What to post? Where to post? What time to post? How often to post? Ahhh! It’s overwhelming.
Whether you want to start from scratch, or optimize what you already have, these 8 steps will get you on track for successfully marketing your small business on social media.
Set some goals
Before you get started post post posting away, you’ll want to make sure you have some attainable, measurable goals. These should be tied to your business objectives.
For example, if a business objective is to grow your client list, your social media goal for a particular platform might be conversions and the metric would be whatever action they take next (clickthru to your website, opt-in to your email list, register for an event, etc.).
Know your audience
If you don’t know who your audience is, you can’t know where they are (which platforms) or what they want from you. Do some research and gather hard data.
If you know that your ideal customer is a Gen-X female with a graduate degree and interests in healthy and wellness, then you can go see where she’s hanging out online, what she’s talking about, and what she needs from your business.
PRO TIP: Once you’ve defined your target audience in detail, seek out other bloggers, brands, or influencers who have practically the same audience, and—as long as your content is relevant and helpful to their followers—ask if they will share your post (and return the favor for them).
Create or optimize your account(s)
Based on your audience research, you have now decided which platforms you will use.
When you’re setting up your profile, follow these basic guidelines. Use the appropriate image sizes for your profile images and banners, taking care to avoid cutting off any important content. Use relevant keywords that your audience is searching for/ already using) in the bio or “about” areas. Add any relevant links (website URL, other social handles, email opt-in page, etc.).
PRO TIP: Out of the box, Instagram only allows you to put one link in your bio, but you can sidestep that limitation by using a free tool like linktree.
PRO TIP: Hootesuite has a video with helpful tips on their YouTube channel. They also have comprehensive setup guides on their website for each social platform.
Decide what you will post
Decide what to post about. What are your people talking about? What do they seem to want or need help with? Where are they struggling that you can offer some expertise?
Unless you’re a straight up movie star or famous influencer, it’s best to post valuable content that is actually helpful to your audience in at least 3 out of every 4 posts. That other 1 post can be sales-focused or promotional (asking them for something, promoting a product, etc.).
PRO TIP: Pay particular attention to the consistency of your brand tone across your content. It should be authentic to you, it should resonate with your people, and it should reflect your brand values.
Build a content calendar
Plan ahead for the week, month or quarter. What topics and themes will you cover?
To make life a little bit easier on yourself, make a habit of repurposing your content. Use different imagery, pull quotes, or variations of copy across your different platforms.
If you’re using Pinterest, you can create several different visual pins that link to the same content, like a blog post or a free download. Test out some different design strategies, catchy titles, and keywords to see which ones are getting the most traction and re-pins from your audience.
Pre-schedule your posts
PRO TIP: While they haven’t yet released 2020 data, Sprout Social has listed the best days and times to post to each platform.
Tend to your flock
A little love goes a long way. Since you won’t be spending all your time trying to squeeze in another post, you can build relationships with your precious flocksters.
Like and respond to comments, answer questions, respond to direct messages, send some love to other users or brands who shared your content, and make some time to repost some of their content as well.
Keep an eye on your metrics
Review the metrics you established in step 1. Analyze the results—what trends you’re seeing, what’s performing well and what isn’t, if your audience’s interests are changing.
Pivot as needed. Algorithms and user behaviors are constantly evolving, so your strategy should, too.
If you’ve already planned ahead for a few weeks and the thought of an overhaul sounds completely overwhelming, try just tweaking about 20% of your upcoming content to be in line with your new strategy and see what you learn from those small changes.