INspring Growth Business Blog

by Esther Partridge-Warner, Online Media Works
Supporting the growth of SMEs in Worcestershire

In our latest business blog series, Esther, based in Malvern, Worcestershire, writes about the 6 steps to a social media strategy that wins business. Read on to find out more.

 

6 Steps to a Social Media Strategy that Wins Business

Do you worry about your social media?  What to post?  Which platform to use?  Do you know the best time to post to maximise engagement with your target audience? How much time it takes and whether it is worth it?

Worry no more!  In this article I’m going to share with you the easy to follow, 6 step framework that I use all the time in my business, and with the company’s I work with.  It’s tried and tested, plus it wins business.

TOP TIP: If you are a small business, you have an advantage over larger competitors because you can be more agile and respond quickly to the changing needs of your customers. Use social media to listen to what your customers want and need, adapting your proposition if you need to.

 

 “A social media content strategy should be in constant development; changing with the trends and shifting with your engagement levels.”

Kirsty Smith, ContentCal.

 REMEMBER: You are unique and so is your business, there are no rules – do what works for you, not someone else.

 

STEP 1

Firstly, record the numbers for the previous month and see what worked best and resonated most with your target audience.  There’s no point in just posting stuff just because you love it…

Recording your stats doesn’t need to be complicated, an Excel spreadsheet or a table in a Word document will do the job.

Use the analytics in each social media platform to research the best days to post and what times your audience is online.

STEP 2

What will you post?

Think about when you’re on social media, what makes you stop scrolling to actually look and read?
Research the awareness days that are relevant to your business.
Do you have a balance of curated and created content? This means that as well as creating your own posts you will repost or reshare other news that your audience will like. It also positions you as the go-to expert in your industry.

Do your posts cover what your potential customer needs to see at every step of their customer journey, from strangers to engaged fans, to loyal advocates?

TOP TIP: Don’t forget to reuse/recycle older posts too if they are still relevant. You don’t need to create shiny new stuff all the time.

STEP 3

 

Next, decide which social media platform(s) to focus on. You can’t be everywhere!

Also, think about the social networking sites that fill you with a spark of joy and not suck your soul!

Take into consideration the potential lifespan of your posts. Creating a post that could last 18 minutes on Twitter would take you the same amount of time to design and post, as one that lasts 4 months on Pinterest. But where is your customer most likely to see it?

STEP4

Now the fun part! Use a free website such as Canva (similar programmes are available) to create branded templates, so it’s quick and easy to change the photos and swap the text to create all the posts you need for a month. Batching your posts like this saves lots of time and reduces the number of, ‘Aaaaghhhh! What shall I post?’ days. It also ensures consistency of your branding, too.

Next download the posts to your computer or smartphone. Then, create a Word document to plan out the captions and relevant hashtags for each post and check the character/word counts especially if it’s crucial (e.g. Twitter with only 280 characters).

Decide on the call to action for each post and create customised shortened links using a free website such as bit.ly or similar. This means that you can measure how many clicks you get to your content, which helps you next month to decide which posts have driven engagement, so you can do more of the same.

NOTE: Some experts do not advocate using shortened links in your posts because of your audience can’t see where the link is taking them, so it’s a potential security risk. For example, using bit.ly/perfectLinkedInArticle instead of https://onlinemediaworks.co.uk/how-to-create-a-linkedin-article-in-6-easy-steps/ So why not run a poll and ask your customers which they prefer?

STEP 5

Using the data you uncovered in Step 1, plan out when to schedule your social media posts.  I agree that scheduling isn’t always the best way thing to do, but we are small businesses with limited resources and we have other things on our list to do.

TOP TIP: If using Facebook, schedule directly on Facebook, use the Creator Studio to schedule to your business page.

For other platforms I use a great free tool called ContentCal. It’s really easy to use and super visual, so I can see at a glance what I have coming up.  ContentCal are based in the UK and their support is excellent, too. Other tools are available, so check out what works best for you.

TOP TIP: First impressions count just as much (maybe more?) online as in person.  Check everything! Grammar, spellings, hashtags, that your links work etc.

STEP 6

Sit back and relax….. and tick social media off your list!

TOP TIP: Remember to respond daily to comments and feedback on every post, social media is a telephone, not a television!

Maybe add in impromptu posts where you can, maybe a Facebook live if you feel like it?

Consider posting user generated content (UGC) such as a review from a customer or a photo of a product that a fan has posted.

Take photos and video that you know will be useful for the following month to build up your library of assets.

Keep your finger on the social media pulse, checking out what’s new, researching hashtags and continually trying to improve what you do and the way you do it, so you win more business.

 

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR INSPIRING GROWTH CAMPAIGN

Inspiring Growth is a dynamic business support campaign created by Worcestershire Business Central to discover the unique businesses in Worcestershire that have strong growth ambitions, an entrepreneurial spirit, and looking to maximise their opportunities in Worcestershire.

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