Every local business knows they should be on social media. Too often, businesses worry that they are wasting time and money if they don’t have a fully-developed social media plan, which creates a mental barrier to entry. While a fully-developed social media strategy does seem like a task that would consume hours of your time, in reality, it takes about fifteen minutes.
You read that right – in fifteen minutes you can have a strategy that will last you an entire year with a social media template you can use time and time again! No false advertising or click-baiting, no over-complicated methods that don’t actually take five minutes to complete and no strategies that require a Master’s degree in marketing to understand and execute, simply follow the three steps outlined in this post and you will be on the road to social media success.
Three-Step Social Media Strategy Template
- Define your social media mission
- Set your social media goals
- Review social tactics and metrics
You don’t even need to currently have social media profiles for this tried-and-true method to work either; it can be applied to any local business and should make up the core of any sound social media strategy (because without a plan of action, well, where’s the action?).
STEP 1: Define Your Social Media Mission
When managing different projects, it has been my experience that having broad objectives that don’t break down into granular and actionable steps is a huge roadblock when it comes to metrics and measuring actual successes. However, when it comes to your social media strategy, your social mission is an area you can have an overarching, broad mission statement.
You’ll notice that I intentionally don’t use the term “goal” when defining the overall social mission; I do this because it will get confusing with our next step if we use that word.
Your social mission may or may not stay the same your business becomes more social-savvy and learns the preferences and expectations of your fans and followers – this is normal. Think of your business’s initial social mission as the dream job you wanted when you were a child. I wanted to be an Olympic swimmer when I was a kid and did many things to take me closer to that dream. However, as I grew older, I realized that I actually enjoyed writing and design more than swimming…and I could have a successful career as a writer and marketer (although I still enjoy swimming during my leisure time).
Your business’s social mission will develop the same way as your childhood dreams of being an astronaut. Don’t feel limited by your experience (or lack thereof); your social media plan is an area to grow and develop and it will naturally change over time as you do.
If you aren’t sure where to start, take a look the following social missions:
- Create a social presence for my local business
- Build my social networks to provide my customers a place where they can go for reliable information about my business
- Create a place to interact with current, prospective and future customers online
- Be a wealth of information that supports not only my business, but others throughout the community
- Find other like-minded people who understand the value in my product/service and promote my business to them
- Spread general awareness of my business
STEP 2: Transitioning From Social Media Missions to Goals
The next step in your social media strategy is to take the mission you just developed from step one and break it down into actionable chunks that we will define as goals.
To effectively accomplish your overall mission, break it down so that each goal aligns with a part of the original mission. Typically, you should have at least three goals per mission. An example of a good breakdown is below.
Mission: Create a social presence for your business
Goal #1: Create social profiles for your business on the networks that your customers use
- Facebook for local customers
- Twitter for a younger, faster-paced audience
- Google+ (now connected to Google My Business) will allow your posts to appear in searches
- Instagram and Pinterest for visual and creative customers
- LinkedIn for networking and partnership opportunities
Goal #2: Share content on your social pages to engage fans and followers
Goal #3: Start conversations with prospective and current customers who are engaging with your business
By breaking the mission into three goals, it becomes more manageable. Keep in mind that these goals don’t have solid, measurable factors because they are too broad to measure the effectiveness of your business’s overall social strategy. Measuring the success of your overall social strategy will be part of step three.
STEP 3: Moving From Goals to Social Media Tactics
In order to gauge the success of your social media strategy, you need to have a social mission statement, actionable goals that help you reach the mission and, lastly, measurable tactical pieces that help you achieve each goal. These tactics will help you measure your effectiveness and keep you on the path to reaching your long term mission.
Using your goals from step two, you will break each down into two or more tactics that allow you to measure the success of each. An example of how to break apart your goals is below.
Mission: Create a social presence for your business
Social Goal #1: Create social profiles for your business on the networks that my customers use
Social Tactic #1: Break down your customer base
Metric: Deciding the social networks that best fit for your business
Social Tactic #2: Create profiles on these networks
Metric: Having complete profiles on your chosen networks with appropriate images for your business
Social Media Goal #2: Share content on your social pages to engage fans and followers
Social Tactic #1: Learn best practices for how often to post on each network and aim to build up to those frequencies as your social media experience grows.
- Twitter: 3-10x per day
- Facebook: 3-10x per week
- Google+: 3-10x per week
- Instagram: 3-10x per week
- Pinterest: 3-10x per day
- LinkedIn: 2-5x per week
Social Tactic #2: Understand style best practices for posts on each network
Metric: Knowing which networks use hashtags, how to properly link (or not) in social posts, using correct image sizes in posts and researching the type of posts that are most successful for your competitors (tools such as Facebook Page Insights allows you to follow your competitors and see their top performing posts)
Metric: Once you are regularly posting, begin tracking the posts that are getting the most likes, favorites, hearts, shares, retweets and replies
Social Tactic #3: Use a social media management tool to assist with execution
Metric: Use a tool, such as Vivial, to schedule messages and manage your social media profiles from one platform
Social Media Goal #3: Start conversations with prospective and current customers
Social Tactic #1: Use a tool that enables you to track all communication with your fans and followers
Metric: Track location, time and the platform that fans or followers are using to contact or mention you on
Social Tactic #2: Get new followers and fans by reaching out to prospective customers on social media
Metric: Use geo-targeting tool to search for prospective customers on networks such as Twitter, Instagram or Facebook by using keywords or phrases
Metric: Measure the growth of fans or followers on each social network
With each goal broken down into actionable tactics you now have a clear direction of where to start with your social media strategy. Don’t start a new quarter without having a clear mission for your business’s social media strategy.