Social media is a great equalizer for small businesses. It gives the small store down the street an opportunity to compete with the corporate giant. It can personalize the impact of a business and create enthusiasm around a product or service. While the potential is there, many businesses miss out by not posting consistently or not investing the energy into creating effective posts. These six steps will help you think through the best approach to social media for your small business.
FIRST – Determine your brand and your target market. What are you? Who will buy your product or service? This seems basic, but be sure you know the direction you want to take with your business.
SECOND – Define your goals for social media. Do you want to raise awareness for your product, educate about your product, become an authority for your product, and/or gain relationship with your product?
THIRD – Find the platform your target market follows. If you don’t know, ask! Your customers want to engage with you and find out how you can enhance their lives. Once you have determined the platform to use, explore how others are successfully marketing on that platform. Check out businesses that are similar to yours in different markets. Create your posts for the first three weeks. Depending on the platform, try to post at least two-three times per week.
FOURTH – Measure the success of your posts. Did you see an increase in traffic? If you’re using Facebook, check out the “Insights” tab for helpful analytics. Who is following your posts, how many people are liking and sharing? Look at the times you are posting and how that affected responses.
FIFTH – After measuring – re-evaluate your plan. Follow where you’ve been successful and adjust where you have not been successful. Ask your customers for input. Be sure to use your social media platform to help your customers in all aspects of their lives, not just those that benefit you. Be a good neighbor and share information about community events and initiatives that your audience cares about.
SIXTH – Revisit the fourth and fifth steps every month. Continually measure and re-adjust your plan. Social media is constantly evolving, and your audience changes with it. Be aware of what’s happening and stay current.
One way to stay current is to attend social media groups offered by area business leaders. The East Central ISBDC partners with area business innovators to offer these social media groups: East Central Indiana Social Media Group (meets at Muncie’s Innovation Connector), Anderson Digital Media Circle (meets at Anderson Public Library), Richmond Social (meets at Richmond’s Innovation Center), and Rushville Social Media Roundtable (meets at Rushville’s Economic & Community Development Corp. offices). Find out about a group meeting near you by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter.