Formulating a Small Business Social Media Strategy

social-media-strategy
When formulating a strategy understand social media is a fast moving and fluid business

 

By now, businesses of all sizes recognize that they must play in the social media space. There are a myriad of reasons - competition, business objectives, understanding that being “social” is no longer a fad but here to stay. Marketers will spend over $8.3 billion on social media advertising in 2015 and according to a recent study by Salesforce 70% of businesses will increase expenditure on earned or organic (non-paid) social media marketing, no big surprise that social media use is trending upward by small business owners.

This means that if you are not using social media in your marketing mix - you better believe your competitors are. In the recently released report by Salesforce 2015 State of Marketing, the top 3 areas for increased marketing spending are:

  • Social media advertising (70% of marketers)
  • Social media marketing (70% of marketers)
  • Social media engagement (67% of marketers)

If implemented correctly social can even the playing field between the David and Goliath’s of any industry…. in fact small business have a great deal to gain from doing social right. However, a BIG mistake small businesses make is leaving these efforts in the hands of junior people in their organizations. While that may seem like a cost effective method - it’s not the smartest choice, after all, you would not consider sending the same people to a meeting with your top clients.

Sometimes the expectations by small business of what social is meant to accomplish, are slightly out of whack - why? because a social media effort is not a quick hit or a one off, it requires a strategy, takes time, patience and a willingness to be consistent and stay in it for the launch haul…..and unlike direct marketing efforts (which some may compare social media to) it’s more about relationship building over time, not a one night stand.

Social offers businesses an opportunity to humanize, and to connect with your audience, meeting them “socially” where they like to do be. And meeting them on social is important as consumers continue to spend more of their online time on social networks (according to ComScore Inc., the networks claim 20% of daily attention spans).

The first thing to understand is how these social media platforms differ and how to build and engage the right audience on each one through the right messaging - because it’s not a one size fits all kind of thing and having many followers is not always the right thing either.

Building the right social media footprint and following is important, it’s not sufficient to have a Facebook page or twitter handle and post pictures of the latest office happy hour or promotion. If you aren’t leveraging the right platforms to connect with your core audience and creating a broader client base - then you are missing the mark entirely.

Don’t just think about selling, think about listening - yes listening. Too often business people make assumptions about what their customers or potential customers want to hear - and typically they are only partially correct. Don’t assume you know what your clients or potential clients want to hear - “listen” on social platforms and engage in meaningful 2 way conversations.

Think about this - there has been a considerable rise in consumer use of social media for brand comments and complaints, yet only 20% of consumer comments generate a brand responses, with about an 11 hour response time, (eMarketer).

Next page: Find ways in which your business can be more responsive

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About the author

Maria Botta

Maria Botta is the founder of FWD-Action, a digital strategy consultancy, working with small to mid sized businesses, helping to lead clients in the convergence of technology, creativity, entertainment. FWD ACTION allows Botta to continue to do what brings her the most professional and personal satisfaction, “Doing great work that truly matters, with integrity, for those clients who are striving to do good works for the world". Botta is the daughter of Cuban exiles, she was born in the US, and raised in Europe and the Caribbean, she holds an MBA in Global Management from Thunderbird's prestigious European program in Geneva, Switzerland and an Art History degree from Mt. Holyoke College.

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