The adoption and use of social media by consumers is forcing small businesses to start reaching customers and prospects socially. The question many small business owners ask is, "How do I get started?"
Here is a 4 step strategy to assist a small business in getting started with social media.
1. Define Your Goals
What are you hoping to accomplish with social media? There can be more than one goal. For instance, one goal may be to expand your reach and get new customers from social media. Another goal may be to provide an additional means of customer service, and a third goal could be to increase your company/brand awareness.
Be realistic! Companies that over commit end up not accomplishing anything. One idea is to start small by offering a social media only promotion and aiming for a specific number of 10-12 persons that act on the deal. This is specific and manageable.
2. Define Your Audience
Who are you going to try to reach? Be specific about a demographic. Perhaps outline desired customer types such as females ages 22-40 within a 30 minute radius of zip code 46526 that work full time. Defining who you are trying to reach assists with what type of social networks to be on. As a general rule, Facebook is going to be a good place if your business is trying to reach a teen through adult demographic because Facebook has simply been adopted like no other social media platform ever. However, Twitter may not be the place for your business if you are trying to reach older adults who are less tech savvy. At the same time, Pinterest may be an ideal social network for your business if you are trying to reach a female audience interested in style who is between the ages of 25-38.
3. Define Success Metrics
What will you track and how will you determine success? Is gaining 1000 Likes on your Facebook Page the end goal? Having a large follower base does help increase your potential reach but if your engagement level with them is low, this means they are not paying attention to your posts, so is that success? Metrics vary by social platform so it would be important to spend some time identifying what metrics each can offer and how this relates to your goals.
4. Execute. Review. Revise. Execute.
Get started! Create a Facebook Page for your business at www.facebook.com/pages, and create a Twitter and Pinterest account for your company if those are your target social networks. Social media is about being social, so plan ahead posts you want to make over the next 3-4 weeks. Often companies find startup success by planning 1-2 posts five days a week and then adding in 1-3 more that are not planned but more "spur of the moment relevant" posts. Also, post or plan posts to go out at times when your audience is most likely to be on the network. As well, look for synergies. Posting a new product image to a company Facebook Page and also to Pinterest is efficient as it is the same image simply posted to two different services. Review after 3-4 weeks, make adjustments and forge ahead. Do this for 6-8 weeks and, if possible, then have a colleague, friend, or outside consultant review your efforts. This outside perspective can be tremendously valuable to help you make adjustments that can maximize your future efforts.
Tech savvy consumers are here to stay! Take time to develop a plan to reach them and grow your business!