One of the best ways for small businesses to outgrow competition relies on leveraging technology to grow faster. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter help engage with customers, build relationships, and gather valuable feedback. Social media marketing has become increasingly cost-effective, making it a budget-friendly option for small businesses.
Recent statistics show that social media usage continues to grow rapidly. As of 2021, there are over 4.48 billion active social media users worldwide, presenting a significant opportunity for small businesses to reach their target audience and increase visibility.
A recent survey of small business owners found that social media is among the most successful digital marketing tools — 25%. Additionally, the survey found that. Also, 72% of expert marketers agree to social marketing as a way to increase their lead generation.
The power of social media planning
With social media planning, small businesses can leverage the power of various social media platforms to reach a wider audience, boost engagement, and gain insight into their customer. With a well-thought-out social media plan, small businesses can take advantage of social media opportunities to help them grow their businesses.
Modern problems demand solutions, which can also be the case for your social media campaigns. Small businesses often look for ways to create maximum impact with minimum effort. For instance, they often leverage software for product development, accounting, document management, and customer relationship management among others to improve various business processes. Similarly, they can use social media tools for executing a social media plan.
These social media tools can simplify reaching an audience, crafting the right message, and scheduling posts. Once you successfully plan social media activities for a small business, the execution can use top resources and technology.
Start with setting clear goals and strategies as it gets easier to effectively reach and engage with your target audience, which can drive sales and, vis-à-vis, business growth.
Let’s get started!
1. Set SMART goals
Set the base right for your small business social media strategy by keeping your goals SMART. SMART goal setting is a highly recommended strategy for small businesses to use in social media marketing. This framework is popular due to its ability to help businesses set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based goals.
Here’s how it works —
- Specific: Clearly-defined and simple goals that everyone in the team understands well.
- Measurable: Goals should be quantified, and this is where you’d leverage analytics. Choose a goal that represents one or more metrics.
- Achievable: Ensure that the goal is achievable, given the timeline and impact it can create.
- Realistic: The goals should be realistic, not vague, or go overboard with deliverables. Ensure you have enough time, budget, and resources to achieve set goals.
- Time-sensitive: Keep a time-specific goal, which can include several months or a year.
2. Understand your competitors better
Small businesses must consider creating social media strategies based on their competition. A closer look at what rivals do regarding their presence on popular platforms can give you insight into what works and doesn’t.
Analyzing the competition can help you to identify what strategies have worked for similar businesses and what strategies have yet to. Collect, organize, and analyze competitors’ social media data to gain insights.
Look at the number of followers, types of content shared, engagement levels, and any other metrics that may be useful in determining how competitors are performing on social media. This helps you make informed choices that put your business in a position to create a successful strategy, enabling you to edge out the competition.
3. Know your audience
Another key aspect to consider in your social media plan is your audience. Consider who your ideal customer is and what their interests and habits are. This can help determine which social media platforms you should use and the type of content that will resonate with them.
Leverage analytics tools such as Google Analytics and Facebook Meta Suite and conduct market research surveys with your existing customers. This helps gain better insights into their demographics and interests. Know the likes and dislikes of your target audience to tailor content more effectively and engage meaningfully with them to build lasting relationships on social media.
Three major ways to know your audience includes –
- Staying in tune with industry trends and monitoring relevant trends to understand your target audience better and develop a more accurate picture of their interests, behaviors, and preferences.
- Listening to the followers by checking in on comments, mentions, hashtags, and other platform conversations. This can provide invaluable insight into what kind of content resonates with people and what topics they would like to see more of in the future.
- Testing different types of content by experimenting and identifying the types that perform best with your audience. Certain topics or formats generate more engagement than others.
4. Choose the right platforms
With a plethora of social media platforms, knowing which ones are right for your business can take time. Consider where your audience is most active, platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter may be a good fit. If your goal is to drive website traffic and sales, platforms like Pinterest and LinkedIn may be appropriate.
An effective and versatile platform to communicate with customers and build a community. With features like groups, events, and ads, small businesses can post updates about their business and even target potential customers.
Pro tip: Use it to quickly build customer relationships by responding to comments and messages.
Instagram is a great choice for small businesses looking to reach younger audiences. With its focus on visuals, it’s a great platform for showcasing products in creative ways and connecting with customers through stories, videos, and captions.
Pro tip: Leverage the unique business opportunity of collaborating with influencers to boost their reach and influence.
Spread brand awareness by tweeting relevant content regularly. With its emphasis on brevity and engagement, it’s an effective way to engage customers in conversations around current events or industry trends.
Pro tip: Use it for customer service inquiries or promotions.
A go-to platform for small businesses looking to connect with other professionals or recruit new talent. With company profiles and job postings, small businesses can create a presence in the professional world and target potential employees with similar interests.
Pro tip: Leverage LinkedIn groups or sponsored content to advertise services or products to professionals in their field.
If you are into a product business catering to teenagers and Gen Z audiences, leverage Tik Tok to create and share short videos to increase brand visibility, build relationships with their target audience and advertise product abilities.
Pro tip: Show user-generated content, host giveaways, create educational content, and run influencer campaigns.
Pinterest is popular among creative professionals such as designers, photographers, and bloggers, who use it to showcase their work and find inspiration for new projects. Small businesses can use Pinterest to drive website traffic, advertise products or services, showcase user-generated content, create storyboards related to their brand or product, and increase brand visibility.
Pro tip: Create boards specific to your products or services and ensure they are organized and visually appealing.
Avoid overextending yourself by attempting to manage multiple platforms simultaneously. This can significantly drain resources and may ultimately prove fruitless in the long term. Select one or two platforms to ensure maximum success and commit your full attention and resources.
5. Create a content calendar and determine posting frequency
Creating a content calendar is a great way to stay organized when you have a dedicated team for posting on social media. The calendar can be a simple Excel spreadsheet (or Google Sheets) that helps plan out content and stick to the desired frequency.
A content calendar should include the social platform, date, post copy, link, and image/asset description. For starters, you can check out these templates.
Once you are done creating a content calendar, leverage some of the social media management tools to manage all social media in one place that simplify scheduling the content. The frequency of posts for each platform is different, but generally, it is good to post at least once a week. However, there are some tactics to consider when trying to decide how often to post.
For instance, businesses should consider the types of content they post and the goals they have set. When posting more frequently, ensure that you provide value to your followers with relevant and engaging content. Additionally, ensure that you are not overwhelming your followers by over-posting.
The Statista Research Department recently conducted a survey and found that experts recommend posting on social media at various frequencies depending on each platform —
- Instagram: Create and share stories every day that help boost connection with followers and drive meaningful engagement,
- Facebook: It is beneficial to publish at least once daily to get the most out of the platform.
- Twitter: Known for its fast-paced nature, plan a range of tweets daily if you have a substantial online presence.
- LinkedIn: A powerful tool for business networking that thrives on regular, meaningful content contributions every week to build solid business relationships.
Set a goal for how often you’ll post and track your progress. Frequently examine the response and involvement your posts generate from followers and adjust the content and posting frequency accordingly. Keep revising your plan as needed.
Small businesses can greatly benefit from having a strong presence on social media. Even if you are currently using it, this is the time to effectively plan for social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
For starters, you can check out this social media management guide for small businesses to explore a range of opportunities these platforms can offer.
However, small businesses need to have a clear plan before diving in. This should include setting goals, identifying target audiences, creating a content calendar, and regularly monitoring and analyzing social media activities.
Additionally, emphasize creating high-quality content that is engaging and relevant to their audiences. Take advantage of social media advertising options to increase your reach while regularly reviewing and adjusting these strategies.