The first thing to know is that you need a social media strategy.
If you have been burying your head in the sand thinking you can get away without a social media presence, you’re sorely mistaken. Change is inevitable and this is one you need to amalgamate into your business as soon as possible.
You would be forgiven for being overwhelmed by the world of social media, what with Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, LinkedIn, Google plus, Instagram and Pinterest not to mention Tumblr, Flickr, Foursquare and Reddit!
Don't get bogged down before you start. If you follow these three easy steps you’ll have a practical social media strategy in no time.
1. Decide which platforms suit your business
Knowing where your clients hang out is vital to deciding where to exert your social media energy, you don’t need to be on everything!
Therefore, the very first step is being completely clear about who your ideal client is. You can achieve this by narrowing your niche, then you can research which social media platforms they frequent.
So how do you find out where your clients hang out?
They are the best source of information. To do this you can create an online survey with a free tool like Survey Monkey or FluidSurveys and send it to your email list or if you have a face-to-face business ask your clients and record their answers.
2. Create a Social Media Calendar
Once you have decided on the platforms that make sense for your business then you need to decide how often and when you will use them. There have been many articles written about this, here's one with an easy to follow infographic.
The most important thing to remember is that most people are not on social media looking for a sales pitch. They use it for entertainment and information. Your posts should reflect this. Yes it is a marketing tool, but in this instance it should be used to build credibility and loyalty, sales are a by-product.
The best way to create a Social Media Calendar is to create a spreadsheet or table for each month. Information to include is public holidays, special events, international days and other significant happening that relate to your business.
Then you need to set the tone for the month, create a theme. An easy example for December is Christmas so you could focus on giving or acts of kindness or the essence of Christmas spirit and weave it into all of your posts.
Finally, create the posts for each day and time you have decided upon for the month. Most will be able to be entered in advance, others can be added closer to the posting date. You can have the same or similar post across all of your platforms so your message is consistent.
3. Find a Dashboard that suits
Once you have created your calendar; this should be done a week or two prior to the beginning of the corresponding month, you need to schedule the posts. Most people complain they can get lost for hours in the realm of social media and if you don’t have a plan of attack this is a definite possibility.
You will want to find a way to spend a short time scheduling the majority of your posts. The best way to do this is by using a dashboard where all of your platforms are together and you can create your status updates in one convenient place.
Hootsuite is one such dashboard, it is easy to use and is free for up to five profiles so you could have your Facebook page, Twitter account, Google account, Pintrest account and LinkedIn account all in one place.
Then you can schedule posts on the dates and times that suit your business. You can add links or attach graphics as desired.
If you follow these three steps you will have a social media strategy that targets your ideal clients where they hang out and creates a sense of loyalty and integrity.