Building Connect in Initial Stages
Social Media Marketing Strategy Ideas: The guide for Small Businesses
Jack has just decided that he wants to sell stylish bags online. His sister is a designer and he himself has multiple contacts that help him get the raw material. The collection of bags, quite naturally is amazing. Now that Jack wants to start selling these, he needs to have his marketing plan ready. He is in a bit of trouble. He has very little money left and he and his sister are alone. He is thinking of starting a website, getting brochures and pamphlets printed, and is planning to put up a stall in his sister’s college fest. But is that going to be enough?
Limited funds, fewer people, a lot of competition, so little time and so much to do, lots to accomplish. These are the thoughts that run through every entrepreneur’s mind. This world is all about marketing and marketing is quite expensive. This is where Social Media comes to the rescue. An effective yet low-cost platform for marketing, a good social media marketing strategy can play a significant role in helping you emerge a winner. It’s an easy way to connect with your prospective customers. The only key here is to be smart on how you define and plan your activities on the social media.
Here is a step-by –step guide on how to draw your social media marketing strategy outline.
DETERMINE YOUR BUSINESS OBJECTIVES: BE SPECIFIC –
- To begin with, be very clear about what your objectives are. List them down. It could be anything: retaining existing customers, growing customer base, building a strong brand name or generating leads.
- Specify this in terms of the numbers and the time frame. An increase in sale by 25% within 6 months: Now this sounds like a precise objective. However, be very enterprising when deciding this. These are not just numbers, so be real and set achievable targets keeping in mind all aspects of the market as well as the overall vision of your business.
What Jack wants: Jack targets to sell at least 20 bags and get at least 200 people to know about his business in the first month
IDENTIFY YOUR TARGET MARKET AND CHOOSE THE RIGHT MEDIA –
- Who are your customers?
- Who are the people you want to reach out to?
- What age-group do they fall in? What income group do they belong to?
- Are they students or professionals?
- How much time do they generally spend on the social media?
- Which social media do they prefer?
Sit down and jot down the answers to all these questions. Build charts and graphs. Do some research. This is the basis on which you will decide which media to use. For instance, for professionals, LinkedIn will be a great choice. For students: Facebook will be more appropriate.
What is Jack’s target market: Young women. Facebook seems like the best medium to connect. He has joined various groups on Facebook where women discuss fashion and trends.
KNOW WHAT YOUR COMPETITORS ARE DOING-
- It is very important to adhere to the general industry standards. This doesn’t mean you have to restrict yourself in any way. Be as creative as you want to. However, knowing what’s happening in the industry is important.
- See the websites of your competitors! see what they are doing on social media and what results are being yielded. Try to figure what is working out for them and what is not. Also, notice how regular they are and notice the significance of the same. This will help you understand how you need to start. If at this point, you are already buzzing with ideas, competitor’s analysis will give you a reality check and you might want to start thinking on different lines.
What Jack observed: Jack faces intense competition. He noticed that most of his competitors were missing out on making sales because they were sticking to visually unappealing posts. They hardly used images or videos. This is where Jack knew he had to up the “glamour quotient” of his posts.
PLAN YOUR ACTIVITIES, MANAGE YOUR TIME WELL-
- Clearly define how much time you need to be spending on each social media platform. The frequency and the timing: both are important. Understand what time of the day do your customers use a specific media.
- Then, in your daily schedule, fix a time when you will post/tweet. Make a list of the activities you will do during the day on each social media. This is perhaps one of the most important social media marketing tactics.
What’s Jack’s idea: Jack has decided that every morning before 10 a.m and evening around 8 p.m, he will engage in some activity on social media.
ENGAGE WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS –
- Marketing is a lot about building relationships. Be sure to “Reply” to any queries or comments. Engage by “liking”, “commenting” and “following up”. In fact, have a certain time of the day dedicated to connecting with your customers. This can be a source of feedback – positive and negative. It can give you opportunities to improve your performance.
What Jack is doing: Every night, post 10 p.m, Jack goes through all his posts and sees how people are responding to his posts. If someone has “liked” his post, Jack reaches out to them through an e-mail or a Facebook message.
USE SOCIAL MEDIA ANALYTICS TO GET CLARITY –
- If you want to know what content and what time works well on social media, use analytics tools that can gauge your performance. These will help you keep abreast of the trends and keep a track of what people are saying about you.
- You will be able to see a snapshot of how your campaign is working and help you understand what is working for you and what is not.
What Jack is doing: He has subscribed to one such tool which generates performance reports every week.
- Facebook offers a wide variety of advertising options to help increase website traffic, build brand awareness and attract more customers. If you can set aside some funds for this, Go for it!
Jack’s take: He wants to wait a bit and see the initial turnaround. At the same time, he has started to research the various available advertising solutions and how these can fit into his business needs
Turns out that Jack is planning his social media marketing strategy well. So what if it is a small business, the right amount of time and effort is bound to show results in the long run.