media platforms so you can create more personalized messages to engage your audience.
Familiarize yourself with the customer journey
A customer journey map is a powerful way of visualizing the experience your customer will have with your brand. It tells a story of how your customers move through the marketing and sales funnel, giving you the ability to enhance their user experience at every touchpoint. Customer journey mapping helps small business owners address customer pain points and identify new opportunities for social media marketing.
The customer journey can be overwhelming to get a complete hold of, especially if you’re new to the game. However, signing up for a good marketing automation solution such as Autopilot ties everything together and makes the customer journey a lot easier for you to understand thanks to its simple visual canvas design. Using Autopilot will also allow you to gain some visibility into the steps in the funnel that your customers may go through during their decision-making process and identify what content is resonating with your audience.
As a small business owner, you don’t have the time to publish a blog post on your website every single day. Thus, where possible, consider looking for opportunities to leverage existing content and sources. If you’ve published an excellent article on your website’s blog as part of your SEO strategy, why not test it on social? Similarly, if you’ve crafted an email that resulted in high open rates, then why not try creating an abridged version for your next Facebook or LinkedIn post?
Using content in more than one place allows you to get a better ROI for each individual piece of content; this strategy also enables you to see what channels are more effective for certain content pieces.
Seek inspiration from your competition
We’re not saying you should replicate every single thing your competitors do (that may result in getting your business into all sorts of legal trouble). Instead, we’re talking about observing them to find inspiration for content ideas as well as operational cues such as the following:
- How often do they post?
- What days of the week and times of the day are posts scheduled for?
- How many followers do they have?
- What types of organic and sponsored posts do they publish?
- What post formats (for example, videos, interactive polls, images, carousels) garner the highest amount of engagement and reactions?
Sooner or later, you’ll start to see patterns that emerge in what’s working and what you should avoid doing for your own social media accounts.
Measure everything you do
Tracking and measuring are extremely crucial when executing a social media strategy. If you don’t capture data, you’re left making wild guesses on what you should be doing — and that’s a costly mistake to make.
The more you track and measure, the more informed you will be as you’ll be a stronger position to assess the worth of your time and investment into your wider marketing strategy. Ensure that all your pages are tracked, either on Google Analytics or Autopilot’s easy-to-use web tracking feature. When it comes to social media platforms, most will have their own built-in analytics that will help you track key metrics such as likes, shares, and clicks through to your website. Also, consider using UTM parameters — UTM tracking is a cornerstone of analytics and it’s one of the few ways to legitimately prove the ever-elusive ROI of social media.
Test and optimize your social media strategy
In addition to tracking and measuring your social media activities, you should also be testing as you go along. For organic content, consider comparing and contrasting a range of content, messages, post types (for example, image only, video embeds, or long-form copy), and see how they perform under different variables.
For ads and sponsored content, think about AB split testing — it’s an effective way to run an experiment on how elements of your social media ad such as its copy or image may impact its performance. For example, you might have a hunch that including a customer testimonial in your ad will increase its conversion rate but you want to know for sure.
The Autopilot journey below allows you to conduct an AB split test of Facebook Ads but splitting up a list into two Facebook Custom Audiences, which can then be targeted with a variation of the same ad. Once you know which ad has performed the strongest, you can take action by displaying the winning ad to a larger portion of your list.
The road to a successful social media strategy
There are many reasons why social media may not be at the top of your priority list when running a small business. However, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider investing in a social media strategy. And with the tips outlined in this article, you’re on your way to ensuring that strategy is on track for success.