We’ve all been there.
You begin with the best of intentions; tweeting, posting photos on Instagram, and generally using your businesses’ social media channels to connect with potential clients, engage with your network, and increase visibility of your brand online.
And it works. Your followers increase, your engagement goes up. You’re winning at this, right?
But, then, running your actual business, rather than running your social media channels, gets in the way.
Because your customers are more important than creating bespoke images for Instagram.
That client call takes precedence over tweeting.
It’s OK. Like I said, we’ve all been there.
So how do you get out of that rut and back in the game? How do you make sure your business is visible on social media without jeopardising the time you need to spend on your actual business?
Your first step is to set aside some time to create a small business social media plan that you can easily implement without spending your entire day writing status updates and editing Instagram photos.
Here’s how to do it.
How to create a small business social media plan
The first step is to establish what your company’s goals are, who your target audience is, and who your competitors are. You probably know this already. After all, it’s your business right?
Establish your ‘Why”
Your “why” is the reason your business needs to be on social media in the first place. Are you going to use it primarily to drive traffic to your site or just increase brand awareness? Maybe there’s a specific side of your business you want to use social media to showcase.
Whatever your “why” is, establishing it is important because it will form the basis of everything you share on your social media platforms and also feed into the goals you decided in the research stage.
Choose your platforms
Now that you’ve got a thorough understanding of your target audience and you’ve figured out why your business needs to be on social media, it’s time to establish which social media channels are most effective for reaching your ideal customer.
LinkedIn might be your favourite network, but is that where your customers hang out? You might love spending time on Instagram, but will your target audience engage with your brand there?
Find your tone of voice
The tone of voice you use across social media needs to be consistent.
But, more importantly, it needs to reflect your business. It needs to reflect your brand.
For example, if you’re an online retailer selling quirky gifts, you can afford to be a little more casual than, say, a recruitment agency who’s using social media to find new candidates for their clients.
This is the fun part! Or, at least, I think it’s fun. But that’s because social media management is my job, and I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t at least love it a little bit.
Spoiler alert: I love it a lot.
This part of the plan is all about coming up with ideas on how you can use your chosen social media channels to build your community online.
It’s also about deciding what you’re going to use each social channel for, because your Instagram strategy will look very different to your LinkedIn strategy. And, while you can definitely repurpose content from Facebook and share it on Twitter, you won’t be able to do this on every platform.
Will your Instagram have a theme? Will you use Instagram Stories to give customers a sneak peak behind the scenes of your business? Maybe you could start a Twitter chat to engage with potential customers or use Facebook Live at one of your businesses’ events?
Decide what you’re going to say
It’s tempting to want to jump into social media all guns blazing, but taking the time now to figure out what types of content you’re going to share on a weekly or monthly basis will definitely help you in the long run.
It’s also a great way to ensure that you’re using your social media channels effectively and sharing different types of content equally.
Constantly broadcasting sales messages without engaging with your community or sharing content from other sources that you think they’ll enjoy is not a great way to build a following or increase engagement.
Figure out a schedule
How often will you post updates? Will you post on Instagram once a day but on Twitter three times a day?
Create a calendar
I realise this parts sounds kind of boring. After all, we’ve had so much fun figuring out our tone of voice and being creative, can’t we just jump in head first and get started?
Well, no. Because without a calendar, you’re going to be scrambling around every day to find new things to share, and the whole point of creating a social media plan is to reach your goals and save you time. Content calendars sounds stuffy and boring, but honestly I use them to plan my social media clients’ content every single week. They work.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just a Google Spreadsheet or Excel document will do.
Choose your weapon
And by ‘weapon’ I mean ‘social media management tool’.
The easiest way to save time on social media is to schedule updates using one platform instead of each channel separately, then marking out a few minutes in your diary every morning and afternoon to interact with followers.
While it’s key to have a plan in place, it’s also important to stay flexible, so track what’s working and what’s not and tweak your strategy accordingly.
And there you have it – a guide to creating a small business social media plan!
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