Social Media Networking for Small Business: Part 4 Develop Your Strategy

Social Media takes time! What is the most effective strategy to make sure you are winning the battle of engaging your audience?

Continuing a series of blogs on Social Media Networking for Small Business! Last month, I presented a webinar for the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership. You can watch it here. In case you’d rather read than watch the webinar, I’ve broken it down into a series of blogs:

For Part 1 – Goals, click here.
For Part 2 – Target Your Audience, click here.
For Part 3 – Find Your Promoters, click here.

Develop Your Social Media Strategy

Once you’ve got your goals and know who you want to target, it is time to figure out when to reach them. Planning your time is key. Aliza Sherman created the following diagram based on a concept by author Beth Kanter. I see no reason to reinvent the wheel and give her full credit. 

If you are anything like me, you are doing the math in your head and coming up with 15-20+ hours per week in just your social media efforts alone! Don’t sweat it. To start, I don’t recommend spending that much time if you are a sole proprietor. If you have a staff, I suggest you divide and conquer.

However, I do like this strategy. You ought to be spending time daily doing the following things: Listening, Promoting and Engaging.

Listening is vital, as you need to know what is being said about you, your competitors and your industry (more on how to respond in Part 6). Make time to do this. Every day.

Promoting is good, but not everywhere. We’ll get in to this more in Part 5, but some platforms, like Twitter and Pinterest, are fine for promoting. You don’t want to do it on Facebook, for example.

Engaging is key. Again, we’ll cover this more in Part 5. However, this is the meat and potatoes of social media. There is low engagement, which is responding to others posts. High engagement is where you start to build your own community.

Once you get those down, you will want to move to Publishing. This is what will take you to the next level. Blogging and Vlogging (video blogging) will present you as an expert in your field and will create an audience which will attract more people.

At this point, you may be a little overwhelmed with handling your social media efforts. Remember when I spoke about saving time Part 1? One way to do this is by using a Social Media Dashboard (SMD). These typically include services for Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn, YouTube, blogs, and more. Not only do these track social mentions, but they will help you create posts/updates across multiple social platforms.

 

Some of the more popular dashboards:

Threadsy

Hootsuite

MediaFunnel

As I mentioned earlier, you want to be updating your audience with new information regularly. I suggest creating a social media editorial calendar, so you have things planned ahead of time.

To download the above, click here: editorial-calendar

Sure, the immediacy of social networking allows you to post up to the minute happenings as they happen but, what do you offer when nothing particularly new or exciting is going on?

By planning ahead, you have topics you will want to cover which tie in with certain events:

  • Special dates for your company (anniversary, employee birthdays, etc.)
  • Events and promotions
  • Announcements: Product releases, employee hires, etc.
  • Reviews

Your Guerrilla Marketer Tip:

Short on ideas to post about? Check out http://holidayinsights.com/ and see what obscure holiday is approaching and put it on your social media calendar to talk about. Restaurant owners, did you know this was National Hamburger Month? Or, National Salad Month, for that matter? (I don’t know how they go together…) How about gift shops, florists, jewelers and bed and breakfasts…? Did you know May was Date your Mate month?

The point is, have fun with your content. Engage your audience with information they will want to share.

Check back soon for Part 5 – Engaging Your Audience.

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