Social media may have begun as a way for friends and family to stay connected, but it has evolved into a way for businesses and brands to grow and connect with their audience. Today, every business must have a social media presence. Along with other tools that companies use to maintain and grow their business, social media should be used as a way to heighten visibility, expand reach, and engage with current and future customers. But as useful as social media is, what works for one business might not work for another. So, before setting up accounts with every platform and diving in headfirst, you should create a social media plan that is tailored to your customers’ needs, habits, and interests.

small business social media

How to Choose a Platform

As you put together a social media strategy, you should start by identifying your audience and finding out which social media channels they use the most. For example, if you own a company that sells kids toys and your audience is young mothers, you should research how that demographic uses social media. If you find out that the vast majority of your audience primarily uses Facebook, then it makes sense to put most of your efforts into Facebook, rather than Twitter or another channel, at least until you’ve identified a need.

How Often Should You Post?

This is a question without a definitive answer because, again, what works for one brand won’t necessarily work for another. Some businesses churn out content very quickly and post frequently with the hope that at least something will stick, but that is a strategy that very rarely works. While it’s beneficial to post frequently, your emphasis should always be on the value of the post so that you can give your followers content that is useful, interesting, and shareable.

Before you start posting, take the time to determine how much worthwhile content you have to share and then schedule when you will post them. Avoid setting a frequency you can’t maintain. You might have some great posts to share, but that doesn’t mean you need to share them all at once. You can always increase the frequency of your posts once you have more content, but if you post frequently for short period of time and then go long stretches without posting anything, you could be perceived as unreliable and disorganized.

What Should You Post?

The success of your social media strategy is largely dependant on the content you post. Since you can’t take a “plug and play” approach with social media, you must post content that is relevant and interesting in order to engage your followers and build a larger audience. What does your audience want to read about? What do they like to learn? What types of things do they like to see? At its core, social media is about sharing - not advertising - so, while you can certainly use your social media channels to advertise services or announce a sale, your primary focus should be on posting content that your audience will be inclined to share. Posts that teach something are shared much more frequently than posts that sell something. The more your followers share your posts, the easier it is to find new followers who, ideally, will turn into new customers.

In addition to finding quality content to post on your own page, you should also identify and engage with strong social influencers (e.g. popular bloggers or individuals with a very large following). If you can capture their interest, they might share your content or post something about your business, which could expose you to a significantly larger audience of potential customers.

Predict. Measure. Repeat.

There is no way to know what social media approach will work for your business until you implement a strategy and test it. Your first social media strategy might not yield significant results. Your second strategy could prove even less fruitful. But the third (or fourth or fifth) social media strategy could grow your business exponentially. So, if you’re not successful at first, try something new, and do that as often as you must to keep your audience engaged and growing.

To see how we execute our Facebook content marketing strategy, head on over to the High Level Marketing Facebook page.