by Evelyn Ho at International Institute of Digital Marketing ™
“If a company cannot be found in Google, it does not exist”, quoted from Jimmy Wales. An American internet entrepreneur. It seems to typify consumer behavior today. Consumers’ behavior does shape the way marketers tailor their strategies for the market’s needs. Therefore, a well-adopted digital marketing plan becomes essential.
Even though there are different approaches while conducting digital marketing strategies for small businesses, such as social media marketing, content marketing, website and email marketing, etc. This post will focus on social media marketing strategy. The objective of this blog is to provide six steps on crafting an effective social media marketing plan for small businesses. In support of pivoting towards the objectives the organization wants to achieve, communicating with target audiences on the most relevant social media platforms, and measuring the effectiveness of actions.
Social Media Market Plan for Small Business?
Why do small businesses need social media marketing strategy?
Small business administration (SBA) classifications are vary, including the number of employees, industry, and annual revenue. In this blog, small business is defined as having fewer than 50 employees.
Participating in marketing is expensive, but social media marketing is free and open. Small business typically have budget constrain in marketing. Because organizations must distribute their financial resources to maximize its profits.
Marketers quickly recognized the benefits of social networks, such as Facebook and Instagram for communications skyrocketing at 50.3% at Q4 2020 social media trends report, according to the latest quarterly report based on Socialbakers. The increase of concentration of advertisement in social media marketing is a compelling evidence of verifying the effectiveness of the tool to reach the target audience and achieve business objectives including brand awareness, customer engagement, lead generation and increased sales.
How to craft a social media marketing plan?
Engaging in social media marketing is viewed as a hurdle for small businesses. Consistency, responsibility, communication, and commitment are the crucial features of achieving social media marketing goals. To be more specific, I am going to break it down into six steps used while developing an effective social media marketing plan for small businesses.
Step 1: Create social media marketing objectives
Make sure the social media marketing objectives and goals are consistent with a corporation’s goal. Marketers may be familiar with the “SMART” approach. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
Still have no idea where to start? Being specific is the key. Taking a restaurant (company A) as an example, the business objective of company A is to provide customers authentic Chinese meals. In order to achieve the business objective, a social media marketing objective is to post a total of 15 photos for each week, and share these photos at social media sites. Their target is to have at least in total 100 likes and 25 comments each week. The more a social media marketing plan supports the overall business objective, the more likely to be executed and achieve the expected goal.
Step 2: Conduct a social media audit
What does it mean? It means who the audience is for each social media platforms and what they want. So organizations can plan when to post, and analyze the feedback from audiences (i.e. comments). Finally, organizations make assess accordingly to timely improve and refine the marketing strategy. In order to have a clear and comprehensive picture of conducting an audit, the following social media audit template can be used. It is important to note that an effective audit is supposed to be adjusted regularly, especially when a company is about to scale up their business.
However, by simply following a social media audit template above may not be enough. It is suggested to create a sub-mission statement for each social media platform, apart from the organization’s mission statement. Taking skincare product as an example, if a company’s mission (X) is to commit providing organic ingredients to make skincare products accessible to customers who value sustainability. A sub-mission (X1) for Instagram could be sharing stories with target audiences (i.e. female aged 18-34) to be a proud member by opting for this product to contribute to sustainability. By contrast, a sub-mission statement (X2) for Twitter could be a little bit different from Instagram. For example, to create a community to have prompt conversations with audiences about the product and sustainability-related topics. The key part for these missions is to keep X1 and X2 supporting the main mission X from the organization as a whole.
Step 3: Choose the most relevant social media platforms
As explained above, every sub-mission has a purpose to attract a specific purpose of audiences. Because each social network have unique audiences. They could share common features, such as age, gender, and lifestyle. Therefore, these audiences should be treated differently to maximize the outcome of social media marketing.
Once the social platform is chosen, it is imperative to focus on getting better performance. Achieving higher performance means higher web traffic and in turn a higher conversion. At the initial stage, it is important to build online presence. An effective approach could be search engine optimization (SEO). So latent customers have access to the cross-promoting social platforms to follow wherever their interests take them. This increases customer engagement (i.e. comments, reviews), awareness (clicks, views, likes, and shares), and increasing sales, adding value, loyalty and providing opportunities for customer co-creation (i.e. new product development).
Step 4: Get social media inspiration
When talking about getting higher engagement in customers. A must-to-have strategy is to create efficient content. Content creation is sometimes very challenging in support of generating valuable information to be delivered. Make sure to keep your team at current on inspirational insights from competitors, key opinion leaders (KOLs), and industry leaders. For example, learning from competitors about the way of content crafting, the way of deliver brand message. In which way customers incline to engage more. Meanwhile, analyzing the threats competitors are facing to gain the second-mover advantage with continued refine on products or services to get the best possible result.
Step 5: Create a content and time plan
The more inspirational insights that are collected, the higher quality and more efficient content is created. It is necessary to set priority and responsibility. For example, writing and posting content (blogs, photos, and videos), what social marketing objective and what the organization intends to achieve on which social platform. The content should be closely aligned to the sub-mission statement under that particular channel while targeting the particular purpose of audience.
Moreover, who is responsible for creating the content, and how often will an organization post content. Notably, an efficient piece of content would not stand alone without the right timing to get the message delivered out in a consistent way. A systematic posting platforms, such as Hootsuite, is a social media management platform. It supports social network integrations for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. The convenience and flexibility allows an organization to daft a post and schedule it in advance. In the following is an example to show how different a time required for different platforms.
Step 6: Test, evaluate and adjust marketing plan
Continued testing and evaluation secure the effectiveness of a social media marketing plan, as well as the necessity of adjusting a plan for marketplace circumstances. During a test, a metric is essential to track whether an objective is achieved or not. Measuring key performance indicators on social media is the process of have two way communication through feedback between customers and organizations. Feedback includes positive and negative comments, recommendations and reviews. Such feedback could be leveraged to improve products features, to enhance services to gain competitive advantages. It could also improve customer satisfaction, loyalty, and co-creation (i.e. new product development).
I hope you have a bigger picture of the social media marketing strategy after walking through the six steps above, as well as built awareness of the importance of having a social media marketing strategy for small businesses. Social media marketing strategy is a two-way communication between customer and corporation at a comparably lower cost. It is considered to be a golden opportunity for a company to open its door for customers to get to know its business better. Moreover, it is easy to start with by leveraging these free and public social media platforms. One final message is to take the “learning it from doing it” method and it will turn out just fine.
For more details and blogs, visit: https://thedigitalmarketinginstitute.org/
International Institute of Digital Marketing ™ is a certifying body founded in the USA by several long-standing marketers. We have years of experience in business, marketing, and more, and have put forth our combined experience to develop DMI. Digital Marketing is something that’s all around us, yet there has been no solid foundation for marketing in many, many years. In the news, there are blunders again and again by companies, failing some of the core aspects of modern marketing. Because of this, the need for a solid, stable foundation for marketing in the modern world is needed– a foundation with the ability to be built upon and developed with time.
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