Just over ten years ago, small business owners still questioned whether a website was a necessary part of their marketing strategy. Five years later, social media became the new strategy up for debate. Today, it’s no longer a question. If you’re a small business owner, you know that social media is critical for growing your brand and reaching your key business goals.
Everything you do with social media as a small business owner should ladder up to your business objectives and business plan. Think: driving people to your website, increasing brand awareness, engaging with brand advocates and converting leads into sales. A strong social media strategy will bring new customers to your website and deliver hundreds of potential customers to your virtual door for as little as $50 a week.
But before you dive head first into posting updates on Facebook and tweeting on Twitter, the following key components of a sustainable social media game plan must be thoughtfully considered:
- Written Social Strategy: carve out the time to brainstorm and write out a social media strategy that aligns with your business goals and guides your content decisions.
- Ongoing Content Schedule: get organized and craft up a timely social media plan and ongoing schedule that tells you when and what to post on each social account.
- Key Social Assets: create a list of ongoing photo and video needs that will allow you to share messages that resonate with your target audience. Stock photo websites like deathtothestockphoto.com are inexpensive sources of high-quality content that help to capture visually the essence of what you want to convey.
- One Capable Human: whether this is you or an employee on your team, find someone you can count on to execute the above on a consistent, ongoing basis.
If you choose to manage social media yourself, you should expect to spend at least one hour per week curating and cultivating each account (i.e. one hour each on Twitter and Facebook). If your time is limited, focus on just one or two social media accounts where the majority of your target audience spends their time.
In Canmore, our average business client entering the social media marketplace is 45-55 years old. They have been business owners for awhile and have since developed a successful business model. They have seen how social media marketing has evolved, have realized its importance, yet have no interest or time to manage the accounts themselves.
If you fit into this demographic and struggle to identify with a social media strategy, it may help you to think of social media like networking. Ask yourself this: would you arrive at a party packed with strangers and begin sharing with everyone your achievements or spouting sales pitches? Probably not. Because if you do, you will find yourself alone eating nachos at the appies table. Approach social media with the same rules; listen first, have a conversation and be helpful. In a nutshell, be human, be you.
Here’s a sample of four of our favourite brands across different industries in the Bow Valley being human (might as well learn from the best!):
- Rocky Mountain Soap Company – Facebook & Twitter. This Canmore-based business does a stellar job with consistent, ongoing posting around interesting offers, events, promotions and inside information you don’t find anywhere else. Their brand is consistent across each social media channel and they do a fabulous job interacting with their followers and other like-minded social brands.
- Banff Squirrel – Twitter. The character behind this account, the Banff Squirrel, perfectly represents the fun brand behind the service company, Banff Lake Louise. Their voice is consistent across all messages as they share news, engage with other Bow Valley brands and encourage tourists to visit Banff National Park. This account, although coming from the voice of an animal, feels entirely alive and human.
- Marion Walsh – Facebook. Canmore singer-songwriter, Marion Walsh, strives to reach her target audience of folk and Americana enthusiasts in the Bow Valley and beyond. She maintains a great balance between community, personal and sales-driven posts. She posts just the right amount for her small but growing fan base and curates and shares relevant industry updates and news from a personal perspective.
- Woolrich Group – Instagram. Although quite new to the Instagram scene, Woolrich Group has started their Instagram posting strategy off on the right foot. With minimal yet consistent weekday posting, they are sustainably growing their presence on this visually-driven social channel with a strong keyword strategy and beautiful, branded photography.
Social media is a continuous job. As your business grows, so should your online presence. You will begin to discover new goals and new ways of using existing social media features to your advantage. The key is to pay attention to what works and what doesn’t.
If it starts to feel overwhelming, consider investing in a social media manager to help manage this key marketing initiative. We’re here to help – and it doesn’t cost a nickel for a social media marketing consultation. Feel free to connect with us anytime.