How to Build an Effective Social Media Strategy in 5 Easy Steps

Social media strategy can seem like a daunting task at first glance. This is especially true for small business owners who have so much more on their plate. The goal of this post is to provide you with 5 easy steps to get you started with growing your online presence. Let’s get started!

1. Identify your social media goals

Prior to making your accounts, or even thinking about posting, identify what your goals are with social media. There can be a few reasons to be active online as a small business. Do you want to attract more customers to your brick & mortar store? Are you looking to simply make your business more well known among the community? The opportunities through social media are nearly infinite, and will vary from user to user. This is where you determine which platforms to use, how to setup your page aesthetic, which accounts to follow, and decide how often you would like to post.

2. Define your audience

After figuring out your “why,” settle on who you need to target to get to those predetermined goals. For example, if you sell wedding dresses it would be obvious to target brides to be. Apply this method of thinking to your own business. If you are already an established business, this online audience will be very similar to your current target market. In this case, simply do some critical thinking about how to find these users online. A way to do this is by creating an example customer persona. Decide things such as what times they will be active, what accounts they follow, which platforms they are active on, etc. Then, apply your findings in order to effectively target your selected audience.

3. Find your social media ‘voice’

Finding your voice on social media can be tricky. It is all about how you want to come across. I like to think of it as the “vibe” of your profile. Voice includes everything from how you interact with your followers to the way your posts are written and edited. This is mostly a trial and error process. You can ask yourself initial questions to figure out how you would like to come across online. Do you want your business to be portrayed as fun and playful? Maybe your industry lends itself towards more of a serious, professional tone. Fast food companies such as Wendy’s and Arby’s have done a very good job finding their social media voice. These companies are often found trolling in their posts and comments, and generate a lot of attention on Twitter specifically for that reason.

4. Study your competitors

Going off of the previous statement, don’t be afraid to observe what other successful accounts are doing and mimic that. Don’t blatantly copy their strategy, but rather use their voice as inspiration and try to draw conclusions about the goals of these accounts. By this step, you have already defined your audience. For that reason, it will be easy to understand the industry you are in and locate the leading companies on social media. Moreover, this requires a certain level of humility to understand that you aren’t the best and may not have it as figured out as other users.

5. Observe Analytics

The last step in building an effective social media strategy requires constant attention and adjustment. That step is to observe the data analytics of your social media platforms. This can be done through the integrated insights on an application like Facebook, or through a third party program such as Hootsuite. A quality social media strategy does not end when you click that publish button. If you observe post analytics, your followers will tell you what they want to see more of, when they want to see it, and how it is easiest consumed (through text, images, or videos).

In conclusion, these steps will get you on the path to establishing a dominant presence online. Like previously mentioned, the best social media strategies are built over time. The most important tip is to just start posting.

 

Written by Zachary Balla, Pennsylvania SBDC Lead Office Marketing Team

Zachary Balla is a graduate assistant at the PA SBDC and current MBA student at Kutztown University. He is from Exeter, Pennsylvania and enjoys reading and playing the piano in his free time.