Having a brilliant business idea, pitching for funding and getting up and running isn’t easy, so if you’ve gotten that far and turned your pipe dream into reality that’s a huge achievement. However, the work doesn’t stop there – the next step is to work out a marketing strategy that will get your product or service known and connect you to new customers while making advocates out of your existing ones. Social media can be the fastest and most cost-effective way for small businesses to do this – but you do need a social media plan to make the most of your posts and ensure that it achieves what you need. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with so many channels and the need to create so much quality content, so start by taking a step back and considering what to tackle first.
Position Your Expertise
Running a small business means competing with more established corporate competitors with deeper pockets, and you’ll need a differentiation strategy in order to stand out. A great way to do this is to position yourself – as a business leader – or your company as the experts on a particular niche topic. Take tips from respected business veterans such as Peter DiTommaso or Mary Barra and find opportunities to share knowledge – that could be authoring white papers, joining LinkedIn Groups and sharing articles, finding slots to become a keynote speaker at events or even mentoring others who are less far down the path than you.
Decide On Your Channels
There are lots of social media platforms out there – but you don’t need to be on every single one. You just need to be where your target audience is. Use data analytics and social listening to understand where your audience gathers and what topics they’re interested in, as well as what they think of you, your competitors and the sector in general. Finding demographic information for the major social networks can help you focus in on the areas where you can achieve the greatest impact.
Create Your Content
A quality content strategy will go far in establishing your offer and getting your name out there. Start by creating a content calendar where you can schedule content out to the right networks – an app like Later can help by letting you prep stuff in advance. Use the Pareto Principle to get the mix of your content right – 80 percent should be to inform, educate and entertain, joining in the conversation, and the remaining 20 percent you can use to promote what you do or make a sales pitch. Quality content is going to help you establish customer relationships, reach out to influencers and team up with other entrepreneurs. Social media channels allow you to talk directly to customers and respond quickly to shifting market demands. Surveys have shown that 93 percent of people who follow small businesses on Twitter plan to make a purchase from them, so these are great leads to nurture. Put the groundwork in and you’re likely to see results quite quickly.